To “pine” means to long for something. The old song says, “long lay the world in sin and error pining. Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.” The great doctrine of the Messiah had given hope to multitudes and was the unknown hope of many more. Since Jesus came into the world, we have hope. That hope is based upon who Jesus is and what Jesus has done and what Jesus is doing and what Jesus will do. These are vital doctrines of the faith delivered to us from God for our hope.
This Christian hope was rightly described as a release from both sin and error. Sin came into the world through doctrinal error. “Has God really said” is the doctrinal question and “no you will not die” is the doctrinal affirmation which Satan made to Eve in the Garden. It is also the same affirmation which the Devil himself makes to us today. His great affirmation continues to be that what one thinks and the subsequent actions are insignificant before God. Humanities experience in the Garden is proof that doctrinal error leads to doctrinal practice and death.
There was no requirement for hope to be put forth, but God graciously promised Christ to humanity who deserved immediate execution. Christ was the answer to mankind’s sin problem. From Genesis 3:15 until the close of the Old Testament, God taught the majesty of Christ’s person and the glory of his work. From Matthew to John, God displayed his own nature and what humanity should be in the life of Christ. On the cross, Jesus suffered the wrath of God and died so that his people would be spared the wrath of God and live.
Finally, the soul felt its worth. Though sin (falling short of God’s nature by failing to keep God’s decree) had condemned the world, God has saved his people from sin through the long awaited Messiah. No longer must the world pine in sin and error. Grace and Truth has come in Christ.
“O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer/ Our spirits by Thine advent here/ Disperse the gloomy clouds of night/ and death dark shadows put to flight” (“O Come Emmanuel”).