Tuesday, December 31, 2013

God, in 2014

"God the Father is my Father; I am in union with the Son; and
I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
This is not just meant to be doctrine; it is what I have now."
Francis Schaeffer, from his book "True Spirituality", pages 270-271

Christian salvation means we get God; but we don't get God in general; we get the Trinitarian God of the Bible - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He becomes more real to us than anything else there is.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christians Should Kill Santa

The Bible tells us to train up our children in the way they should go, and to instruct them, and to tell them what to believe and what not to believe. We see this in a text like Dt 6-7 which shows us that biblical parenting means having lots of conversations about God with our children. In these conversations we rehearse His character, His ways, His acts and His commands. We also show the connections between Him and all of life. Or consider the Proverbs, which are largely one-sided instructional talks between parents and children. And of course there is Ep 6 which commands us to raise our children in a particular way under particular recognized realities. One thing central to each of these texts is Truth. We can't parent well and therefore do our children good apart from our own understanding of what is, and is not, true. So we should kill Santa, because any other act falls short of the Truth.

Not only do countless Christian parents continue to lie to their children about the source of Christmas gifts, they do it by ascribing God-like powers to an effeminate fat man with an affinity for reindeer. They tell their precious and gullible little ones, who should be receiving sound instruction, that there is an eternal man who "sees them when they're sleeping and knows when they're awake; who knows if they've been bad or good," etc. Really? Is this a notion that honors God as the giver of all good things, and His Son on the day we celebrate His birth, and the Holy Spirit as the One at work in that divine conception? Of course not. Instead, it honors the devil, whom Jesus calls "the father of lies". And it helps the devil; for certainly he delights to distract the youngest souls from Immanuel via false meanings ascribed to the Christmas holiday (holy day) set aside in honor of the Son.

Many parents say they can do both, teach Christ and have fun with Santa. All the while the Bible is asking, "What harmony has Christ with Belial?" (2 Co 6:15) And I am asking why those who do hold out this idol to their children believe themselves obligated to do so. Why is Santa so treasured and his lack of existence so guarded? Why are the parents disappointed when their little ones finally become unbelievers in regard to this fantasy? This is truly upside down. Satan must be so pleased.

As bad, and as wrong, and as damaging, is the teaching that this eternal gift giver does us good by rewarding us strictly according to our works. The Santa of Christmas is a Pharisee, while the Christ of Christmas is a Savior who gives according to grace, meaning without regard to our works. Now, God will one day reward us according to our works. But that reward will be permeated with grace. For if He were to give strictly according to our deeds, attitudes, intentions, and motives, then we would all be without reward. For there is no purely good work except His own work.

A week before Christmas we had guests in our home. One of them, assuming we preach Santa, asked my five year old who was coming to visit her the following week (meaning Mr Kringle). Her answer was, "Grandpa and Grandma". Oh how I loved that moment, when I heard truth reign in my daughter. May it reign in all of us, and in our children.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Chistmas Is About Curse

"He comes to make His blessings flow 
far as the curse is found."  
From the hymn "Joy to the World" by Isaac Watts

On this Christmas morning 2013, more than ever I want to understand, and have my family understand, all that the Father was doing when He sent the Son by the Holy Spirit. (Redemption is a Trinitarian enterprise). And one of those things was reversing His curse ("Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us -- for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree'" - Ga 3:13). One day He will finish what He has begun ("Then He showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God, and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads" - Re 22:1-4).