By Paul Bawden
These words from the song, “Deck The Halls,” remind us that the Christmas season is upon us. Already shoppers have taken advantage of Black Friday, the Christmas lights are being put up on the outside of houses in our neighborhood, and the Salvation Army Bell Ringers are reminding us that the less fortunate need our help. The spirit of Christmas appears alive and well.
At the same time, there have been atrocious killings in different parts of the world, Christians are persecuted and killed, while some are in prison in different countries. In addition, North Korea continues to be a threat to the world. In the United States, there have been various barbaric killings, the rise in the display of sexual immorality as some use their power to take advantage of women, along with the break down of marriage and the family.
To sing, “Tis the season to be jolly,” seems out of place as we consider the negative, yes, evil happenings in the world and the United States. Then to say that the Savior has been born who brings peace on earth, are in the words of Macbeth, “like a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”
But who is responsible for the mess in the world? It’s easy to blame God. After all, if He is all-powerful, He should step in and put down the evil and wickedness in the world.
The Bible, however, reminds us that God tempts no one, and He can’t be tempted by evil, meaning that God is transcendent moral purity, completely holy without any sin. But the Bible goes on to say that each person is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death (cf. James 1:13-14).
Those words are very revealing. God is not responsible for the mess in the world, rather, man is responsible for the mess in the world. Of course, such is not accepted in the public arena today. The popular idea is that man is a product of his environment or a victim of his circumstances.
But the Bible speaks again. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Such is also denied in the public arena. Regardless, the denial of such words, doesn’t do away with the reality of them.
In fact, if Romans 3:23 is not true, words like these, “You shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21), are false as well.
No sin, then, no need for the Savior. The reality is that all of us are sinners, and we desperately need the Savior who can provide us His forgiveness and eternal life through His death, burial, and bodily resurrection. Indeed, unless the heart of man is changed, the mess in the world will continue. Instead of blaming God for the mess in the world, we need to accept Jesus as our Savior, receive His forgiveness and eternal life, and let Him change us, relying on His indwelling power, so He can change our world through us.
For Christ’s life in the believer is not selfish, but selfless; doesn’t lust, but loves unconditionally, with purity, forgiveness and sacrifice; doesn’t hate, but accepts each person as he or she is; doesn’t covet, but experiences it’s more blessed to give than to receive; not filled with hopelessness, but is filled with eternal meaning here with a promised hope beyond the grave.
Is this the kind of life you possess? It can be yours through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9-13). If Christ is your personal Savior, “Tis the season to be jolly.” Celebrate Christmas with joy (Luke 2:10-11). The Savior has come!!!
Paul Bawden is married and served in the pastoral ministry for 45 years, retiring in 2011. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Speech and attended Dallas Theological Seminary, receiving a Master of Theology. He has taken counseling courses at Trinity Evangelical Seminary in Deerfield, Illinois. Paul is a lifetime member of the Evangelical Free Church of America, as well as being a member of Interim Pastor Ministries (IPM), which serves churches during their time of transition in searching for a new pastor. He writes for Union Gospel Press, as well as being a volunteer writer for GotQuestions.org. Paul likes to write, read, bike, and work in the yard. The Bawdens have had the privilege to travel to Mexico and Romania on mission trips and visited various countries in Europe.
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