Let this not be a Christmas full of goodies (pathetic) but a Christmas of deliverance!
Be not confused by cultural discernment over spiritual truth!
Being part Jewish doesn’t make me any better than you but scripture tells me it doesn’t make me any less than you either. If we are one in Christ, what are we without Him?
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
[Below is an abstract from here, one that gives as good a definition on grace as you’ll ever find.]
No wonder Christians are confused. Christian churches mirror the world; Christian leaders follow the culture; and Christian theologians provide their stamp of approval. The situation is nothing short of deplorable.
Grace is not merely unmerited favor; it is favor bestowed on sinners who deserve wrath. Showing kindness to a stranger is “unmerited favor”; doing good to one’s enemies is more the spirit of grace (Luke 6:27-36).
As to Jerusalem itself… the City that held the Temple of God (in the land God gave to the Jews/Hebrews/Israelites), and this is where the law was taught without understanding the love behind it or the goal love would meet once we were instructed.
[Below is found in abstraction from here, lawful and unlawful uses of the law.]
These “law-teachers” do not understand that the goal of the law, which is love, is pursued not by “works of law” but by inner spiritual transformation which the law itself cannot bring about. They don’t get it.
1 Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
If arrogance and ignorance are two sides to a coin called pride, then to miss the mark of the teaching above would be plausible… when thinking one is better than the rest. Vanity has a differing opinion of itself, a certain degree of presumptuousness, when there might not be any room left at the Inn but love comes to us if we see it in the manger of Salvation– a place where humility of spirit can save us to be an example fit for others or to save us (even) from ourselves.
If it was not God’s doing, by divine providence, nothing would get done, not even true atonement for the lives He might save.
[Below, in abstracts, comes from Matthew Henry’s Commentary for Exodus 13]
In remembrance of the destruction of the first-born of Egypt, both of man and of beast, and the deliverance of the Israelites out of bondage, the first-born males of the Israelites were set apart to the Lord. By this was set before them, that their lives were preserved through the ransom of the atonement, which in due time was to be made for sin. That which is, by special mercy, spared to us, should be applied to God’s honour; at least, some grateful acknowledgment, in works of piety and charity, should be made. The day of Christ’s resurrection is to be remembered, for in it we were raised up with Christ out of death’s house of bondage. And those who have God’s law in their heart should have it in their mouth, and often speak of it, to affect themselves, and to teach others.
Our souls are forfeited to God’s justice, and unless ransomed by the sacrifice of Christ, will certainly perish. These institutions would continually remind them of their duty, to love and serve the Lord. Those who make the glory of God their end, and the word of God their rule, the Spirit of God the guide of their affections, and the providence of God the guide of their affairs, may be sure that the Lord goes before them, though they cannot see it with their eyes: we must now live by faith.
The Bible is a light to our feet, a lantern to our paths, with which the Saviour’s love has provided us. It testifies of Christ. It is to us like the pillar to the Israelites. Listen to that voice which cries, I am the Light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of life, ( John 8:12 ). Jesus Christ alone, as shown in the Bible, and as the Holy Spirit, in answer to prayer, recommends him to the soul, is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, ( John 14:6 ).
If we are to know love then we should show love or it shows love was never known at all. Is it not true we should be humble in spirit but bold to speak of the love God has personally allowed us to know?
God’s primary nature is to love as shown by His rescue plan for us through His Son Jesus Christ. The cross of Jesus is the greatest demonstration of God’s love for us.
This is love, to know He did this for YOU and I both.
Romans 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
[Below is in abstract, from here, and speaks of lovingkindness]
Being such an essential and distinctive quality of God, the prophets taught that it should also characterize His people. It is part of the Divine requirement in Micah 6:8, “to love kindness” (compare Zechariah 7:9, “Show kindness and compassion every man to his brother”). The want of it in the nation was a cause of Yahweh’s controversy with them, e.g. Hosea 4:1, “There is no truth, nor goodness (checedh) (the King James Version and the English Revised Version “mercy”), nor knowledge of God in the land”; Hosea 12:6, “Therefore turn thou to thy God:
The word “lovingkindness” does not occur in the New Testament, but as its equivalents we have such terms as “mercy” “goodness,” “kindness,” “brotherly love”.
The bondage of the law is broken by the blood of the Lamb of God.
Can we tell the greatest gift when we see it… this is love itself. Emmanuel! Tell us what becomes of the faithful… and what is in store. The deepest measure for what Christmas is all about, God’s love for those that accept Jesus as the Messiah, the Savior of all mankind, and will repent of their ways!
1 Corinthians 8:3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him.
1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
A very Merry Christmas to all of you and your families as well, 2017!
Pray for our country, Israel and God’s mercy and grace this Christmas, won’t you?