Many people are often surprised to hear that some Christians do not celebrate Christmas. Being one who formerly celebrated Christmas (for the first 22 years of my life), I will presently set forth the reasons that I have renounced Christmas for the sake of anyone who cares to know.

I build my case upon the word of God as recorded in the King James Bible which is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16). Therefore I esteem all [God's] precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way. (Psa. 119:128) I didn’t know much about the Bible when I was growing up, except that it was hard to read, I didn’t understand much of it and most of it seemed like fairy tales. Years later I began to earnestly study it after being convinced by some friends that God’s word is truth and that we can know and understand it. If I liked my life before that point, I should have shut my ears and run away from those people, for as I discovered, God’s word would sit in judgment upon me: teaching me doctrine, reproving me, correcting me and instructing me in righteousness. By the grace of God, as I approached the study of the Bible with the attitude that it is truth and that it can be known, I began to learn and understand many things. As Solomon put it, “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” (Pro. 2:1-5) It takes diligent work, but it can be done.

One of the many things that I learned is that when it comes to worshipping God, “they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (Joh. 4:24). Since his word is truth, if I am not worshipping him in accord with his word, I am not worshipping him at all (1 Sam. 15:22-23, 1 Cor. 10:20). But what does all this have to do with celebrating Christmas?

When looking to the word of God, something is conspicuously missing concerning Christmas: it is not mentioned even once. The word “Christmas” does not appear in the Bible anywhere. From this we can deduce that God never commanded any of his people to celebrate Christmas, at least not by name. In fact, nowhere in scripture is there any record of any Christians commemorating the birthday of Jesus Christ with any kind of celebration whatsoever. It is certainly true that when Jesus was born there was great joy and glorying in God, for a multitude of the heavenly host appeared to the shepherds who were keeping watch over their flock by night saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luk. 2:8-14) And after the shepherds saw the Lord they returned to the fields glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (Luk. 2:20) But this was the day of his birth (Luk. 2:11), and not one of the customs that attend Christmas is mentioned; neither Jesus nor any apostle ever gave the saints direction to commemorate Christ’s birthday with gift-giving, decorated green trees, holly, mistletoe, yule logs, etc.: each of these things predate the birth of Christ (any number of historical sources prove this). Clearly then – no mention being made in the scriptures either implicitly or explicitly that Christians should commemorate the birthday of Jesus Christ in a winter celebration – such a practice is the tradition of men.

Turning to history then, let’s examine the origins of this tradition of men. Concerning the date of December 25, Encyclopedia Britannica says, “This was the date of a pagan festival in Rome, chosen in A.D. 274 by the emperor Aurelian as the birthday of the unconquered sun (natalis solis invicti), which at the winter solstice begins again to show an increase of light. At some point before A.D. 336 the church at Rome established the commemoration of the birthday of Christ, the sun of righteousness, on this same date.” The same article says, “Christmas on Dec. 25 is first known to have been celebrated in Rome in the second quarter of the 4th century, when it commemorated the birth of Christ.” So the first known celebration of Christmas was not until the fourth century and its date is connected with that of the pagan festival of the birthday of the unconquered sun. Is this connection merely a coincidence? The article continues, “Its observance as the birthday of the Saviour is attended with secular customs often drawn from pagan sources; indeed, both Christmas and Epiphany, which falls 12 days later on Jan. 6, are transformed pagan celebrations of the winter solstice, and so closely linked that their origins cannot be discussed separately.” Apparently the dates for Christmas and the pagan festival of the birthday of the unconquered sun are not coincidental. History shows that Christmas is a transformed pagan celebration of the winter solstice.

Now we can turn again to God’s word to examine what he has to say about mixing pagan practices into his worship. Deut 12:29-32 says (emphasis mine):

    29 When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; 30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 31 Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. 32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

God strictly forbids worshipping him as the heathen worshipped their gods. He says it is abomination and he hates it! Also notice a very important command in verse 32, “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” We’ve already noted that there is no command in scripture for Christians to commemorate the birthday of Jesus Christ in any way whatsoever. Therefore celebrating Christmas is adding to God’s commands. Not only that, it is also expressly disobeying God’s command to abstain from worshipping him as the heathen do, for it is a transformed pagan celebration of the winter solstice. Lest you should think this was only an Old Testament commandment, please read 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1. The temple of God has no agreement with idols. Christians today are no more permitted to mix pagan practices with the worship of God than Israel was under the old covenant.

At this point we can see that, because Christmas is a transformed pagan celebration, it is strictly forbidden for Christians. “But why?” you may ask. “It’s such a joyful time of the year. Besides, it’s not a pagan holiday anymore – we celebrate it now to worship God.” That is just it! God said DON’T DO THAT! He hates to be worshipped as the heathen worshipped their gods, and that is exactly what people do when they try to worship God by celebrating Christmas. It makes no difference if you mean well in your heart – it is abomination to God and he hates it. Just because we think something is okay does not mean God does. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isa. 55:9) And when he pointedly tells us not to worship him as the heathen worshipped their gods because such worship is abomination to him, we cannot please him by so doing, for “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6) and “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17) and “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom 14:23). Celebrating Christmas is a transgression of God’s law which is sin, “for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 Joh. 3:4)

What joy is there in adopting the practices of heathen who burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods? Remember, Christmas didn’t come from the Bible: it came from the same religions that practice child sacrifice and other horrors (Deu 12:30).

Consider the Christmas practice of cutting down green trees and decorating them with silver and gold and other ornaments. What does God have to say about this kind of practice? Surprisingly enough, it is mentioned in the Bible in the first four verses of Jeremiah chapter ten (emphasis mine)

    1Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: 2Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. 3For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. 4They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

Immediately after stating that the customs of the people are vain, notice the one custom he identifies as an example – cutting down a tree out of the forest and decking it with silver and gold and fastening it in place. This practice is identified by God himself as a custom of the people (i.e. the heathen, v. 2). As we’ve already seen, worshipping God as the heathen do is abomination unto God and we are not to do it. He says, “Learn not the way of the heathen.” I ask you, can you honestly say in good conscience that you have kept this commandment of God if you have a decorated tree standing in your house and God himself says it originated from the heathen?

What about Santa Claus? Obviously Santa Claus is not in the Bible, yet who doesn’t know about Santa Claus? This is another tradition of men. Is it harmless? Consider these things about this fictitious character: 1) he knows everything 2) he can be in many places at once 3) he has white hair (Dan. 7:9) 4) he is a judge of works 5) his throne is in the north (Ps. 48:1-2). These are all characteristics of God and at least the first two cannot rightfully be said about any man. Do you think God appreciates people lying to little children, telling them about a fictitious mockery of God named Santa Claus? Certainly not. Lying is of the devil (John 8:44) and we are only aiding his cause when we tell our children about the traditional Santa Claus. I recently heard of an eight year old who found out that Santa Claus is not real and he said in effect to his parents, “How can I believe anything else you tell me?” That boy seems to have more wisdom than most parents today. If you lie to your children about Santa Claus, why should they believe you when you tell them about God? Why would they believe the record of God’s word concerning a global flood in the days of Noah, or of God’s deliverance of faithful Daniel from the den of lions, or of Moses and the Israelites from the Egyptians through the midst of the sea on dry land? It is you that lie to your children, not God. You cause them to stumble, you cause them to doubt God because when you should be an example of truthfulness, you lie. Why would you do such a thing? Can you just not bear the thought of taking Christmas away from your children? Who would want to take from children a custom that teaches them things like lying is ok, greed is good, gain is godliness, and we don’t need to worry too much about what God says, after all his word cannot be trusted? I speak foolishly, and you do foolishly if you lead your children to believe in Santa Claus.

Note the words of the Lord Jesus Christ concerning the traditions of men (emphasis mine): “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition…Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” (Mark 7:7-9,13) The record is clear on this point: when we celebrate Christmas we are rejecting the commandment of God in favor of our own tradition, making the word of God void and our worship is vain.

I don’t know about you, but when I learned these things about Christmas, I could no longer in good conscience have any part of it. The lack of any evidence in Scripture that it is ordained or even approved of God and the overwhelming evidence that it is on the contrary abhorred by him moved me to renounce it with all haste. I’ve learned since then that you don’t make too many people happy by abandoning such a long-standing and ubiquitous tradition of men. People prefer to ignore what God thinks of it for the sake of keeping the peace with family, friends and brethren. If you find yourself in this position, please ask yourself who you are seeking to please, God or man? If you prefer to please men more than God, then continue in the celebration of Christmas. If instead you seek to please God rather than men, forsake Christmas. Consider Paul’s words, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” (Gal. 1:10) Consider the word of Peter and the other apostles, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) Even if you have lived many years and celebrated it every one of them, it is not too late to do what you know is right. Saul of Tarsus lived many years doing many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth, even shutting up in prison many saints and calling for their death (Acts 26:9-11) until God spoke to him and called him to be a minister of the very faith he spent his life so vigorously despising (Acts 26:12-18) and went on to be among the very chiefest apostles (2 Cor. 11:5,2 Cor. 12:11), even Paul the apostle. It’s never too late to repent and obey God.

In summary, we have seen that Christmas is a transformed pagan celebration of worshipping false gods that is nowhere commanded in the Bible for Christians to observe. On the contrary, worshipping God as the heathen do is strictly forbidden. The tradition of decking trees with silver and gold and other array is also identified as a heathen practice and is therefore forbidden. Santa Claus is a mockery of God and a lie. So both God’s word and secular history confirm that Christmas and it’s associated customs are abominable in the sight of God and certainly not Christian. It is for these simple reasons that above ten years ago I renounced Christmas and have never looked back. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecc. 12:13) Do you fear God? Do you keep his commandments?

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God” (Rev 3:14)

This phrase, “the beginning of the creation of God,” we are told by Jehovah’s Witnesses, says that Jesus Christ is the first creature, the first of God’s creation, and they assert it emphatically, so much so that they have blinded themselves to the fact that this phrase says no such thing. What it says is “the beginning of the creation of God.”

If you argue with them, they compare it with Col 1:15 and re-assert emphatically that both verses say Jesus Christ is the first of God’s creation, the first created being. Neither verse says any such thing.

Consider Col 1:16-17 which verses, please note, follow on the heels of v. 15, and state clearly that all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth were created by Jesus Christ and that he is before all things and by him all things consist (1. intr. To have a settled existence, subsist, hold together, exist, be.). So we have here that Jesus Christ is the creator of all things, for so it plainly says. This being the case, let us now reconsider the phrase “the beginning of the creation of God.” I submit that Jesus Christ is the beginning of the creation of God, for he is the one who began it, the creator, as we have seen from Col 1:16 (and many more texts could be cited besides).

Now consider Isa 44:24 and ponder: how can it be that Jehovah claims to have created all things by himself, yet Scripture declares, as we have seen, that Jesus Christ is the creator of all things? Are there two creators of all things? Two supreme beings, both who created the heavens and the earth alone? I trow not. The only plausible conclusion that stands the test of Scripture is that Jesus Christ is the LORD (Jehovah) manifest in the flesh, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Mic 5:2), who was in the beginning with God and who was God who created all things. Thus it was said of the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost that “these three are one.” (1Jn 5:7)

Thus, we see that Jesus Christ is the beginning of the creation of God, for he began it.

The Bible is an incredible book. No other book is like it, period. It stands to reason that no other book would or even could be like it, since it has a very unique characteristic, one that no other book has: it is written by God who created the heavens, the earth and the sea and all things that are therein (Neh.9:6 et al).

The Bible treats of nearly every topic known to man, and I never cease to be amazed at just how much it really does teach us on so many topics, even things most people would never imagine it would. Of course for thousands of years people have disagreed about what the scriptures teach. When Jesus was preaching, he often caused divisions among the people.

One such case is recorded in John 7:40-43.

40 Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.

41 Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?

42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?

43 So there was a division among the people because of him.

Jesus’ teaching had caused some to say that he is the Christ, while others knew that he came out of Galilee and the scripture taught that the Christ would come out of Bethlehem, the city of David. Clearly he could not have come out of Galilee and out of Bethlehem, right? Wrong. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, his parents having gone there to be taxed (Lk.2:4,11), but they were from Nazareth, a city of Galilee, and returned there with him after he was born.

Why did God have it that Jesus would come both out of Bethlehem and Galilee?  Did he do it to confuse people?  Does it surprise you that Jesus would cause this kind of division?  It shouldn’t.  Listen to the words of Jesus himself (Lk.12:51-53).

51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

If you don’t like that, keep in mind that it’s Jesus with whom you have a problem, not me.  God puts things in his word, like the fact that Jesus both came out of Galilee and out of Bethlehem specifically for the purpose of causing division, of dividing sheep from the goats (see Isa.28:9-13)  How then are we to understand the scriptures with these kinds of snares in them? We must rightly divide the word of truth (2Ti.2:15, Isa.28:9-13), something that requires much diligent study.  If we want to know the truth, we must study the word of God in the way that he teaches us to do (see Jn.7:17) and we must search it out as one searches for gold or silver or rubies or anything else of value (Pro.2:1-5).

Searching for gold is not an easy task (especially in our day).   It requires hard work, sweat and tears, joy and pain.  Gold, silver, rubies and any other worldly treasure are of little worth compared to the true riches which are in Christ (Job 28:8; Pr.3:15,8:11,20:15, Eph.3:8, Php.4:19).

2 Chronicles 32

1After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself.

2And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem,

3He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him.

4So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?

5Also he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance.

6And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying,

7Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him:

8With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

9After this did Sennacherib king of Assyria send his servants to Jerusalem, (but he himself laid siege against Lachish, and all his power with him,) unto Hezekiah king of Judah, and unto all Judah that were at Jerusalem, saying,

10Thus saith Sennacherib king of Assyria, Whereon do ye trust, that ye abide in the siege in Jerusalem?

11Doth not Hezekiah persuade you to give over yourselves to die by famine and by thirst, saying, The LORD our God shall deliver us out of the hand of the king of Assyria?

12Hath not the same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall worship before one altar, and burn incense upon it?

13Know ye not what I and my fathers have done unto all the people of other lands? were the gods of the nations of those lands any ways able to deliver their lands out of mine hand?

14Who was there among all the gods of those nations that my fathers utterly destroyed, that could deliver his people out of mine hand, that your God should be able to deliver you out of mine hand?

15Now therefore let not Hezekiah deceive you, nor persuade you on this manner, neither yet believe him: for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of mine hand, and out of the hand of my fathers: how much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand?

16And his servants spake yet more against the LORD God, and against his servant Hezekiah.

17He wrote also letters to rail on the LORD God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people out of mine hand, so shall not the God of Hezekiah deliver his people out of mine hand.

18Then they cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ speech unto the people of Jerusalem that were on the wall, to affright them, and to trouble them; that they might take the city.

19And they spake against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth, which were the work of the hands of man.

20And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven.

21And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword.

22Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side.

23And many brought gifts unto the LORD to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah: so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from thenceforth.

24In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign.

25But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.

26Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

27And Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honour: and he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of pleasant jewels;

28Storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine, and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks.

29Moreover he provided him cities, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance: for God had given him substance very much.

30This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works.

31Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.

32Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his goodness, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.

33And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death. And Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.

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The first thing Hezekiah did when he learned of the pending attack from the king of Assyria was he took counsel with his princes and mighty men. Hezekiah knew “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Pr.11:14) and that “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.” (Pr.15:22) The next thing Hezekiah did was strengthen himself and built up the wall of the city and made arms for his people. “A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” (Pr.24:5-6)

After setting captains of war over the people and gathering them together, he encouraged them to “Be strong and courageous, be not dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.” Hezekiah knew what the LORD had said to Jeremiah, “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” (Jer.15:5-7)

We, in our flesh, oftentimes forget that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph.6:12) We forget that just because we cannot see the heavenly host round about us doesn’t mean it’s not there (see 2Ki.6:14-17). We have a tendency to look at the odds without taking into consideration that one man with God is more than multitudes of men without God. We need to remember, as Hezekiah, that “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Pr.16:7)

After this the king of Assyria sent his servants to Jerusalem to gainsay the encouraging words of Hezekiah. Verses 10-19 record their words and tactics to weaken the people whom Hezekiah had strengthened. They spoke against God, making him to be no greater than the gods of any of the other nations that the king of Assyria had destroyed. They painted Hezekiah as a foolish leader who vainly trusted in God to deliver them. “Doth not Hezekiah persuade you to give over yourselves to die by famine and by thirst, saying, The LORD our God shall deliver us out of the hand of the king of Assyria?” (2Ch.32:11) This is a classic, if not the classic, device of the devil — casting doubt upon the word of God. Remember how the devil tricked Eve into partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: “Yea, hath God said…?” Asking questions that cast doubt upon the word of God is easy to do and it’s a powerful device of the devil because it caters to the natural tendency of man to reject the things of the Spirit of God as so much foolishness. (1Co.2:14)

The Assyrian king’s servants also asserted that Hezekiah had removed the high places of God, when it was the high places of idolatry that Hezekiah had removed. (2Ch.32:12 c/w 2Ch.31:1) This is another common device of the devil — to persuade men that all religion is equally valid, that mixing the worship of idols with the worship of God is a good thing, that it is better that worshipping God should be easy rather than hard, etc. Hezekiah had restored the due order of worship and sacrifice to God (which things go hand in hand) which meant that the people must worship before the altar in Jerusalem rather than in all the groves and high places scattered throughout the land (that Hezekiah had destroyed). The point is that while Hezekiah had done well in destroying the high places of idolatry, the servants of the king of Assyria painted a different picture, one in which Hezekiah looked like an intolerant zealot who was destroying God’s places of worship.

Furthermore they reminded the people of how powerful the king of Assyria was and how many nations he had destroyed and how the gods of those nations failed to deliver them. “How much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand?” (2Ch.32:15) The Assyrian king launched an all out campaign to scare the Lord’s people, even writing “letters to rail on the LORD God of Israel, and to speak against him…” (2Ch.32:17) All this served to frighten the people into submission so they could take the city.

These things sound very familiar. “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” (Ecc.1:9) Yes, these same things happen today in civil governments of all kinds. It should be no surprise to us, for it is the same principalities and powers at work today that were at work in the days of good king Hezekiah. Let us rest upon his encouraging words as the people did in his day: “Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles.” (2Chr.32:7-8)

This morning I was reading 2 Samuel 12, the chapter wherein Nathan says to David, “Thou art the man.”  David essentially condemns himself, confesses his sin and repents.  The Lord is merciful to him in putting away his sin (v. 14) that he should not himself die.  But the child born to him of Bathsheba will die, he is told, and indeed, despite David’s earnest plea for the child’s life, he dies.  We know that the Lord hears the prayers of the righteous, and though David had sinned, he had also confessed ( v.13) and the Lord put away his sins (in Christ), thus David stands before God righteous (in Christ, Gal.2:20-21).  Yet here his prayer is not answered.

Indeed, the Lord does hear the prayers of the righteous that are in accord with his will ( 1Jn.5:14-15).  In this case it was the Lord’s will that the child should die and David, while he earnestly prayed that it might not be so with the child, yet when he learned of his death he cleansed himself and worshiped the Lord ( v.21-22).  He, in a sense, said with Job, “the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21)

This leads us into the topic of my email, namely that after the child died and David worshiped the Lord, he moved on with his life and even lay with Bathsheba again and she bear him a son whom the Lord loved (v. 24).  This is interesting for a number of reasons, a few of which are:

  1. After David had confessed and repented of his sin, he moved on with life knowing he was forgiven by the merciful God.  He trusted that, as Nathan said, the Lord put away his sin.  He didn’t sulk through the remainder of his days in agony over his sin, for to do so would have been to doubt the putting away of his sin by the Lord.
  2. Bathsheba, her husband now dead, had become David’s wife (2Sam.11:26-27) and though she was a snare unto him (actually his own lust ensared him, Jas.1:14-15) he had repented and did not at all find it necessary to put her away.  In fact he took it upon himself to comfort her in the loss of her child (v. 24) and enjoyed her as the wife that she was to him.
  3. Moreover, the Lord was pleased with the second child that was born unto them, Solomon.  This underscores that God had put away David’s sin and David trusted in that fact and, I think it’s safe to assume, Bathsheba had also forgiven David.
  4. It also shows that David was free to marry Bathsheba once her husband was dead, she thereby being free from her bonds to him (Rom.7:3)

I’ve been doing some meditating lately about practical Christian living. I don’t have time at the moment to expose much of my thoughts on this, but I’ve collected some verses that reflect my meditations. This isn’t a full list, but it should convey the general idea.

Hebrews 12:1-2

1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Matthew 10:39

39He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Matthew 16:24-26

24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

25For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

26For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Mark 8:34-38

34And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

35For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

36For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

37Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

38Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Luke 9:23-25

23And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

24For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

25For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

John 12:24-26

24Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

25He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

Matthew 13:44-45

44Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

45Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

Matthew 6:19-21

19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Matthew 19:16-22

16And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

17And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

18He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

19Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

20The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

21Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

22But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

Mark 10:17-22

17And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

18And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

19Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

20And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

21Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

22And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

Luke 12:15-34

15And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

16And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

17And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

18And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

19And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

20But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

21So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

22And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.

23The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.

24Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

25And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?

26If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?

27Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

28If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

29And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.

30For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

31But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

32Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

33Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

1 Timothy 6

1Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

2And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.

3If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;

4He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

5Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

6But godliness with contentment is great gain.

7For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

8And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

9But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

11But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

12Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

13I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;

14That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

15Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;

16Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

17Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

18That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

19Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

20O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

21Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

James 4:1-10

1From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

2Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

3Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

4Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

5Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

6But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

8Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

9Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

10Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

1 John 2:15-17

15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

“The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” Psa.25:14

To understand the secret things of the LORD, we must fear him. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Pro.1:7

“Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” Isa.28:9-10

“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Pro.2:1-6

Jeremiah 3:12-15 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

The scriptures make it plain that all people are sinners and sinners have a death sentence against them (Rom.3:23, 5:12-14, 6:23 et. al.). Sin is simply the transgression of God’s law (1Jn.3:4), however small or great.

Notice that God issues the call of repentance to Israel, and if they would simply repent he would withhold his anger and be merciful to them. So it is with us today when we are not walking uprightly before God. When you hear the gospel preached and realize that you are a filthy sinner, a rebellious and disobedience child walking in darkness, you should REPENT and be baptized, and God will be merciful to you. You cannot wash away your own sins, but Jesus Christ did wash away the sins of all of his people and those who believe that and turn from their wicked ways manifest that they are the children of God for whom he died.
Israel had committed adultery with other gods (vv.1-11) but if they would just repent God would be merciful to them. The first call of the gospel is REPENT. God is more interested in obedience than he is in sacrifice (1Sa.15:22; Heb.10:5-6). To offer sacrifices to the Lord in the hopes that he’ll overlook our continued transgression will certainly not appease him. He does not want 98% obedience anymore than he wants 50% obedience. He does not give us his commandments and say, pick eight of these ten and obey them. He does not say, obey me most of the time. He does not say, obey me when you think it’s best. He does not say, obey me when it’s convenient. He did not tell the apostles to preach most of what he taught them. He does not want us to be faithful to our spouse most of the time. God demands perfect obedience! If you fail to keep one of the least of his commandments you have failed to keep God’s law and you deserve to die (Rom.6:23). God doesn’t take it lightly and neither should we.

God sacrificed his only begotten Son to save us from our sins. Did you get that? He had his own son killed so that you wouldn’t have to be! Did you get that? He had him brutally slain, hung up alive on a cross in public with sinners, mocked and ridiculed until he breathed his last. Did you get that? GOD, manifest in the flesh, hung up with sinners and left to die. Why? Why? Why would Almighty God allow such a terrible thing to happen to his own son who had never done anything wrong, never transgressed a single commandment, never had even a single wicked thought? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn.3:16) But why did he love us, when even all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isa.64:6) and in our best state we are altogether vanity (Ps.39:5)? He chose us “according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Eph.1:5-6)

God didn’t have to save a single one of us. He would have been perfectly justified to condemn us all to hell — that is what we deserve. But one of the characteristics of God is grace and his election and adoption of sinners is to the praise of the glory of his grace. Quite simply, God is glorified in his electing grace.

To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

1Co.14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

The Bible teaches clearly that God is not the author of confusion. I am sometimes reminded of this fact by those with whom I have doctrinal discussions. Usually it takes a form along the lines of “That’s confusing and God is not the author of confusion.” This statement might be made after I’ve just explained how something that appears to be a contradiction in scripture is really not at all. In such cases a verse seems to say one thing but when compared with other texts on the same subject it is clear that it cannot say that thing which it appears to say in isolation since to do so would create a contradiction in scripture of which there are none (2Pe.1:20).

The objection that is raised in such cases is that God doesn’t make his word confusing and it’s confusing when a verse seems to say one thing but really says another. Ironically, this argument is itself a confusion. Let me explain.

Confusion is “a disorderly jumble; breakdown of order.” The English word confusion comes from the Latin confusio which comes from the verb confundere which means “mingle together.” In biblical context, when you mingle together God’s truth with Satan’s lie, you have confusion: a disorderly jumble, a breakdown of order. On the other hand, when you compare spiritual things with spiritual as the Holy Ghost does (1Co.2:13), you rightly divide the word of truth (2Ti.2:15) to ensure that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation (2Pe.1:20). Private means separate, thus no single verse or passage of scripture can be taken in isolation from the rest or it may result in confusion.

What people are really complaining about when they make this argument about things being confusing if they are not immediately obvious from the first read of a verse is that they’re hard to be understood. I have no problem with that statement, nor does Peter, nor does Paul (2Pe.3:16). Those who take the time to study the scriptures, who labor in the word and doctrine, who search for wisdom as for hid treasures will reap the reward of a clear understanding of God’s word.

Confusion does not necessarily mean difficult to understand.  The verse quote above comes in the midst of Paul’s dealing with the gift of prophecy and directly after he says that the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.  In other words, prophecies that are truly from the Lord will be in agreement one with another.  Just as Peter said, no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  God’s prophets do not prophecy in isolation from one another (even though they may be separated by time and space).  Their words are the words of the Lord and he is not the author of confusion.

John 11:37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?

Of course Jesus could have prevented Lazarus’ death, but he instead allowed it to happen that God might be glorified (Joh.11:4).  Which is greater, that Jesus heal a sick man or raise a man from the dead?  He’d already healed many sick, and apparently that had now become somewhat of an expectation.

These people lacked faith in the power of God over death.  Yes, Jesus can heal the sick and cause that this man had not died, but he can also raise the dead, as he did here with Lazarus, “for the glory of God” (Joh.11:4).  Jesus told Martha “that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God” (Joh.11:40).  His glory certainly was manifest when he raised Lazarus from the dead, as he said.

Martha believed in the resurrection of the dead (Joh.11:24-27), yet she seems to have forgotten that Jesus had power to raise the dead, for she thought not of it after her brother had been dead four days (Joh.11:39-40).
Let us not, therefore, forget the power of God.  He is the creator of the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that therein is (Neh.9:6; Psa.146:6; Jer.32:17; Act14:15, 17:24) and nothing is too hard for him, including raising the dead to life again.  He breathed life into the dust of the ground out of which he formed man and man became a living soul (Gen.2:7)  It stands to reason that he can breath life into the soul of man again after he is dead.

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Co.15:57)

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