Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas

True Christmas

Luke 2:1-20

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Galatians 4:4-6

4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/24/2012 at 8:30 AM

The Gospel in Matthew 1:21

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
– Matthew 1:21

Christmas is all about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The focus of Christmas is upon Christ.  It is not about angels or about Mary or about Joseph but the nativity is all about the incarnation of the Son of God (Isaiah 7:14).  The Christmas story lays out the wonder of the gospel of Christ.

We see this clearly in Matthew 1:21.  We see:

1.  The Savior by Name.

There is only one way to salvation and that is through the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are not saved by good works.  We are not saved by religion.  We are not saved by belief.  We are not saved by faith in faith.  We are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).  The wonder of the gospel is that Jesus finished the work of salvation for us (John 19:30).  Jesus is our salvation before God (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).  Jesus is our everything (Colossians 3:3-4).  Jesus is the only name by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12).  There is no salvation apart from faith in Him (John 3:15).  His name alone saves (John 14:6).  The Savior is clearly named here in Matthew 1:21:  you shall call His name Jesus.  The name Jesus means “the Lord saves.”  The Lord God delivers us through the Lord Jesus.

2.  The Savior Who Saves.

Jesus saves us but He does so specifically from sin.   Notice that Matthew does not say that Jesus saves us in our sins.  He saves us from our sins.  He delivers His people from sin.  The power of sin is broken as well as the penalty of sin (Romans 6:11-14, 23).  When Jesus saves a person, He saves them from sin and He delivers them unto God.  We are new creations in Christ, the old is gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Jesus doesn’t save us and then allow us to abuse His grace through willful rebellion against Him (Jude 4).  1 John 2:3-6 reads:

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

To walk as He walked.  We are to be a people of holiness through Him (1 Peter 1:15-16).  None of us are able to overcome sin by our own power but we can do so in Christ Jesus (Galatians 5:16-17).  Jesus grants us the power to overcome sin and to live for His glory alone.  1 John 3:6-9 establishes this clearly:

No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.

It is clear from 1 John 3:6-9 that we must not abide in sin while claiming to follow Christ.  This simply cannot be.  We cannot say that Jesus is our Savior if we are not saved from our sins.  Revelation 21:7-8 teaches us that those abiding in sin will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Jesus calls us to be born again (John 3:3) and when He saves a person, He enables them to be free from sin and its power (John 8:31-38).  He is a mighty Savior who is fully able to deliver us (1 Corinthians 10:13).  After all, He ever lives as our intercessor (Romans 8:31; Hebrews 7:25).  He is more than able to deliver His people from sin (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/19/2012 at 1:38 AM

Attack Christ: It’s Christmas!

Dr. Al Mohler’s piece on Newsweek magazine once again seeking to attack the Bible and biblical Christianity with, yet once again, Bart Ehrman leading that charge.  His piece points out the flaws in Ehrman’s thinking.  I suppose I have never seen a “former” Christian such as Ehrman so bent on attacking Christianity.  His desire is simple: to destroy the faith he once held.  I thank God that there are godly men such as Dr. Mohler who are more than willing to take on this fight.

You can read Dr. Mohler’s piece.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/12/2012 at 6:10 PM

The King is Born!

On this day, the Church celebrates the birth of the Messiah of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the only way to salvation (John 14:6) and all must come to God through Him (1 Timothy 2:5-6).  He is the one promised to Israel (Romans 9:1-5) and He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15-16; Revelation 19:16).  He is the one that we Christians believe is coming again (Hebrews 9:27-28) yet this time His coming will be in power and glory.  We believe that the risen Son of God is forever alive (Hebrews 9:14) and we believe that in Him alone do we find forgiveness of all our sins (Ephesians 1:7).

So on this day, whether an Arminian or a Calvinist, let us rejoice that Jesus Christ has come (Galatians 4:1-6).  Let us celebrate Him and praise our God that He has sent His salvation unto us (Luke 2:30-32).

Merry Christmas!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/25/2011 at 11:42 AM

The Wonder of the Christmas Story

I can still remember how my salvation brought Christmas back to my heart again.  After I found out there was no Santa Claus at the age of about 7 or 8, Christmas lost much of its wonder.  I still looked forward to getting presents but the wonder was gone.  The lights, the magic, the wonder of it all was not the same once I saw that my dad was Santa and had been for all those years.  It wasn’t until I was born again at the age of 17 that Christmas became a true joy to me again as I begin to study the importance of the incarnation of God.

Too often what gets lost in the Christmas season is the wonder of the incarnation.  I have been a disciple of Jesus now for nearly 20 years and yet every Christmas I go back to read Matthew 1 and Luke 1-2 and the many prophetic scriptures concerning the incarnation of our Lord and I never cease to step away from the pages of the Bible and simply say, “God You are amazing to me.  Your ways cause me to stand in awe of You and Your wisdom.”  How is it that the very God who created all things in Genesis 1-2 can now stoop down and become a tiny baby inside the womb of the virgin Mary?  How is it that the very God who told David, “Heaven is my throne and the earth is My footstool” could now become a baby who would be totally dependent upon His earthly mother?  How is it that the God who was so holy and pure that no eyes could even behold Him in His glory would now take on flesh and blood for all to see Him?  The God who raises up kings and puts down kings would now be in the care of a young girl and young man for His needs.

The incarnation is beyond me.  It’s not that I don’t get it theologically.  It’s that I still am amazed that the Word became flesh (John 1:14).  I am amazed that God came down to us (Isaiah 9:6-7).  I stand in awe of the grace of God to allow His perfect Son to come to die for my sins (2 Corinthians 5:21).  I am in awe of God’s great love for me (John 3:16).  I am amazed at the faith of Mary (Luke 1:38).  I am amazed at the faith and trust of Joseph (Matthew 1:20-25; 2:12).  I am amazed at the proclamation by the angel Gabriel where he seems to simply stand in awe of God by saying, after telling Mary how she will conceive the Christ-child, that “nothing will be impossible for God” (Luke 1:37) almost as if to say, “I don’t understand the ways of God but I know that He can do whatever He likes.”  I stand in awe of the miracle called Christmas.

And that has restored my joy.  That has renewed my passion for Christmas.  I don’t enjoy the presents like I did when I was younger.  I get frustrated with the commercialism that has become Christmas.  I grow weary with the Christmas songs on the radio all the time.  But I love the incarnation.  I love the story of Jesus’ wonderful birth.  I love that He came to save this sinner and to do so, He became just like I am but without sin (1 Peter 2:21-24).  Jesus, the perfect Son of God, the Lamb of God (John 1:29), came down and humble Himself to the cross (Philippians 2:5-11).  The incarnation keeps me realizing that God loves me and that He desires to save me and clothe me in His righteousness (Romans 3:21-25).

Praise God for Christmas!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/01/2011 at 10:00 AM

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