As Christmas draws near this year, I am awestruck yet again by how God brought to sudden fulfillment in time what had been planned from eternity (2 Timothy 1:8-10); His work of salvation foretold by His prophets of old (Luke 1:67-75)! For Christmas from the Bible is nothing less than the simple, but profound narrative of a loving God’s next in time action step among many before with a few still coming to save His fallen creature, man, from sin, Satan and death. Among those prior steps was the never before done in history calling out of a people through whom to bring forth His chosen Deliverer (Genesis 3:14-15, 22:9-18; Exodus 3:1-10; Deuteronomy 4:32-39, 18:15-19).
Though surrounded and obscured by various Gentile secular and manmade religious cultural traditions as I was led to write in a previous post,1 if there is to be an authentic, biblical celebration of Christmas it must begin with God and the divine plan to save among fallen mankind! The divine plan designating the Son of God as mankind’s Savior was formulated before there was ever a creation because God foreknew man’s fall (Acts 2:22-24; 1 Peter 1:20-21). Many--including some Christians I have taught--struggle with this truth. They wonder, “If God knew man was going to fall, why bother to create him?” The simple answer is bound up in God’s nature and wisdom as well as man’s purpose.
“God is love,” the apostle John emphatically declares (1 John 4:8, NKJV). The visionary desire of God to create man is rooted in the very depths of divine love. Thus, the existence of man is not the result of a divine whim, afterthought or experiment. In love, God would create eternal sons to love that would love Him back in the image and likeness of the eternal Son (John 14:31; 1 John 4:19)!2 In wisdom, God knew (and now, even we know) in order for His creature to love, he must not only be equipped with the ability, but the free will to choose to do so. For this reason too, created to loyally serve God and His eternal sons, angels also have free will (Psalm 103:20-21; Hebrews 1:13-14).
The sovereign God, who knows all things, saw in advance the first man would freely choose to disobey His command and bring forth upon himself the just judgment His holy nature demanded. Since this was no experiment where God discarding the first man, would continue trying like some mad scientist until He finally created one that obeyed, in perfect love and wisdom God constructed a righteous plan to save His fallen creature. No plan was made to save disloyal angels that chose to rebel against God; they would be condemned to Hell forever without recourse (Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10). But from eternity God in love would show man His grace!
Here is where Christmas gets really deeply moving for me and I trust you also if in fact, you are among those saved by God’s grace through repentance and faith in the Gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ! While some stumble over the fact God would bother at all with constructing a plan to save fallen man, I am completely blown away by the fact His plan involved choosing to become one of us, His creature, leading to the indescribable pain, suffering and death He endured in successfully carrying it out (Isaiah 7:10-14, 53:1-9; Luke 1:26-40, 2:1-38; John 1:1-18, 3:16, 19:17-37; Hebrews 2:5-18). I am overwhelmed attempting to search out the kind of love that would do this for me!
Away from the secular commercial clamor, most significant for me as a Christian is the joyful worship of the God of my salvation; my Savior as planned, foretold and fulfilled--the powerful in simplicity real objective of Christmas! Indeed, so powerful is Christmas as the joyful worship of God in celebration of His action step to save fallen men by sending us His Son, the world has sought to diminish it with its own satanically inspired fabricated, sentimental storylines and cultural traditions which many churches of Christianity the religion of men endorse and support. To their shame and condemnation over the centuries, a great number of these have themselves offered up many complicated and heretical doctrines that corrupt the simple biblical narrative of God’s work to save.
Contending also with what he later describes as “false apostles” and “deceitful workers” as those that were phony messengers “of light” like Satan (2 Corinthians 11:12-15, NKJV), the apostle Paul strongly appeals for the Corinthians and all Christians to be faithful to our Lord Jesus; retaining “the simplicity that is in Christ,” (2 Corinthians 11:1-4, NKJV). For as Paul was concerned in the first, so, it continues to happen right into this twenty-first century that professed Christians are abandoning the simplicity of God’s work to save us from our sins through the first coming of Christ Jesus. Instead, to their destruction they are going after false christs, other gospels and doctrines following deceitful spirits as foretold (Mark 13:5-6; Galatians 1:3-7; 1 Timothy 4:1-5).
In faith and God’s command to stand fast, however, let every aspiring strong man of God in Christ’s image proclaim and witness the truth prepared from eternity and fulfilled to his family, church and the world at Christmas (Isaiah 53:10-12; John 20:1-18; Titus 1:1-3).3 Let us also accurately teach that if all of God’s foretold action steps in His work to save us from our sins were fulfilled at Christ’s first coming, then, it must be soberly understood that every one of the remaining prophesied action steps of salvation’s consummation at His Second Coming are to be shortly fulfilled (Acts 1:4-11, 3:18-26; Hebrews 9:23-28; Revelation 1:1-8, 21:7-8)!4 The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
I will take next Sunday off as part of my Christmas celebration and Lord willing, return with a final 2018 post on December 30th. Merry Christmas!
1 See the December 2014 two-part post, Culturally Conditioning the Faith, under the category, The Faith. The Church is not a creation of culture, but Christ’s called out
assembly from it (Matthew 16:13-18). Therefore, the Church is not beholding to the culture its members have assembled out of, but to Christ as His “light” exposing the
darkness and His “pillar and ground of the truth” in it (Ephesians 5:8-14; 1 Timothy 3:15, NKJV)! Because this is true, I stand by every word and Scripture cited in the
post referenced in this footnote.
2 Read the June 19, 2016 post, Eternal Sons Of God, under the category, Instruction.
3 Learn more about the aspiring strong man and great woman of God in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. It is available at all major internet booksellers,
by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
4 Read Now Is The Day Of Salvation, posted December 4, 2016, under the category, Call To Repent. Also, while it is righteous not to attempt to declare a specific date or
hour of Christ’s return as He warned (Mark 13:32-37), a disservice is being done to the Body of Christ by those at this hour that say “it could be another thousand
years.” Not! The Lord also commanded us to watch for the prophetic signs He gave indicating His coming was near (Luke 21:25-36). Such signs have been breaking
out profusely since the time Israel became a nation again on May 14, 1948 which itself is the greatest of them so far and confirms as foretold that the punitive dispersion
of the Jews to the nations was only to be temporary (Hosea 3; Luke 21:20-24; Romans 11:1-15, 25-36)!
It hardly seems possible that the apostle Paul’s prophetic warning about dangerous times and men given to his son in the faith, Timothy, I reference in this edited 2013 Commentary could be referring to anyone but sinners of the world (2 Timothy 3:1-9). However, while sinners are referred to by him, these are men of the worst sort; professed Christians that are not led, controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit, but Satan through their sinful flesh. Can they really be pleasing God serving out of the sinful flesh as they would deceitfully have us believe? According to Scripture, no (Romans 8:6-9; Galatians 5:19-21)!1 I have been dealing with such men (and women) among many churches all of my journey and stand yet again to hold up the biblical warning about them.
Originally Published March 2013
The Bible is a book of truth that chronicles and accurately reports the consistent behavior of human beings as fallen sinners from the beginning (and without divine intervention, a hopeless forever). Such has been my painful realization as a watchman/prophet and teacher in the churches as well as an aspiring strong man of God in the image of Jesus Christ. For amazing to me but quite in line with the biblical record, up until now, professed Christians have been my greatest antagonists. Still, to the end of saving some and helping others, the Lord has had me laboring over thirty years and intensely so recently in writing about Christianity the religion of men (Revelation 18:4-8).2
Ancient Judah should have known better especially in light of what they had seen happen to Israel, their sister to the North when God, after many warnings through His prophets, brought the foretold judgment with a harshness and finality that was staggering (2 Kings 17:5-23; Jeremiah 3:6-10). However, Judah too experienced God’s judgment for failing to heed the warnings of His prophets and repent from their spiritual adultery and wickedness. The fortunate found themselves captive in Babylon (2 Kings 24:1-25:21). Many of them were outwardly religious, knew what the Law said and had even experienced brief revivals under godly kings--the last, Josiah.
Yet, when God commissions Ezekiel as His watchman/prophet to the captives in Babylon, He calls this religious people "a rebellious house," (Ezekiel 1:26-3:27, NKJV). The Lord greatly encouraged His prophet since in the course of carrying out their God ordained ministries in the past, most of the prophets had been ridiculed, mocked and mistreated. Some of them had been imprisoned, tortured and murdered in the cause of bringing God's love motivated call to repentance and warning of judgment to His people which the Lord Jesus affirms in Matthew 23:29-36. Indeed, He even warns that as it was for the Old Testament prophets, so it would be for His sent servants in the New.
The Lord Himself would not escape the stark reality that the most religious men in Israel--her religious educated elite and leaders--would insist on His death out of the most common of human sins: envy (Matthew 27:15-20). Therefore, He warned His apostles and all faithful servants to come that those professing to know God in the Jewish religion and later, what sprang up as manmade Christianity the religion would be first among their persecutors (Luke 21:12; John 16:1-4; Revelation 17:1-6). The apostle Paul who experienced the painful persecution of those he once stood among likewise warns about this peril from religious men (2 Corinthians 11:22-26; 2 Timothy 3:1-9).
The New Testament record and history to this hour confirm the prophetic accuracy of the Lord and His apostle. Young and naïve in Christ those years ago, I was so hopeful it would be just a very few bad apples I might face in carrying out the ministry the Lord gifted and called me to (Ezekiel 33:1-9).3 However, I have since repeatedly experienced the mostly covert, but at times, openly hostile opposition to my ministry by legions of faithless, spiritually dead, proud, deceitful, corrupt and carnal practitioners of Christianity the religion from various races in the churches.4 Truly, if it had not been for the Lord at my side strengthening, encouraging and ministering to me, I would have forsaken His calling (John 14:18; Acts 18:4-11, 23:1-11; 2 Timothy 4:14-18).
The Lord foretells the time soon fully at hand when in the wake of global persecution, a total breakdown in civility among professing Christians will occur. He says, "And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another," (Matthew 24:10, NKJV). In this breakdown, religious impostors devoid of the Holy Spirit will abandon their charade; unrepentant willfully sinning weak Christians quenching His fire will become apostates in their offense at the painful persecution. Christianity the religion will be exposed for the counterfeit it is as faithful Christians are betrayed to persecuting authorities and greatly hated by those once professing to be brothers.
Surely, we are now in the initial stages of this breakdown as the world's escalating rebellion and hatred forces all professing Christians to make their loyalties known. Christian religionists have done just like their Jewish counterparts historically and rejected those sent by Christ's love to warn and call them to repentance. They fail to realize they are more accountable than ancient Israel for their obstinacy since professing Christians have received so much more by way of the testimony of Christ, the Gospel and the warning of His apostles to give due regard to the biblical record (Luke 12:42-48; 1 Corinthians 10:1-11). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 Because the following behaviors I have consistently witnessed over forty years by numerous professed Christian pastors are not expressly listed by Paul in 2 Timothy
3:1-9 or Galatians 5:19-21 and the guilty obviously believe them to be okay, the Lord would have me include hindering God’s people under false pretenses, oppressing,
manipulating for gain sake and lording it over them to be works of the sinful flesh He condemns (Nehemiah 6:1-14; Jeremiah 22:13-17; Lamentations 3:34-36; Matthew
15:1-9, 20:20-28; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
2 Read the two-part, August 2016 post, Christianity The Religion Of Men, under the category, Instruction and Christianity The Religion American Style posted September
4, 2016 under the category, Call To Repent.
3 See the October 2, 2016 post, Gifted With A Prophet’s Heart under the category, Call To Repent.
4 Read my April 9-May 7 posts reflecting on being a Christian for forty years under the category, Glory To God! Also, get a copy of my book, The Strong Man Of God:
Back To Basics, wherein the last chapter I write to exhort the repentance of compromised pastors as professed Christians that have preeminently been among those
resisting our strong man of God message and cause. The book is available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in
the Strong Man Store.
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