A Few Example Posts:

  • "The End of Faith: A Short Response to Sam Harris"
  • See also:
  • "A Long Response to Sam Harris' The End of Faith, by Neil Shenvi"

  • "Is John Piper the Best Answer to Emergence and Postmodernism?"

  • "Captured"

  • "The Storm is Over"

  • "If Golfing Were the Pursuit of Moral Perfection"

  • 12.22.2005

    It's Christmas Time in the City or Peace on Earth Goodwill Toward Men

    Took a trip to Knoxville yesterday. The whole city was shot full of people. Traffic was thick. But I've never before seen so much courtesy in a town full of drivers. Several times, people stopped to let me turn into the traffic. Found myself doing the same for others. It was like we had a collective understanding that, "Ok, we're all in this together, so we'll make the best of it." I was really impressed. Good job, Knoxville.

    Now, was all this courtesy due to Southern hospitality or was it "Christmastime in the city?" Did the season afford us "peace on earth, good will toward men" at traffic lights?

    What did the messengers mean when they first proclaimed, "Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men?"

    Well, "Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men" is not the basis of a Coke commercial where we sing together at a candlelight vigil and pause for refreshment and group hugs.

    The peace expressed that first Christmas night was God's goodwill toward humanity.

    Why would it be so remarkable a statement?

    Because men are sinners and rebels against this good, holy God.


    God created man to be in perfect fellowship with Him, but we spurned Him and chose our own way. We established hostility toward God in our hearts. And we see it everywhere.

    There is much to show that God made obedience easy. He created man without a sinful nature, placed him in an ideal environment, provided for all his temporal needs, endowed him with strong mental powers, gave him work to engage his hands and his mind, provided a life-partner, warned him of the consequences of disobedience, and entered into personal fellowship with him. Surely, God cannot be blamed for man's apostacy. - Henry Theissen.

    We are foolish enough, in the midst of all this, to believe that we actually have a case against God. We blame Him. We blame others.

    We want to blame crime on poverty. We want to blame child abuse on one's background. We want to blame terrorism on the existence of capitalism and a free society... The list goes on and on... I am not saying that environment has no influence on people, but it is never a root cause. We must take personal ownership of our transgressions, because sin is a willful transgression of the law. We established "enmity" against Him in our hearts.

    I cannot place the blame for my particular set of sins on anyone else: It falls to me.

    Until a person recognizes that his sin problems are rooted in rebellion for which he or she is morally responsible, there is no hope for that person to be released from his or her bondage. It is a problem between the person and God.

    "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be, So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." -Romans 8:7

    C.S. Lewis put it to a point when he mentioned that man is not simply a weak creature who needs rehabilitation. He is a rebel who must lay down his arms.

    The wonderful scandal of it all is that God justifies and forgives rebels--at a high price to Himself: the sending of His Son.

    "Peace on earth, goodwill toward men" is not referring to a heart-felt cry for human to human reconciliation, or courteous driving, as nice as those things are.

    "Peace on earth, goodwill toward men" is the great truth that God is willing to be reconciled to rebels who have dishonored His glory and had murderous intentions toward their Creator.

    Christ Himself is God's goodwill towards men.

    Christmas launched the ministry of reconciliation in the life of the Messiah.

    Amen.

    5 Comments:

    At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Amen, to that!
    It is easyer to blame someone els for the way we act and for the way we have turned out to be, speaking for myself, but the only one I can blame is me, and I so thankful that God is a forgiving God! :)
    thanks John for this post!
    janice

     
    At 2:02 PM, Blogger Joe said...

    The blame game is the most popular game since Monopoly!

    Maybe even before.

     
    At 3:31 PM, Blogger anoninva said...

    I would be extremely wary getting any theological ideas or teachings from CS Lewis. He was off base on alot of things. For instance; "we need to lay down our arms"? yes, it's true that the Bible says that we are at enmity with God prior to salvation. But we can't lay down our arms and we won't, unless the Lord graciously intervenes and causes us to be born again.

     
    At 3:49 PM, Blogger John Rush said...

    Anoninva,

    Ah...the Calvinism thing...

    I'm aware of Lewis's shortcomings, but I thought the quote was fitting.

    Merry Christmas!

    JRush

     
    At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Jerrell Pagaduan said...

    I really appreciate people like you who take their chance in such an excellent way to give an impression on certain topics. Thanks for having me here.

     

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