Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Not Goods, but the Good

“Wherefore should I fear in the evil days, when iniquity shall compass me about, as at mine heels? They trust in their goods, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches. Yet a man can by no means redeem his brother: he cannot give his ransom to God, (so precious is the redemption of their souls, and the continuance forever) that he may live still forever, and not see the grave. For he seeth that wise men die: and also that the ignorant and foolish perish, and leave their riches for others. Yet they think their houses and their habitations shall continue forever, even from generation to generation, and call their lands by their names. But man shall not continue in honor; he is like the beasts that die. This their way uttereth their foolishness; yet their posterity delight in their sheep they lie in grave; death devoureth them; and the righteous shall have domination over them in the morning; for their beauty shall consume, when they shall go from their house to not thou afraid when one is made rich, and when the glory of his house is increased. For he shall take nothing away, when he dieth, neither shall his pomp descend after him. For while he lived, he rejoiced himself; and men will praise thee, when thou makest much of thyself. He shall enter into the generation of his fathers, and they shall not live forever. Man is in honor; and understandeth not; he is like to beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:5-20, Geneva Bible).

For a government (elected by the people for the people) to borrow $4,000,000 a minute, spending $2.06 for every $1.00 it takes in...these things cannot last forever (I’m starting to wonder if we’re seeing “Lord of the Flies” played out over a few centuries in this Republic). This is reason for despair if 49:15 (the only such verse in this Psalm) is not the solid confession of your faith in this world: “...God shall deliver my soul from the power of the grave; for He will receive me” (49:15).

As a dear brother of mine once said, “faith is faith only when Christ is all you have.” It seems the Father, in His disciplining love for His children (Hebrews 12:1-13), is bringing His Church to a place where this is our reality, to our ultimate and eternal joy. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and was made the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in His own order: the firstfruits is Christ, afterward, they that are of Christ, at His coming shall rise again. Then shall be the end, when He hath delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when He hath put down all rule, and all authority and power. For He must reign till He hath put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed, is death. For He hath put down all things under His feet. (And when He saith that all things are subdued to Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put down all things under him.) And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him, that did subdue all things under Him, that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:19-28). Our faith is not in political party, economic system, or earthly citizenship. He will make sure His children in Christ learn this lesson well. For our good and His glory.

My 5% Spandex Holiness

“Adiaphora” (αδιάφορα) is a word used to describe things that are “indifferent” to God’s commands or laws (or things not mentioned, not forbidden in Scripture). With how much of the surrounding unregenerate culture are believers permitted by God to participate? In certain areas this is definitely not an easy question (not as easy as some would make it seem, for sure). It does seem, however, that believers will expend much more emotional energy in defending their right to watch a “Twilight” movie, read “Harry Potter,” overindulge in poor (but socially acceptable) health choices, or engorging themselves in the cultural (and highly materialistic) expressions of Easter, Halloween, or Christmas, than they do in defending and delighting in the “the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3). Doctrine may divide, as the bumper-sticker-esque wisdom of today’s Church goes (and therefore should be eschewed), but “Walking Dead” or our costly and time-consuming hobbies are a far more reasonable basis for fellowship (and makes us look more normal to our lost friends)?! Are they "adiaphora," though? Well, we’ll sure make a lot of noise against those who would dare suggest they’re not.

I’m not an expert on the culture and am probably worthless as a social commentator (I’ve long suspected that I’m mentally/emotionally disabled and all my friends and family take care of me, laugh at my jokes, pretend what I’m saying is coherent, etc., out of their loving pity for my condition...of which I’m blissfully unaware!), but let me make a few observations.

I saw the trailer for “Promised Land” (Focus Features, 2012) recently on television. I noticed that it was rated “R” for “Language.” Wow. Given the kind of language that now is not only passable for a “PG” or “PG-13” rating (or for prime-time television), I could only point being that there’s little that is taboo in the language of the entertainment offered and consumed from the world’s culture by the Church. Is this adiaphora? Maybe not, since it’s increasingly popular for some of this language to find its way into our pulpits.

Read these two versions of Article VIII of the Baptist Faith & Message (one of two confessions that define the bounds of my personal conviction and Church membership):
  • “The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private, and by refraining from worldly amusements, and resting from secular employments, work of necessity and mercy only being excepted” (1963).
  • “The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord's Day should be commensurate with the Christian's conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ” (2000).

Well, what happened? Did we get deeper in our study of the Scripture and meditation together on the doctrine contained therein? Or did our love for things (and the need to work more to pay for them and the need for more time to shop for them) move us to proclaim a major distinctive attitude of Christianity for centuries suddenly “adiaphora”? Would we have come to this conclusion apart from the influence of the world on the Church? I know that defining the continuity/discontinuity between the Fourth Commandment and new covenant Church practice is not easy, but can we really say what we do on the day dedicated to the Lord in a week is not governed by Scripture at all, but “should be commensurate with the Christian’s conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ” (I’ve seen Christians do a lot of very unscriptural things that they claimed were permissible to their “Christian conscience”)? Our theology seems to have been molded to accomodate, not shape as “a city set on a hill” (Matthew 5:14).

I, of course, am just as guilty in all these things, and do not claim a lofty place from which to make these judgments. I will, however, offer this passage for consideration which came to my attention a few days ago: “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together”’” (Leviticus 19:1,2,19, NASB). Non-believers and liberal Christians love this verse. When we argue against homosexuality or some other sin clearly defined by the whole of the Bible (though less and less is “clear” to some these days), those who oppose us (contrarians from a culture which doesn’t need their efforts to accomplish its purpose) love to then point out that we’re wearing a cotton-poly blend or some such thing. But is the point of this passage to be found in selective breeding or textile composition? No. The great point of this passage transcends its temporal/cultural context, and is definitely not “adiaphora.” God expects His people to reflect His holiness (separateness, uniqueness unto God) in everything, every aspect of our lives. Nothing, in other words, is “adiaphora” in God's will for His covenant people. Nothing.

Can we really say that Leviticus 19 is invalid for our consideration when its great refrain, “be holy for I am holy,” is quoted and applied to the Church by the Apostle Peter? “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY’” (1 Peter 1:14-16).

It is never easy to draw the lines between how we are to live together in Christ and how we are to live in this world. It requires a careful, humble, corporate consideration of the Scriptures. May God give us illumination of how we are to reflect His holiness. May God give us a willingness to die to the things for which we now argue so passionately, and, instead, just let them go, choosing to “err” (if that’s the right word) on the side of holiness rather than conformity.

For His glory, not our entertained assimilation.

Monday, December 17, 2012

God on Trial

It’s interesting that our society only invokes God to bring Him to trial following a tragedy.

Consider these three witnesses from the oldest book in the Bible:
  • “Then Job answered...‘He bruises me with a tempest and multiplies my wounds without it right for You indeed to oppress, to reject the labor of Your hands, and to look favorably on the schemes of the wicked...God has wronged me and has closed His net around God lives, Who has taken away my right, and the Almighty, Who has embittered my soul’” (Job 9:1,17; 10:3; 19:6; 27:2, NASB unless otherwise noted).
  • “Then Elihu continued and said, ‘Do you think this is according to justice? Do you say, “My righteousness is more than God’s”?’” (Job 35:1,2).
  • “Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm and said, ‘Now gird up your loins like a man; I will ask you, and you instruct Me. Will you really annul My judgment? Will you condemn Me that you may be justified?’” (Job 40:6-8).
There is nothing new under the sun. God will not be brought to judgment in your tribunal of public discourse and vain opinion (especially when the result is a golden calf named “god” who is not god enough to stop the tragedy but is god enough to be judged culpable by you). The time to suddenly theologize is not in the aftermath of the nightmare; that is the time when we stand on the solid rock of our consistent confession and theology. The ones to consult to build this theology that will sustain us when our worlds are ripped to shreds are not those who disregard the Word He has given us for the full revelation of Himself; the place where true confession and theology is found is where His Word is lifted up, meditated upon, prayed, sung, taught, and lived together in the covenant community of faith in Jesus Christ, His Church (this is why the early Church had a regular diet of the Psalms [1 Corinthians 14:26; Ephesians 5:19], where we learn to grieve and cry out to God from God the Holy Spirit Himself). The true Church alone is “the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), not the soapbox of human opinion and confused consensus.

Hear the message of every horrifying tragedy: repent, for a day is coming for every one of us. “Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish’” (Luke 13:1-5).

He will not be judged by us. We will be judged by Him in perfect righteousness through His Son Jesus Christ, Who is also the only Way to salvation from that judgment:
  • “Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them...‘the Father...has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life’” (John 5:19,22-24).
  • “Opening his mouth, Peter said: ‘I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One Who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins’” (Acts 10:34,35,38-43).
  • “So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens...the God Who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us...we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man...having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man Whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead’” (Acts 17:22,24-27,29-31).
I grieve with you, but am not surprised. I believe the Bible’s testimony about the wickedness in the human heart. I also believe in the only solution to this reality: “...this whole world lieth in wickedness. But we know that that Son of God is come, and hath given us a mind to know Him which is true, and we are in Him that is true, that is, in that His Son Jesus Christ, the same is that very God, and that eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:19b-21, Geneva Bible).

Let us learn the lesson with Job and share his final confession, the one that does not try to bring God before the court of human “fairness,” but recognizes Him as sole and only Sovereign in all things, not just in the aftermath of the unthinkable manifestation of the always-present human evil, but every day of our lives to His glory: “Then Job answered the LORD and said, ‘I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. “Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?” Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. “Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.” I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You; therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes’” (Job 42:1-6). Here, where we cease to claim before Him that we deserve better (this is a truly spiritual place, the last place we will go in our natural selves), is where we will find a lasting peace in the comfort given in Christ alone. "...the Helper, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful" (John 14:26,27). This is true life in His Church, where the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, blessed Trinity, speaks His Word of supernatural and eternal peace to His people in the midst of a world where wickedness will not be defeated by human effort or law.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Our Guardianship

“Remember that we are the people You chose long ago, the tribe You redeemed as Your own special possession! And remember Jerusalem, Your home here on earth. Walk through the awful ruins of the city; see how the enemy has destroyed Your sanctuary. There Your enemies shouted their victorious battle cries; there they set up their battle standards. They swung their axes like woodcutters in a forest. With axes and picks, they smashed the carved paneling. They burned Your sanctuary to the ground. They defiled the place that bears Your name. Then they thought, ‘Let’s destroy everything!’ So they burned down all the places where God was worshiped” (Psalm 74:2-8, New Living Translation).

Reading this I am reminded of the New Testament’s continual warnings about our greatest threat as the gathered people of God. It is not as in the days of the Psalmist, for our deadliest enemies do not come from the outside with axes, war-cries, and fire.

  • “I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following” (Acts 20:29,30).
  • “These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
  • “Have I now become your enemy because I am telling you the truth? Those false teachers are so eager to win your favor, but their intentions are not good. They are trying to shut you off from me so that you will pay attention only to them” (Galatians 4:16,17).
  • “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
  • “Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead” (1 Timothy 4:1,2).
  • “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths” (2 Timothy 4:3,4).
  • “But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered” (2 Peter 2:1,2).
And there are dozens of other similar warnings

Sometimes they don’t burn the places of gathering from the outside. Keep your Bibles open before you, reading them alone and together, giving thanks in prayer and rejoicing for the great promise of the new covenant sealed with Christ’s blood: that God the Holy Spirit would write His Word on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). Guard the Church from its greatest enemy: false teaching. They may sound good, look good, make you feel good with their words. Be diligent in scriptural doctrine and practice that comes consistently and carefully from that scriptural doctrine. Stay together. In this way, be the Church that doesn't "tolerate evil people," examining "the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not" (Revelation 2:2). "Being the Church" (a popular phrase these days) means being "the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15). Scripture is "the true center of Christian union" (Baptist Faith & Message 2000, 1).

“Behold! The ecclesiastical power which is given to pastors of the church (by whatever name they are called) is clearly declared! That is, by God’s word which they are established to administer, they boldly dare all things and constrain every glory, greatness, and power of this world to obey and submit to the divine Majesty. By this word they have command over the whole world; they build up Christ’s house and overturn Satan's kingdom; they feed the sheep and kill the wolves; they lead by teaching and exhortations those who are teachable; they constrain and correct the rebellious and obstinate; they bind, loose, thunder, and cast lightning - but all in the word of God.”
John Calvin, “Institutes of the Christian Religion,” 15 (1541 version)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Which House?

“And when the Lord thy God hath brought thee into the land, which He sware unto thy fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to thee, with great and goodly cities which thou buildedst not, and houses full of all manner of goods which thou filledst not, and wells dug which thou dug not, vineyards and olive trees which thou plantedst not, and when thou hast eaten and art full, beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage [עבדים]: thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve [תעבד] Him, and shalt swear by His Name” (Deuteronomy 6:12,13, Geneva Bible).

“Know ye not, that to whomsoever ye give yourselves as servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether it be of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye have been the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart unto the form of the doctrine, whereunto ye were delivered. Being then made free from sin, ye are made the servants of righteousness...but now being freed from sin, and made servants unto God, ye have your fruit in holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:16-18,22,23).

You serve one house or another. There is no third option.

“This is the word of faith which we preach. For if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart, that God raised Him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved...He that is Lord over all, is rich unto all that call on Him. For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord, shall be is by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:8,9,12,13,17). Confess Him as Lord, and call upon Him as your Lord, and be saved from the house of slavery into the house of service to the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Black Dwarf

Merry Christmas from the Black Dwarf.

“Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.

God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and made of the substance of His mother, born in the world.

Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.

Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.

Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.

One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the manhood into God.

One altogether, not by the confusion of substance, but by unity of person.

For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead; He ascended into heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.”

- Athanasian Creed, 28-39.

Countercultural in the Blessing of the Normal

“Blessed is everyone that feareth the Lord, and walketh in His ways. When thou eatest the labors of thine hands, thou shalt be blessed, and it shall be well with thee” (Psalm 128:1,2, Geneva Bible).

Carefully note that the blessings for “fearing the Lord” and “walking in His ways” are manifested in the most ordinary means: Work-paycheck-eat.

We give thanks, since we are working for, buying, and eating food “which God hath created to be received with giving thanks of them which believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:3).

Two observations:
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Those in Christ are to give all things a countercultural significance by pointing not to themselves, but to our Father Who is in heaven. This practice is not just doxological (an act focused on openly giving glory to God in a corporate setting), but should be doctrinal and catechetical (teaching): “Prayer, with thanksgiving...must be made in the name of the Son, by the help of the Spirit, and according to His will [it is trinitarian, thus uniquely Christian; see Ephesians 5:18,20]. It must be made with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and corporate prayer must be made in a known language” (Baptist Confession of Faith 1689, 22.3).

• Don’t let the convenience of quickly-acquired food so streamline the process of eating that this “blessing” (Psalm 128:1,2) just becomes a necessary process in our pointlessly over-busy schedules (where, in our efforts to cram more importance into our day, we marginalize heaven-pointing blessings like sitting down to eat with family in the celebration of the daily blessings of God).

Church, don't get dragged along in the current of the mundane with the world. Instead, may we be those who celebrate, teach, and bring the mundane into the context of heavenly glory even in the work-paycheck-eat cycle. This is blessing.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Santa Up, Church

Nicholas of Myra (a.k.a. St. Nicholas, Santa Claus) winds up for a little smackdown on Arius at the Council of Nicea, A.D. 325. This is my Santa: lie about my Jesus, and prepare for more than coal in your stocking!

On a serious note, Arius' false teaching about Jesus (He is not the eternal Son of God, but was a creation, a special man who became God) is regurgitated every generation. Church, if you've gotta "Santa," then "Santa up" for Jesus and "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 3).

Sunday, December 2, 2012

He Preserves Through Hearing in the Gathering

“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge delighteth thy soul, then shall counsel preserve thee, and understanding shall keep thee...and it shall deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words. Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. Surely her house tendeth to death, and her paths unto the dead. All they that go unto her, return not again, neither take they hold of the ways of life. Therefore walk thou in the way of good men, and keep the ways of the righteous” (Proverbs 2:10,11,16-20, Geneva Bible).

The connection between hearing (2:10,11) and doing (2:20) is found in the assembly of the saints in Christ: Wisdom, knowledge, counsel, and understanding are to be found in fellowship with “good men” and “the righteous.” Gather with the Church today, friends, and hear of Him Who alone saves you from the one(s) who will only lead you away from Him (2:16-19). He preserves and keeps you through hearing in the gathering.

* * * * * * *

“My son, if thou wilt...cause thine ears to hearken unto wisdom...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” (Proverbs 2:1,2,5,6).

Discipline yourself to hear the Word of the Lord as it is proclaimed in the gathering of the saints. He speaks His wisdom in Christ through the Scriptures by the teachers He gives His Church: “My son, if thou wilt receive my words...” (2:1; cf. Acts 13:1; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Timothy 3:2; 2 Timothy 2:2,24). This is the only means of His grace by which we “understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”

* * * * * * *

“...He preserveth the way of His Saints” (Proverbs 2:8). Notice that though there are many “Saints,” there is only one “way.” Walk together.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Snakes in the Christmas Decorations

“Then the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field: upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. I will also put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed. He shall break thine head, and thou shalt bruise His heel’ (Genesis 3:14,15, Geneva Bible).

“For thou hast said, The Lord is mine hope: thou hast set the most High for thy refuge. There shall none evil come unto thee, neither shall any plague come near thy tabernacle...the dragon shalt thou tread under feet (Psalm 91:9,10,13).

“For your obedience is come abroad among all: I am glad therefore of you: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. The God of peace shall tread Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (Romans 16:19,20).

Christmas: the Serpent-crusher is born of woman; He then continues to crush the Serpent through those who by faith and obedience are made one with Him. There is such an incredible and absolute victory behind the Christmas story over the great enemy of God and His people!

I wonder why there aren’t any snakes in our Christmas decorations?