God Is Not Santa

Santa Claus

Tis the season to give and receive gifts.

For many, gift giving is acquainted with the jolly old fat guy in the red and white suit: Santa.

But is it really fair to call what Santa gives, gifts?

As the old song goes:  “He sees you when your sleeping.  He knows when you’re awake.  He knows when you’ve been bad or good.  So be good for goodness sake!”  “He’s making a list.  He’s checking it twice.  He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.”  If you’re nice, you get presents.  If you’re naughty, well, not so much.

This is how millions of kids grow up, equating a “gift” as a reward for good behavior.

But that’s not a gift.  A true gift has nothing to do with whether you’re naughty or nice, bad or good.  A true gift is not earned and has nothing to do with the gift recipient, but rather everything to do with the gift giver.

This is why this is important to talk about.  We have to have a right understanding of the word “gift”.  Why?  Because God uses the word gift numerous times in the scriptures.  God is a gift giver.  But he’s no Santa.  His gifts are not earned.

The Gift Of God’s Son

The greatest gift of all is the gift we celebrate every Christmas: the gift of God’s son.  But what does the gift of God’s son teach us?  It reiterates the true meaning of a gift.  Those who receive the gift of God’s son Jesus, have no good thing in them meriting the gift. (Rom 3:11-12)  There is nothing in them that draws him to them.  They don’t work for this gift. (Rom 4:4)  God justifies the ungodly, not the godly. (Rom 4:5)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)  Grace by it’s very definition is undeserved forgiving love.  Paul says it plainly that “if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” (Rom 11:6)  You can’t earn a gift and call it grace.  At any given point that a gift is earned, it ceases to be a gift.

God is not Santa

Like Santa, God sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake. (Ps 139:1-2)  But unlike Santa, he gives gifts to naughty, arrogant, wicked people like you and me.  This is the good news of the gospel!  God didn’t die for good people.  He died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:6-7)  “God show’s his love for us in that while we were sill sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8)

Like Santa, God had a “naughty list”, but unlike Santa, God nailed it to a cross, cancelling the record of debt that stood against us. (Col 2:14)

Like Santa, God has a chair that he sits on where we can meet with him, but unlike Santa, his chair is called “grace” and we can approach it, even though we’ve been bad, without him asking us if we’ve been good.  We can come like a child, and sit on his lap with confidence “that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. (Heb 4:16)

This Christmas

This Christmas, consider whether you truly view the salvation that Jesus paid for as a gift, or whether you are somehow cheapening his gift and your response by futile attempts at self righteousness, earned acceptance, and counterfeit religious security, in a self-made Santa-Jesus.

God Is Not Santa Sermon Audio

14 Reasons Gender Roles Are Important

man & woman

The bible teaches that men and women have equal value but different roles. Here’s why it’s important for you to know your specific role as a man or a woman:

1) Relevance

Everyone is male or female.

2) Satan Took Over Through Role Distortion

Sin entered the world through Adam’s abdication of his role to lead and fight for his wife. (Rom 5:12)  In the leadership vacuum created by Adam, Eve, deceived by Satan (1 Tim 2:14), stepped outside of her God given role into Adam’s, leading Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. (Gen 3:6)

See Also: “What Was The First Sin? Hint: It Wasn’t Eating Fruit

3) God Creates Distinction For A Purpose

God doesn’t create things haphazardly. His creation of two distinctly different genders implies the existence of two distinctly different purposes for each gender.  Knowing correct masculine and feminine gender roles creates the possibility of fulfilling God’s specific purpose in creating the distinctive differences.

4) The Image Of God

Gen 1:27 speaks specifically of our gender imaging God: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Masculinity and femininity distinctly image God in different ways.  It is therefore essential that we correctly walk out our specific gender roles, in order to present an accurate image of God.

5) God’s Will And Ways

The bible tells of God having a will (what he wants), and ways (the way he wants his will done). He was angry with the Israelites for not knowing his ways (Heb 3:10). It’s important not only to do what God wants, but to do what he wants, in the way he wants it.

6) Christ And The Church

Marriage is supposed to show everyone how Christ loves his church. (Eph 5:22-33)  An accurate display of this beautiful picture is dependent on husbands and wives fulfilling their distinct roles in the relationship.  The message of Christ’s love for his church is lost when husbands and wives abdicate or distort their distinctive roles in marriage.

7) Family And Children

Fathers and mothers have different roles in marriage and in raising their kids.  How they walk out their roles has significant impact on their children and how they turn out.

8) Authority And Responsibility

Authority comes from taking responsibility. If you don’t know your responsibility as a man or a woman, then you can’t walk in your God given authority.

9) Confusion And Confidence

Confusion over gender roles causes a lack of confidence in our manhood or womanhood.  Not knowing what I’m supposed to do as a man or woman, prevents me from knowing whether or not I’m actually doing what I’m supposed to do.  And if I don’t know whether I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, I can’t walk in confidence.

10) Erosion Of Scripture’s Authority

The means of scripture interpretation used to arrive at the conclusion that there are no unique leadership roles for men in marriage and the church, is a dangerous path towards theological liberalism and the erosion of the authority of scripture.

11) To Prevent The Word Of God From Being Reviled

Titus 2:5 lists specific roles for a woman so “that the word of God may not be reviled”.

12) For The Angels

The bible says that one of the reasons for the outward distinction between men and women is for the angels (1 Cor 11:10).  There’s a cosmic purpose in gender distinction.

13) Abuse And Overreaction

One of the reasons the topic of gender roles can be so sensitive to some is because of all the abuse and overreaction that’s taken place. Cowardly, chauvinistic men have been abusing women for centuries, causing the inevitable overreaction to feminism. Knowing correct masculine and feminine gender roles keeps people from accepting abuse and overreaction.

14) The Created Order

The majority of scriptures that inform the roles of men and women are either found in Genesis chapters 1-3 or point back to those chapters.  This is important, because having these roles rooted in the created order means that biblical gender roles are not cultural, but rather part of God’s original intent for creation as revealed from the very beginning, in a setting untarnished by sin.