Posted by: SandreS | December 23, 2015

“You’d Better Watch Out …”

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And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables (II Timothy 4:4).

Sadly, much of what we think we know about God does not really come from the Scriptures. A lot of it comes from fables and fairy tales. Not that there is particularly anything wrong with fables and fairy tales, but they are a very bad place to obtain doctrine. We can’t learn truth from them, especially any truth about God.

For example, it would appear that the god of religion is a lot like Santa Claus. Much of what we think we know about the true and living God actually mirrors the myth of Old Saint Nick. Maybe our adult views of God are carryovers from our childhood exposure to Father Christmas.

Acceptance

Christianity’s view of acceptance with God is like acceptance with Santa. Listen to this line from the song Santa Claus is Coming to Town,

He’s making a list and checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty or nice …

Santa is the performance-based-acceptance-god. “He’s making a list” – He’s keeping a record of your behavior with his all-knowing eye that he keeps on you; and you’d better be “nice,” or else! In other words, your behavior is what your relationship with Santa is all about – what it is based on. One must be “nice” to be accepted by him. Acceptance is based on personal performance: after all, one does not want to receive “cinders and ashes” when he comes to town.

To be accepted in Santa’s sight we must be diligent all year before his ever-watchful eye. He is “making a list and checking it twice.” He is keeping an eye on you! Does this sound familiar? This is actually religion’s view of God! Religion’s god is based upon the “Gospel of Kris Kringle.”

Interest and Involvement

Santa is also the god-from-a-distance. He keeps his remote-eye on you for 364 days a year. It is not a watchful eye of care and concern, but one to keep record of your every move – whether you’re being good or bad – “so be good, for goodness sake!”

Then he only visits you one night a year, and then only while you’re asleep. You can send him a letter to the North Pole and let your requests be made known to him, but he probably will not care enough to answer you. You can also go down to his house at the Mall, when he is in session, with a bunch of other people and see if you can have an audience with him, to get on his good-side. Other than that, he stands aloof and detached from your world, not really having any interest – past “naughty or nice” – in the details of your life, and is certainly not involved in your daily life. This again is religion’s distorted view of God! Religion’s god is based upon a Saint Nicholas-kind-of-gospel.

Papa Noel may be appropriate for pagan winter festivals, but he will not do as a mirror for the true and living God of the universe! God the Father is not aloof and distant, for in Him the world lives and moves and has its being (Acts 17:28), and He is not crediting their sins to them (II Corinthians 5:19). Neither does He accept us based upon our performance. We have been “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6), and are ourselves the “beloved of God” (Romans 1:7). He loves us as dearly as He loves the Son, and His love for us never fails (I Corinthians 13:8)!

“You’d better watch out”??? This is not the message of the “God of all grace” (I Peter 5:10). In fact, it is He Who is “watching out” – for you, “for He cares for you” (I Peter 5:7) – and He cares for you even when you are bad.

He is kind unto the unfaithful and to the evil (Luke 6:35).

Stop getting your gospel from the North Pole. It’s a really bad version!

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.

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