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December 24, 2007

“THE CHRISTMAS STORY”

by Professor Robert J. Barth

“THE CHRISTMAS STORY”

The Bible tells us that God created the heavens and the earth, and that He is the source of all life.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1).

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein (Psalm 24:1).

And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist (Colossians 1:17).

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).

As Creator, God established spiritual laws, as well as the physical lawsHe is a holy and righteous God who created man to have fellowship with Him. But God gives each of us the choice to love Him by obedience or to reject Him by rebelling and following our own ways.

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully (Psalm 24:3-4).

Who shall abide in thy tabernacle?  Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?  He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart (Psalm 15:1-2).

Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and, as a result, we all have the nature that is inclined to do wrong.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know?  I the Lord search the heart; I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings (Jeremiah 17:9-10).

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear (Isaiah 59:2).

But God, in His mercy, gave us specific instructions and commandments so that we would know how we should live.

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24).

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple (Psalm 19:7).

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16).

God has made His will known to us through His law, and Jesus summarized the law of God by saying:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment (Matthew: 22:37-38).

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:39-40).

But none of us can perfectly keep God’s law and therefore we are all sinners deserving of eternal punishment.

For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10).

To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin (James 4:17).

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (I John 1:8).

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

Because of our sins, each of us stands condemned before God. Only if we have faith in Jesus Christ, who shed His blood to pay the penalty for our sins, will we go to heaven.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).

He that believeth on the Son hath life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36).

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord(Romans 6:23).

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8).

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6).

That is why we rejoice this season:  God took the punishment for our sins upon Himself.  God made it possible, through faith in Jesus, to know Him personally and have fellowship with Him through the Holy Spirit.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over the flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (Luke 2:8-14).

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

The birth of Jesus is a fact of history, but what does He mean to you?  Is He your Messiah, your Christ, your Savior?

For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16-17).

If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:9-10).

And this is life eternal, that they might know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent(John 17:3).

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved (Acts 16:31).

Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be save (Acts 4:12).

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:21).

If you know Jesus as Lord, you can rejoice this Christmas season in the rich salvation He has provided.  If you have never opened your heart to Jesus, put your faith in Him.  Trust in Him as your Savior from the wrath of God.  Enter into the Kingdom of God by His grace.  We celebrate the birth of Jesus as Savior, and look forward to His return as King.

JOY TO THE WORLD”

(first)

Joy to the world! The Lord is come; Let earth receive her King;

Let every heart prepare Him room, And heaven and nature sing,

And heaven and nature sing,

And heaven and heaven and nature sing.

(second)

Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns; Let men their songs employ

While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains, Repeat the sounding joy

Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

(fourth)

He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove

The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love,

And wonders of His love,

And wonders, wonders of His love.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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About the Author

Professor Robert J. Barth
A graduate of the University of Illinois (B.S. 1976), Professor Robert J. Barth received his Juris Doctor from Southern Illinois University School of Law in 1979. He received his Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Regent University in 1986. From 1986 to 1995, Professor Barth was associated with Regent University School of Law in several capacities, including assistant dean for academic and student affairs, and editor of the Journal of Christian Jurisprudence. He has written several articles, and as the director for academic programs, he has authored Oak Brook College’s book, Renewing Your Mind as You Study Law.

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