Saturday, December 26, 2009

WHO CAN LIVE BEFORE HE IS BORN? -- Devotional for December 26, from "Good Seeds"

But as for you, Bethlehem Ephratha, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity past. (Micah 5:2)

In the mid nineteenth century a man named Joseph Smith came up with a new religion, which claimed to provide closure for some of the unfinished business of the Bible. For example, he taught that the ancient indigenous peoples of the Americas are the lost tribes of Israel (even though DNA tests prove they are Mongoloid, not Semitic). The church of Jesus Christ, in Smith’s opinion, had become weak and ineffective. But with the reestablishment of an Old Testament style priesthood and the provision of a new body of heaven-inspired doctrine it would be revitalized and renewed, attracting millions of enthusiastic saints of in the “Latter Days.” And because they are “good” people – patriotic, community minded, and strong proponents of higher education, family values and biblical morals and ethics, they are viewed by many as just another – if not new and improved – version of the Christian church. But being christian requires more than general goodness. One must believe the Bible concerning God, man, and the world. The person and work of Jesus Christ Himself is the primary issue. And here’s the rub: What the Bible says is unique to the Son of God the Mormons say is characteristic of all “sons of God.” They teach that married couples remain married throughout eternity, and continue having children. Each baby procreated in heaven is a spirit being in need of an earthly body and a family in which to be nurtured. According to this religion the nature of all men is what the Bible teaches is the nature of only one Man, whose “goings forth were from long ago, from the days of eternity past.” Since Christ is fully God He is eternal – there was never a time when He did not exist: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God; the same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1). And so this One who existed before He was born (as Micah prophesied) was incarnated into the human family through the work of the Holy Spirit and the obedience of a humble virgin. On that day long ago, which we call Christmas today, God became man. This is the “old religion” of incarnation, leading to redemption – two miracles making peace between holy God and sinful man. How unfortunate that a “new religion” would take the one-of-a kind “God-becoming-man” and make it an everyday occurrence…and call it an improvement! More than unfortunate, it is tragic – and damning – to make every man a god, removing from him his need for the God-Man, the one Man who could bring him to God!

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