Friday, December 11, 2009

Creation & a Christmas Consecration

Creation in a Carol
Adam’s likeness now efface, Stamp Thine image in its place. Second Adam from above, reinstate us in Thy love...
(Hark the Herald Angels Sing)

The celebration of Christmas hinges fully on the Biblical truth that the Creator stepped into His creation.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:1, 14)

Jesus, as God and Creator of the universe, came to earth in human flesh. He entered His Own universe of time, space, and matter as a tiny, vulnerable baby. Why? He did so out of pure love for the creation that He had made, for mankind, the only creature that was made in His image with a free will to choose good or evil. We read in Genesis that mankind chose evil in what is referred to as ”the Fall.” This choice brought perfect punishment from the perfect God of creation: judgment that included disease, destruction, and death. However, the Creator already had a plan to make all things new. He would come to earth to pay for man’s sin debt and to make right all of the wrong that he had brought upon himself through his sin. It is because of Christmas that all evil can be made right. What was broken by the “Fall” of Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden when they introduced evil into God's "very good" universe, can and will be completely justified through the work of Christ the Creator on the cross of Calvary!

“For as in Adam all die…” (1 Corinthians 15:22)
Evil is evident everywhere. The massacres of Columbine, Virginia Tech, 9/11, the Holocaust, or abortion, along with other evils like sodomy (homosexuality), rape, adultery, divorce, infanticide, euthanasia, thievery, bribery, greed, lust, deception and much more are results of the Biblical origin of evil. Lucifer rebelled against God in seeking to "be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:14). He, along with a third of the angelic host who followed him, was cast down to earth where he tempted Adam & Eve in the form of a serpent.

“Yea, hath God said…?” (Genesis 3:1)

Adam listened to his wife. Though Eve was deceived firsthand and not held totally accountable, Adam as head of the human race with full responsibility was completely aware of his choice to rebel against His Creator.

”And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Timothy 2:14)

Today, we see the results of what transpired in Eden. Though all sin will be judged in light of the perfect and holy Creator, mankind can now be free! He can be a “new creation” in Christ! Though we have sinned (due to the sin nature we all received from the Fall), we can now be completely forgiven--made righteous though we are unrighteous! THIS is the message of Christmas…that Adam’s likeness might be effaced (wiped away), and HIS IMAGE stamped in its place! Hallelujah! The image marred by Adam’s rebellion can ONLY be restored by complete faith and trust in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection for sin.

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22)

The evil in the world has been conquered…in Christ! The choice is now up to each individual as to whether they will accept Christ’s payment, or go their own way. What will you choose, the way of Adam (rebellion), or the way of Christ (obedience)?

Corruption from Confusion
“No wonder that Brigadier General F. D. Frost stated, ‘There is no doubt…that the doctrine of evolution is the greatest curse in our educational system‘…. This philosophy seeks to…reduce man to the level of animal nature…. The surging unrest, the broken homes, the increasing divorce cases, the multiplied…criminals are but the inevitable outcome of the acceptance and practice of…evolutionary doctrine.” (H. Enock, Evolution or Creation; 1966, pp. 1146-1147)

An idea that man is nothing more than a highly evolved animal would be devastating to the commitment of marriage. While some creatures mate for life, others live in groups or can even change sex. Do humans fit into one of these categories simply because they think they can or because they have ability to choose their physical relationships?

An idea that some humans are ‘born’ desiring others of the same sex for ‘marital relations’ is only one outward indication of man's innate propensity to do that which is contrary to the design of his Creator. This propensity to evil is revealed to us in the Record--the Bible--and has been shown in human behavior through the ages.

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

Those who choose to live contrary to the design of their Maker find themselves facing great spiritual, emotional, or physical heartache. Some think that they were ‘made’ to desire their same gender for marital relations, and believe this, in part, because of false science such as the “Kinsey reports.” These "studies" wrongly used cadavers and children to "prove" a point about sexuality. Because the cadavers had a slightly smaller portion of the brain of “gay” men, it was touted that the men were "born gay"! However, such findings were skewed. It isn't that the brains were the CAUSE of their behavior; it was the RESULT of their lifestyle! The corrupted studies on the children are too graphic to describe, but they essentially involved sexual abuse against even babies!

The confusion wrought by evolutionary concepts extends far outside the classroom to the culture. The crime we see prevalent today, along with the breakdown of the family, can easily be tied to the idea that there is no moral absolute found in an ultimate Law Giver: God. Hence, men are free to do as they choose with no One higher than themselves to tell them what is right and wrong. In no other aspect of society is this worldview so clearly seen than in marriage and the home.

A Christmas Commitment
“Now the birth of Jesus was on this wise…as his mother…was espoused to Joseph….”

Mary had been committed to Joseph in a culture that afforded protections to marriage not generally seen in modern times. The closest idea today is the practice of engagement. The espousal agreement of Biblical times was a legal agreement that could only be dissolved certain purposes. This is why Joseph was “minded to put her away (divorce) privily” after he discovered that Mary was with child. There was only one way that she could have a child before marriage and that was through immorality. However, God sent an angel to affirm to Joseph that this was not a cause for divorce, but that it was a miracle of God!

It is clear from Scripture that this Baby was miraculous, as God chose to record for us the fact that Mary was with child “before they came together“ and that He was “of the Holy Ghost.” He also had the writer include the fact that the angel Gabriel said to Joseph,

“…fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife…” (Matthew 1:20)

This phrase means that Joseph and Mary were already husband and wife and that the espousal agreement was equivalent to marriage. The only difference is that they had not yet “come together” into the physical relationship of marriage. It bears repeating here that there is nothing in modern American culture that is equivalent to this ancient concept. While many think that divorce or remarriage is acceptable with God, they are sadly mistaken. In His Word, He tells us that He “hates” divorce:

For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away (or, divorce): for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. (Malachi 2:16)

We also read in Genesis of the design of God for Adam & Eve as He brought them together as husband and wife to be “one flesh.” This creation account communicates three basic concepts:
1. That God made humans special and very different from animals.
2. That He designed them as a man and a woman, different from but made for each other.
3. That He designed them to be “one flesh,” i.e., in a permanent relationship.

What if Joseph had “put away” Mary? He certainly had a legal right to do so. If so, this would have been the end of the Christmas story! But he didn’t, and we now have the beautiful account that we celebrate each year! Joseph’s obedience to God and faithfulness to his wife, Mary, is critical to Christmas!

Like Joseph, Jesus has every right to bring against us just and legal proceedings because of our sin against the Creator, sin for which we must suffer the punishment of a literal, eternal, and fiery hell. Does He? No! Instead, He willingly gave Himself for us. He came to this world full of evil and gave His life in ransom for ours! Hallelujah, what a Savior!

The message in the Christmas account is clear: be consecrated to God and to your spouse! How?
1. Realize that our bodies do not belong to us.
1 Corinthians 6:19 “…your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost…and ye are not your own?”
2. Realize that relationships (marriage, dating, boyfriend/girlfriend) are not to please ourselves. Rather, they are for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 “…do all to the glory of God.”
3. Realize that marriages are solemn vows for life and that God hates divorce.
Malachi 2:16 “For the LORD…hateth putting away….”
4. Realize that any steps leading to divorce are contrary to the design of God.
Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seemeth right…but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

This Christmas, what can we give to God? Does He need anything? No. The best thing we can do for Christ on HIS birthday is to consecrate ourselves to Him afresh and anew, and to commit ourselves to HIS design in creation...keeping faithful to God and to our mates.

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