This time of year, many focus on the preparations of Christmas; the lights, the trees, the presents...well especially the presents! Many families prepare for the coming of someone who will come and bring them happiness. You may know I speak of Santa, but I'd much prefer not to. Santa has two lists, and we tell children that if you're naughty, you don't get good gifts, and if you're nice, you get good gifts. In many ways, I understand why this is done, but I think we can do some real damage if we're not careful. Consider, if you will, the true meaning of Christmas, the coming of Christ, who came to reconcile a lost, broken, and rebellious humanity to their Creator. Many people still wander around with this concept of Naughty and Nice, believing it applies to the Creator, if they believe in Him at all. There are two lists. Yet, it isn't about how good or bad you are. When we stand before God, two books will be opened, one containing life, the other containing the deeds of those not covered in the blood of the Lamb. We will be judged by our relationship with Christ, or by our deeds. There is no naughty or nice. There is no good enough before the throne of God, because we all fall miserably short. Yet, by the blood of the Lamb, we are secured in Christ. It is by what He has done, not by what we have done that saves us. Apart from Christ, even our "Good deeds" are in rebellion to God. They are for self-gratification, and subjective to our own standards of goodness. Therefore, all of it, if not done for the glory of God will be burned away. We cannot put our hope in good deeds. We cannot put our hope in works of the flesh. We can put our hope in the One who never fails, grows tired, or changes. Jesus is the same today, as He was yesterday, as He is forever. Stand upon Him and His promises, and you won't have to worry about which list you're on. Mark 17:10-27 (NASB) As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do so that I may inherit eternal life?” But Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not give false testimony, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth.” Looking at him, Jesus showed love to him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But he was deeply dismayed by these words, and he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.
And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus responded again and *said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were even more astonished, and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?” Looking at them, Jesus *said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”