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The Santa "Clause"

The Santa Clause
    I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. Galatians 2:21 (NKJV)
    What if you were a professional athlete and your whole career was determined by the last play that you made. You had a pretty good career, but the last game wasnt so good, and you were now to be judged by this. What if you played as good as any player in the league throughout your career, but you were not allowed in the Hall of fame because of that last game? What a stressful way to try and perform.
    And yet, many people live their entire Christian lives in just this same way. Theyre always in fear in their minds of not making it to Heaven because of the constant failures in their life. Still others are confident that they will make it in because they do so much good compared to, the bad things in their own life or even other peoples lives, that surely God would welcome them in with open arms.
    In the Old Testament times, the Hebrews celebrated The Day of Atonement, Yam Kippur once a year to account for their sin. As they would bring a couple of goats to the priest in the temple, one goat would have all the sins of the nation placed upon it, and it would be set free. This goat was called a scapegoat. The other would be sacrificed and the blood of this goat would be sprinkled on the Mercy Seat, which sat atop of the Ark of the Covenant.
    But today in our times the Day of Atonement is no longer that day of great sacrifice. But the Day of Atonement is the day of reflection where you sit and reflect over the past year over the work that you have done in the previous year.
    So instead of bringing a sacrifice for atonement, they reconcile within themselves whether they did more good works verses their bad deeds. Usually, they will spend the entire week prior to this day attempting to stack the deck with good deeds so that they can feel good about tipping the scale to their favor.
    Again, many Christians do the same thing in an attempt to make it into Heaven. They live their lives, and as they get older, they attempt to be a better person so that they, too, will hopefully be given access into Heave. It makes me think of the Christmas story about Santa Clause coming to town. You know the song: Hes making a list, Hes checking it twice; hes going to find out whose been naughty or nice. Santa Clause is coming to town.
    We need to remember, that there is nothing that we can do to earn our entrance into heaven. There is no work that will be added to something else, to make a certain combination that earns enough favor to gain entrance. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells it straight up:
    For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
    We have been saved by grace, and that is unearned, unmerited, favor. And this grace works because we have faith in who Jesus is, and what He did upon the cross. It is the propitiation of His blood that paid for our transgressions and sin. Even the faith was given to us as a gift, so that we could not boast about how we did something to earn it.
    For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, Romans 4:2-5 (NKJV)
    Let me remind you Christian, we dont have to work our way to heaven; we have been justified (declared not guilty), because of our faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We believe that He died on the Cross, and we believe that He was resurrected to life.
    We dont go to church 3-times a week, and fast once a month to earn the favor of God. We should go to church, and fast, because we know what He did for us, and we want to get to know Him better; we want to serve Him. And we do it gladly with a happy heart, laying our life down to serve others while sharing the Gospel with them. And we do this because He first loved us, and He laid down His life for us. And we now just want to imitate him (Eph. 5:1), and love others in the same way.
    I want to encourage you to have a close and personal relationship with a living God who came and died for you so that you could have that relationship with Him. Lets get rid of the Santa-Clause, that we have been living with, and replace that with our Savior.
    STUDY QUESTION: What does Ephesians 2:8-9 say about our salvation?
    PERSONAL INVENTORY: Have you found yourself buying into that lie that you need to work your way to heaven by doing more good than bad?
    APPLICATION: Remember, that Jesus did everything that needed to be done on that Cross of Calvary. That is why he said, It is finished.
    Father, Thank You for allowing Your Son to die for my sin. I confess my sin and I accept His payment for it. Help me to live a life that is according to Your perfect will. Help me to abide in You so that You will abide in me. In Jesus precious name, amen&
    Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000