Christ and Him Crucified – April “Tabletalk”

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The above is the fitting theme of this month’s Tabletalk devotional magazine – “Christ and Him Crucified.” And an edifying theological and practical reflection on the death of Christ the issue is.

Editor Burk Parsons gets it started with his passionate introduction titled “Theology of the Cross.” Here is part of what he says about the importance of this doctrine for Christians:

All professing Christians know that the cross is important, but we often fail to grasp the all-encompassing significance of it—that the cross is not only at the heart of our faith, but it encompasses the entire existence of our faith, our life, and our worship. In order for us to possess a proper theology of the cross, the reality of Christ and Him crucified must possess us in all that we believe and in all that we do. The cross should not just be at the top of our theological priority list; it should be at the center of all our theological priorities. If we become bored with the cross of Christ, and if we lose our astonishment of Christ and Him crucified, we will quickly begin to lose the entirety of Christian doctrine and practice.

The other article I point you to tonight is Dr. L. Michael Morales’ (Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary) “Expiation and Propitiation.” Perhaps that does not sound like the most exciting subject, but as he shows, you cannot grasp the meaning of Christ’s saving work by His suffering and death without these two terms. Both are rooted in the Old Testament sacrificial system and if you have never paid attention to these terms, now is a good time to learn them.

Morales’ entire article is profitable, but we quote from the end of it here:

Jesus fulfilled the Levitical system of sacrifice only because He offered Himself up to God on the cross as One who had fulfilled the law. In His tormented night of prayer in Gethsemane He had prayed, “My Father . . . not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39), and then He drank the cup of divine judgment as our blameless substitute. Jesus’ life of complete and loving devotion to God, offered up to the Father by the Spirit and through the cross—this is the assuaging of God’s wrath.

Because Jesus’ suffering was as a vicarious penal substitute, sinners can find rest for their souls. The impending thunderstorm of divine judgment that ever threatens us, overshadowing our vain attempts at happiness, cannot be dispelled by wishful thinking or misguided assertions. A Christian basks securely in the warm rays of the Father’s favor only because that storm of judgment has already broken in the full measure of its fury on the crucified Son of God. His shed blood cleanses us from our sins, removing our guilt from the sight of God. His wholehearted, law-keeping life offered up to God through the cross, even as He bore our penalty, rises to heaven as a pleasing aroma. Here, at last, the chief of sinners finds cause to boast in nothing at all except in the One who “loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:2).

To read this issue online, visit the Tabletalk website and browse the various articles. During this week in which we remember the passion of our Savior, you will feed your soul with good food from this issue.

A Special Standard Bearer and Two Special Interviews on Dordt 400 *(Updated)

Today we feature two items in this post.

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The first is something archive assistant Bob Drnek found today while sorting through two large boxes containing PRC Foreign Mission Committee material (and that will be your only hint as to the source of what is to come). He pulled out copies of three issues of the Standard Bearer, translated in a foreign tongue and published as complete issues (cf. image above).

And, of course, he wondered what language they were in, so he came up and asked. I guessed one of two, based on a little knowledge of our mission history. But I will let you make a guess before revealing it. It was a nice find, and a good addition to our mission archives.

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*UPDATE: The translation is indeed into Burmese (confirmed by John VB of Hope PRC and Rev. J. Laning of the FMC). And the work, as supposed, was that of Rev. Titus, who continues to do some of this for his weekly “Sunday Digest.” Above is a picture of two other issues that he translated.

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The second item we feature today is notice of two special interviews to be held TOMORROW, Wednesday, April 3. Both Prof. Doug Kuiper and Prof. David Engelsma (PRC Seminary) are going to be interviewed on the live Internet program Iron Sharpens Iron.

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Host Chris Arntzen will interview Prof. Kuiper on the subject of his upcoming Dordt400 Conference speech, “The Doctrine of the Covenant in the Canons of Dordt,” while he will interview Prof. Engelsma on the subject of “The Great War: What Led to the Synod of Dordt?” 

These back-to-back interviews will take place Wednesday, April 3, from 4-6 pm (ET). Sounds like something you won’t want to miss!

*UPDATE: The audio file of these interviews are now available at the “Iron Sharpens Iron” website. You can listen to both interviews at this link.

Why Is It So Hard to Pray? March “Tabletalk” on Prayer

Today I started reading the featured articles in the new issue of Tabletalk magazine. The March issue is on prayer – “Key Questions About Prayer” – and the opening article by editor Burk Parsons is a powerful introduction.

I plan to return to this issue again, but for tonight I wanted to follow up yesterday’s post on the new book on Jesus’ prayers with a quote from Parson’s article, “Why Is It So Hard to Pray?”

It’s hard to pray because humbling ourselves, getting over ourselves, and coming to the end of our stubborn and sinful selves is hard. When we pray, we die to self, and death hurts. That’s why our flesh fights so hard against prayer. When we pray, we are entering into real warfare against our flesh and against the flaming arrows of our accuser and his host. Although they are not afraid of us, they are terrified of the One within us and who is for us, and they despise that we are praying to the One who has crushed them and will destroy them.

Moreover, it’s hard to pray because our focus is too often on praying itself and not on God. We learn about prayer not so that we might know a lot of facts about prayer, but so that we might pray with our focus on God. By His sovereign grace, we know Him, and we know He is there and that He not only hears but listens—that He is not silent but that He always answers our prayers and always acts in accord with His perfect will for our ultimate good and for His glory. When we recognize God’s sovereignty in prayer, we are also reminded of His love, grace, holiness, and righteousness, and we are thereby confronted with the harsh reality of our own wretched sin in the light of His glory and grace.

That is good food for our souls as we enter a new work-week. Let’s remember to begin each day at our sovereign Father’s feet, pleading for His grace and Holy Spirit in our battle under the cross of His Son.

To finish reading Parson’s introduction, visit the link above. To read the other brief articles answering various “key questions about prayer,” visit the link below.

Source: Latest Issue – March 2019

The Canons of Dordt and Missions – Rev. D. Kleyn (Feb.15, 2019 “Standard Bearer”)

sb-logo-rfpaThe latest issue of the Standard Bearer (February 15, 2019) is now out and among its ten (10) articles are two on the Canons of Dordt, marking its 400th anniversary.

The first is Part 7 of Prof. Douglas Kuiper’s series “Dordt 400: Memorial Stones,” a year-long tribute to the “great Synod.” This installment treats Dordt’s consideration of “training students for the ministry.” It is another interesting, edifying, and relevant article on the Synod’s work and decisions.

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The second article is the one we feature in this post. It is PRC Missionary-pastor (Philippines) Daniel Kleyn’s second installment on “The Canons of Dordt and Missions.” We pull a section from this fine article, which shows how the Canons teaches that the gospel is to be preached “far and wide.”

Missions is to Preach Promiscuously

More significantly, the Canons of Dordt give an explicit call to the church to do mission work. Among the Three Forms of Unity, the Canons is the only creed to do this. This more than anything else proves the missionary character and missionary usefulness of this creed.

The Canons order the church to go out into the world with the gospel. That order is found in Head II, Article 5, which reads: “Moreover, the promise of the gospel is that whosoever believeth in Christ crucified shall not perish but have everlasting life. This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be declared and published to all nations and to all persons promiscuously and without distinction, to whom God out of His good pleasure sends the gospel.”

Who can deny that this call to missions is in full harmony with the biblical commands concerning missions? Even if no other passages in the Canons either taught or implied anything regarding missions, Head II, Article 5 would be enough to prove that the Canons promote mission work.

The word “promiscuously” is key here. This means the preaching must go far and wide, to every land and nation under heaven. This must be done by the church “without distinction.” God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). The church must not be such in her mission work either.

God’s purpose is that the promiscuous preaching of His Word will be used by Him to bring the elect to a conscious faith in Christ. The church and missionaries do not and cannot know who the elect are. They must, therefore, preach God’s Word to all to whom God gives them opportunity. In this way the elect will hear that Word and will, by the power of the Spirit, be saved.

The Gospel Cure for Dishonor of God and Neighbor

Into our second week of this month, it is time to get acquainted with the February issue of Tabletalk, Ligonier ministry’s monthly devotional magazine. The theme this time is “Honor,” perhaps one we might dismiss lightly; but we ought not, as the twelve special articles developing this theme demonstrate. Those special articles treat such subjects as “What is Honor?”, “Honoring Marriage,” “Honoring Parents,”The Blessing of Honor,” and “What If Honor Is Lost Altogether?”

Burk Parsons gives us a “foretaste” of honor’s importance in his sobering editorial “The Disappearance of Honor.” Here is some of what he has to communicate:

It should not surprise us that many young people are leaving and despising the church when their parents have long dishonored weekly congregational Lord’s Day worship, dishonored their own membership vows to the church, and dishonored their elders, pastors, and fellow congregants. Nor should it surprise us how many who profess faith in Christ have such little regard for the sacred Word of God when so many pastors have exchanged the preaching of the Word of God in season and out of season for watered-down, attractional, sociocultural, pop-psychological anecdotes and stories combined with ear-tickling, emotionalistic entertainment. Such preaching honors only the pastor and not the God of Scripture. Although honor may be rapidly disappearing in the world, we must never let it disappear from our hearts, homes, or churches that we might always honor everyone (1 Peter 2:17) and honor our Lord whose honor will not be mocked.

One of the featured articles I have chosen to highlight in this post is the one by David W. Hall – “Honoring God.” As he shows, this is where all honor begins and ends. Read and reflect on these thoughts, and then read more to strengthen yourself in the duty to “show honor to whom honor is due,” beginning with the Great Sovereign of heaven and earth.

Romans 1:21 vividly depicts what happens when honor disappears. This clear verse is a mirror that shows what honor is and what it is not and how honoring God is tied to our essential moral fabric. Yes, morality begins with theology. Though the dishonorable retain some spiritual sense, Paul, in fleshing out the doctrine of total depravity, lists some of the consequences of dishonoring God, including not giving thanks, becoming “futile in their thinking,” and having “their foolish hearts . . . darkened.”

Note that verse’s three degenerative components. First, not honoring God is compared to not giving thanks. Thanks is the expressed gratitude for another. Honor, thus, is a more comprehensive concept than gratitude. Nonetheless, they are united here. Failing to give God thanks often, sincerely, and regularly reveals that one does not, practically speaking, view God as one’s superior.

A second consequence is that when one fails the “Honor-God-by-Thanking Test,” things neither remain neutral nor improve. Indeed, failing to honor God negatively affects one’s cognition; one’s very thinking becomes futile or dysfunctional. Disobeying God by dishonoring Him leads to systemic deterioration.

Third, not only one’s mind but one’s heart and emotions become blurred, confused, and darkened. Once again, something as basic as honor, if absent, harms our rationality and emotions.

The only cure is found in Romans 1:16. The gospel is the power of God that changes us from self-absorbed egotists into those who want instead to exalt and honor our Sovereign.

Should there be a recovery of honor, we might find increasing order, flowering humility, and revived civility. Maybe, rather than exalting ourselves to be like the Most High (Isa. 14), we can excel in giving honor to those whom we are called to honor—and, above all, to God.

To continue reading this article, visit the link below. To read more in the issue, visit the Tabletalk link above.

Source: Honoring God

The Opening Prayer at the Synod of Dordt (Plus, a Hymn and a Psalm by a Dutch Men’s Choir)

Opnamedatum: 13-11-2012The Fall issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal contains a new translation (the first known complete one) of the prayer offered at the opening session of the great Synod of Dordt on Nov.13, 1618. The prayer was made by local pastor Balthasar Lydius, and the translation is a combined labor of Prof. D. Kuiper (PRC Seminary) and Dr. H. D. Schuringa (former CRC minister and seminary professor at Calvin and Westminster, CA).

Prof. Kuiper gives this historical introduction to the prayer and the nature of the translation:

Balthasar Lydius was a Reformed minister in Dordrecht from 1602-1629, and was delegated by the particular Synod of South Holland to attend the national Synod of Dordt. As the local pastor, two honors fell to him on November 13, 1618: that of preaching a Dutch sermon in the morning before the synod opened, and that of opening the first session of the synod with prayer. He prayed in Latin, in which language all of the business of the Synod was conducted until the foreign delegates were dismissed. Two partial English translations of the prayer have been available for centuries, one of which is based on the memory of some in the audience.  What follows is a new and complete translation, based on the Dutch translation of the prayer in the Acts of the Synod of Dordt. After the translation the reader will find the Dutch original.

The prayer is ornate. It breathes the language of Scripture. Its long sentences include many subordinate phrases and clauses. As is the Dutch custom, in these long sentences the subject is near the beginning and the verb at the end. This translation divides the long sentences into shorter ones so that the English reader today can better understand the prayer, Biblical citations and allusions are footnoted.

For our purposes tonight, we quote the first part of the prayer, encouraging you to read the rest at the link provided above to the PRT Journal. The prayer will give you a new appreciation for the times in which Dordt met, the seriousness of the issues it faced, and the humble dependency on their sovereign Lord the godly men at the synod showed . In addition, the prayer will feed your soul and teach us how to pray – for the present church and for the state under which we now live.

*(Note: In this post I have removed the footnotes, including those added by Dr. Schuringa showing the thoroughly biblical language of Lydius’ prayer. By all means pay attention to these in the original article as published in the Journal.)

Almighty, eternal God, Fountain of all wisdom, goodness and mercy, compassionate Father in Christ! We pray that Thou wilt open our lips so that our mouth may declare Thy praise.

We are unworthy of all Thy mercies which Thou hast bountifully bestowed upon the work and workmanship of Thy hands. Not only hast Thou created us according to Thy image, but also, when we through sin had become by nature the children of wrath, Thou didst recreate us according to Thy image. Since we already are indebted
to Thee because Thou hast created us, how much more do we owe because Thou hast also freely redeemed us?

It is great and marvelous that man was made in Thy image. How much greater it is that He who thought it not robbery to be equal with God made Himself of no reputation, took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in our likeness, who of God was made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption!

Also with these benefits Thou wast not satisfied. We were a people dwelling in the darkness and shadow of death, without hope of salvation, cast off in the unworthiness of our souls, for whom an unknown treasure would be of no use. But Thou hast enlightened us by the revelation of the Sun of righteousness and truth! Without this, we would have perished everlastingly in these errors, not knowing what way we must walk.

The enemy of mankind sowed tares among the wheat while men slept. This darkness gradually gained the upper hand. Yet through the light of the Reformation Thou hast delivered us from a greater darkness than that of Egypt. In these places Thou hast planted Thy vine, whose shadow has covered the mountains and whose branches are the cedars of God.

This prayer was also published in the Nov.1, 2018 issue of the Standard Bearer, the first of two special issues planned for the 400th anniversary of the Synod of Dordt (the second one will appear May 1, 2019, D.V.). These issues will be available online approximately six months after publication.

To this prayer we also add this beautiful and appropriate arrangement of the hymn “Thanks Be to God” sung in Dutch by “Urker Mannenkoor,” a men’s choir from the Netherlands.

And if you enjoyed that one, you will also love this version of Psalm 42 (by combined men’s and women’s choirs):

January 2019 Tabletalk: Commemorating the Synod of Dordt

We are overdue in noting the January 2019 issue of Tabletalk, Ligonier Ministries monthly devotional magazine. This month’s issue is a special one for all Reformed Christians and true Calvinists, for it is a tribute to the 400th anniversary of the great Synod of Dordt (1618-19).

Editor Burk Parsons gives a fine introduction to the theme with his “Five New Points of Old Heresy.” Here are a few of his thoughts:

If indeed we are Christians, we will care what we believe and, therefore, what we confess in our creed, for what we believe is the very basis of whether we are biblically orthodox or whether we’re heretics. The historic Reformed creeds and confessions summarize and systematically articulate what the Word of God teaches us, to the end that we might glorify God and enjoy Him forever. If we care about what we believe, we will care about the historic creeds and confessions of the church, and we will care about what happened in the Netherlands four hundred years ago and how the Reformed church responded.

Tonight we also wish to call attention to the first featured article, which is penned by noted Reformed historian Dr. W. Robert Godfrey. He writes the article linked below, “The Reason for Dort.” He provides a historical overview of the synod and its work, demonstrating why this “great synod” was necessary. That reason was chiefly the false teachings of James Arminius and his followers, known as Arminians, which made a defense of the absolute sovereignty of God and His saving grace so crucial.

We pull a few paragraphs from his article, encouraging you to read the rest at the link below.

The Dutch Calvinists decided that the synod should be more than simply a national synod. They invited representatives from most of the Reformed churches of Europe to attend and to be full voting members of the synod. The result was the greatest and most ecumenical gathering of Reformed churches ever held. (Lest my Presbyterian friends feel that I am slighting the Westminster Assembly, let me remind them that that assembly was not properly a church gathering but a gathering of theologians to advise the English Parliament.)

The Synod of Dort did its work carefully and thoroughly. It met from mid-November 1618 until late May 1619, first hearing the Arminians and then, when they were uncooperative, reading their writings. The greatest accomplishment of the synod was the preparation of what are known as the Canons of Dort. These canons or rulings of Dort respond to the five points of Arminianism. Strictly speaking, Calvinism does not have only five points; rather, it has the many points that one finds in the Belgic Confession or the Westminster Confession of Faith. Calvinism has five answers to the five errors of Arminianism. The canons respond point by point to the Arminian summary presented in 1610. The synod’s first head (or chapter) is on unconditional election. The second head is on limited atonement. The synod combines the third and fourth heads to show that total depravity is maintained only when the necessity of irresistible grace is taught. The fifth head teaches the perseverance of the saints because of the preserving grace of God.

And then, after pointing out some of the synod’s other work, Godfrey ends with this:

The Synod of Dort did outstanding work that is well worth celebrating four hundred years later. It preserved the true teaching of the Bible on salvation and provided in other ways as well for the well-being of the life of the church. The synod fought the good fight to which Jude calls Christians. The fight did lead to a fracture in the church. A small minority left to form the Remonstrant Brotherhood. But as Jude makes clear, such a division is not the fault of the orthodox but the fault of those who oppose the truth (Jude 19). The great accomplishment of the synod was that it kept, taught, and defended our faith, “our common salvation” (v. 3).

Source: The Reason for Dort

Additionally, and related to this, Ligonier will soon be releasing a new work on Dordt by Godfrey. The title is Saving the Reformation: The Pastoral Theology of the Canons of Dort (Reformation Trust, Jan. 2019). This is the publisher’s description:

There has been renewed interest in the five points of Calvinism among many Christians today. But these doctrines are not a product of the twenty-first century. So where did they come from, and why are they so important? Dr. W. Robert Godfrey takes us back to 1618-19 when the Canons of Dort were written in response to a mounting theological assault on Reformed Christianity. Now, for its four-hundredth anniversary, he offers a new translation and pastoral commentary on the canons, equipping the next generation with these God-glorifying truths.

Seeking the City That Continues in 2019

sb-logo-rfpaThe first issue of the Standard Bearer in the new year is now out (Jan.1, 2019) and the opening meditation by emeritus PRC pastor Rev. James Slopsema contains many good thoughts for us as we stand at the beginning of this new year of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The meditation is based on Heb.13:13-14, which reads, “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”

Among Rev. Slopsema’s profitable words of exposition are these:

Here we have no continuing city, but seek one to come.

To seek something speaks of an earnest desire for something. It also implies that one does all in his power to attain the thing that he desires.

So also we seek the continuing city that is to come.

The “we” includes all the true seed of Abraham that have the same faith as Abraham.

The fact that the true believer seeks the heavenly city of God arises out of his faith.

Faith does not seek the things here below but the things that are above. That is, faith is not interested especially in things earthly and physical – earthly riches, pleasures, position, power, and so on. Faith is interested in the things that are eternal – the continuing city that God has reserved for His people in Jesus Christ with all its spiritual riches and pleasures. Faith is interested in the earthly only in so far as it is necessary to serve the Lord God and enjoy a foretaste of the eternal riches that are to come.

And so the believer is one that seeks the continuing city that is to come.

And this truth leads him to make this final application in terms of our calling in 2019:

This seeking of the eternal city of God must control our lives for the New Year and for every year the Lord gives us during our earthly pilgrimage.

Interestingly, what is stated as a fact in this passage for the true believer is also given as an admonition in other passages, although using different language.

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (Col 3:1-2)

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt 6:31-33)

The necessity of these admonitions is the sad fact that the believer in weakness of faith does not always seek the things that are heavenly and eternal but the things here below. His desires are too much earthly and not enough heavenly. He becomes distracted by the things that perish, losing sight of the things that continue. This also hinders him from going outside the camp to be sanctified in the blood of the Lamb.

Let us this year and every year that remains live in the faith of our spiritual father Abraham who looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

WORLD’s Top 25 articles for 2018 – WORLD

As we near the end of the year of our Lord 2018, it is good to reflect on all that has transpired according to the sovereign plan and providence of our almighty God in this year. That, after all, is what we believe all the events of history are – the unfolding of our God’s perfect plan through His mighty providential hand. And, we also add this, that all these events of history – of 2018 too – are for the salvation of Christ’s church and the good of His redeemed and renewed people.

Many news sources produce year-end summaries of the year’s major stories, which are useful in helping us to reflect on the more significant events of the year. World Magazine (a Christian news source) has also produced its summary of the major stories it reported online throughout 2018. It included this list of 25 items today as part of its “Saturday Series” (which often feature books, writing, reading), and I thought it worth your while to point you to it here.

What follows here is the little blurb that introduced the list; after that I post here the last five news items (which were published at the “top” of the list on their website).

In 2018, WORLD’s online readers were drawn to major cover stories and timely features from the magazine, daily news reports from The Sift, and insightful Saturday Series essays. But issues related to marriage, family, and sexuality were often foremost in the minds of our readers this past year, as the website’s weekly Relations roundup makes multiple appearances in our countdown of the 25 articles that grabbed your attention the most.

25. A long way from home

Before getting lost in a cave, Adul Sam-on found direction for his future at a Thai church and school

by Angela Lu Fulton
July 13 | WORLD Magazine | Features

24. Moody Bible Institute leaders resign amid turmoil

Moody Bible Institute announced Wednesday the resignation of President J. Paul Nyquist and Chief Operating Officer Steve Mogck amid ongoing turmoil following staffing cuts

by Leigh Jones
Jan. 11 | WORLD Digital | The Sift

23. Willow Creek elders respond to new Hybels accusations

The elders of Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago said in a letter Saturday they could have done a better job holding former Senior Pastor Bill Hybels accountable for inappropriate behavior toward women

by Lynde Langdon
April 23 | WORLD Digital | The Sift

22. Facing cultural storms

Six trends that are rapidly reshaping the lives of American Christians

by John S. Dickerson
Nov. 24 | WORLD Digital | Saturday Series

21. Turkey seeks life sentence for U.S. pastor

Turkish prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for a U.S. pastor accused of participating in the 2016 coup that attempted to oust Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

by Leigh Jones
March 13 | WORLD Digital | The Sift

Find the other 20 top stories at the link below.

Source: WORLD’s Top 25 articles for 2018 – Media – WORLD

Christmas in His Fear – John A. Heys

…When we celebrate Christmas In His Fear then we go to Him and praise Him for the gift of all gifts that He has given us. We go to Him in prayer. We go to Him in His house of worship. We acknowledge this great and glorious gift and do not hide it from ourselves and from our children by a host of worldly, material gifts that we give and receive from men. When we celebrate Christmas In His Fear, Christ and the loves of God in sending Him to be our Savior occupies the central part of our celebration; and the greater part of our activity on that day revolves about Him. When we celebrate Christmas in His fear we gather in all humility and joy before His feet to be taught by Him anew and more richly the glorious truths of the birth of His Son.

And he who truly celebrates Christmas in His fear will not be able to hold back his songs of praise to God. With the holy angels he shall sing: Glory to God in the highest. He will sing of the true peace that God has wrought in this Son for those who are the men of His good pleasure and will glorify Him for it. And as the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God and telling all whom they met what they had seen and heard, the covenant parent will also want to have the day filled with such praise and glory to God by his children and will take them along to God’s house of worship that they too may hear of all this wonder of God’s grace.

Christmas celebration In His Fear is celebration before His face. It is celebration in the consciousness that He accomplished all these things that the Church of Christ might live before His face in everlasting glory. And it is celebration that responds to that glorious truth.

…On Christmas we celebrate the birth of one infinitely greater and more worthy of our praise and adoration. And He lives and sees and knows what we do to celebrate the day of His coming into our flesh. Celebration In His Fear, therefore, is celebration as before His face and in love to Him.

You need not purchase a “Christmas” tree to honor and praise Him. He does not ask you to spend a tidy sum of money for tinsel and a string of light bulbs of various colors. He demanded of Israel that to celebrate the glorious deliverance from the house of the bondage of sin and death they eat the roast flesh of a lamb. But He does not demand you and me to procure a turkey or chicken to observe the day of His birth. In fact you cannot celebrate His birth by these things ! They have absolutely nothing to do with His birth. In fact that abject poverty into which He came in the stable, in the lowly manger, outside the inn militates against all this gaudy and vulgar display of an event so sublime and heavenly.

He does call us to unfurl the banner of the truth; to meet with His people in His house of worship to hear what He has to say; to sing praises to Him.

He calls us to listen to Him and to make all our celebration subservient to it and not to gifts, toys and meals.

He calls us to believe what He says of Himself; to rejoice in it because of faith and with the angels to sing of the glory of God.

He calls us to bow in childlike reverence before Him in the adoration of love.

In His Fear keep Christ in Christmas.

Keep Him there all day.

This gem from the past may be found in the December 15, 1955 issue of the Standard Bearer, and was written by John A. Heys, then minister of the Word in Hope PRC (Walker, MI). It was penned for the rubric “In His Fear,” hence its title and theme. It is even more applicable 63 years later.

Source: Christmas in His Fear