“A God who was only holy . . . would have simply demanded that we pull ourselves together, that we be moral and holy enough to merit a relationship with him. A deity that was an ‘all-accepting God of love’ . . . would have just overlooked sin and embraced us. Neither the God of moralism or relativism would have bothered with Christmas.”- Timothy Keller
As Timothy Keller moves on in Chapter 3 of Hidden Christmas, he stresses that the claim that Jesus is God give us the greatest of all possible hope. Certainly, this hope includes the world, despite all its unending problems. But it also includes hope for us, despite our unending failings.
In addition, Pastor Keller stresses, the doctrine of the incarnation breaks through all the binary arguments of philosophers and other religions. Because ‘Immanuel’ means the ideal has become real, the absolute has become a particular.
So, the author asks, what difference does the incarnation make to the way we actually live? First, it means that Christians must never get starry-eyed about glamour. Or turn into snobs or make it a goal to climb the social ladder. Hence, J. J. Packer writes in Knowing God:
“The Christmas spirit does not shine out in the Christian snob. For the Christmas spirit is the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor — spending and being spent — to enrich their fellow humans, giving time, trouble, care and concern, to the good of others — and not just their own friends — in whatever way there seems need.”
In conclusion, Pastor Keller underscores, Jesus possesses an infinite power to comfort. Therefore, Christianity shows us a God unlike the god of any other faith. We trust God, because He know our suffering and darkness. Above all, His power comforts, strengthens, and brings us through.
Today’s question: Have you ever viewed God as the God or moralism or relativism? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Firestorm or whirlwind – or baby?”