Christmas is not a word you will find in the Bible. But Christmas is all about the essential, core message of the Bible, which is that God sent Jesus to save humans.
You may not think “theology” when you hear the word “Christmas,” but taking a closer look at the theological implications of what we celebrate during Christmas will reveal how important the virgin birth of Christ really is to the whole of Christianity.
Gifts, trees, spending time with family, going to church, and singing certain songs are all things we love about the Christmas season. But when we look at what God accomplished through Christmas, especially in relationship to the virgin birth, we will not only love Christmas more but we will love Christ more for all that he’s done for us.
Man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty are often seen as opponents. But within the Bible, these two go hand in hand. The Bible does not try to explain how these two can coexist without violating one another. The Bible simply explains how man’s responsibility is directly tied to God’s sovereignty.
Problems arise amongst Christians as we discuss the relationship between man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty when we begin to put emphasis on truths that the Bible does not place emphasis on.
1 John 3:1
Why did God create us?
Well of course anytime you ask a question that starts with, “Why does God . . . ?” you can always answer it with the right theological answer, “For his glory.” Everything God does, he always does for his glory.
But how did creating humans bring God glory? To answer that, we need to remember what the glory of God really is. In short, one basic definition of the glory of God is when the invisible qualities of God are made visible or knowable.
With this definition, it’s not hard to connect the dots: If God is glorified through making his qualities visible, he would then glorify himself by making beings in his image. Because we bear God’s image (Genesis 1:27), we thus glorify God (Isaiah 43:7). Sin has marred this image, and thus the more we sin the more we “fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The more we are sanctified and remade into the image of his Son, the more we glorify God as he originally intended (Romans 8:29-30).
But I’ve talked about all that before. Let’s take this a step further. How else did creating humans reveal God?
God revealed his love and fullness through creating humans just as a healthy marriage reveals its love and fullness through producing children. Let’s dig deeper into this idea.
Agreeing on one definition and explanation regarding the sovereignty of God is not going to happen amongst all Christians.
An Arminian and a Calvinist or a Charismatic Christian and Reformed Christian are simply not going to agree on the finer parts of theology, though we should all be united around the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is one biblical truth, but in our sinfulness and limited knowledge, humans will always struggle with grasping God’s Scriptures perfectly, especially when it comes to difficult doctrines like the sovereignty of God.
While agreeing on all the finer points of how God’s sovereignty actually operates is impossible amongst different theological camps, a slightly easier task should be agreeing on a right response to the sovereignty of God. While the Bible is certainly the place to look if you want to form doctrines and beliefs, it is also the place to look when we need to know how to live and actually serve God with our actions.
The Bible not only teaches us about the sovereignty of God and what it is, perhaps more importantly, it also teaches us how to rightly respond to God’s omnipotence.
So here are 4 of the most common ways to rightly and wrongly respond to the sovereignty of God.
“And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. 14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— 15 for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.” –Deuteronomy 6:10-15
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” -Romans 6:1-2
Psalm 103:11, Isaiah 55:9
Why can’t we understand God completely?
It would be a great travesty if we were able to understand God completely.
Life is more than confusing. With all its twists and turns and movements without knowing where we are headed, it is no surprise that at times we wish we could fully understand what God is doing in our lives. If only we could know what he is up to, we reason, then we would be able to trust his love for us.
Matthew 16:21, Acts 2:23-24
God reveals his power in many ways, but one of those ways is by prophesying what’s going to happen and using specific numbers repeatedly, such as the number three.
Biblical Numerology is the study of numbers in the Bible. Many times when we start studying numbers in the Bible, we get off track because it often times requires us to make inferences at the meaning of these numbers. Most times the Bible does not explain why certain numbers are used in certain situations.
So when studying the numbers mentioned in the Bible, like the number three, we must be careful to only draw conclusions that are obvious and supported by other parts of Scripture.
Genesis 1:26, Deuteronomy 6:4, Matthew 28:19
Why is the Trinity so confusing?
It is perhaps the most important doctrine in all of Christianity. And the Trinity is probably the most confusing doctrine as well. God is one, and God is three. It sounds like a really hard math problem. But God is not an equation to be figured out, but rather our Lord to be loved, enjoyed, and obeyed.
Genesis 1:27, Isaiah 48:11
In the six days of creation, there is clearly a progression of intricacy happening. God starts general, making light, and then gets more detailed, finally making man.
It was a progression in revealing his own glory, for the glory of God is the visible manifestation of God’s beauty and character. When you see some intangible quality of God in a tangible way, it’s called “the glory of God.” That’s why, for example, when God would reveal himself in the Old Testament to the Israelites in a cloud or in fire it says the “glory of God” would appear (Exodus 24:15-18).
When answering questions like “What does the bible say about those who have never heard the gospel?” or “How could God send people to hell if they’ve never heard the name of Jesus?” or even “How can a loving God send people to hell at all?” it’s impossible not to take a logical, textual approach.
The problem with that is these questions are wrapped up with all kinds of emotions, and rightfully so. Something is wrong if you are a Christian and you flippantly talk about the reality of hell. Hell is a horrible truth. But it is a part of the truth.
With that said, what follows is a biblically blunt answer to the question, “What happens to those who have never heard the gospel or the name of Jesus?”