Monday, December 01, 2014


What do Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch have in common?

They are shining examples of the Christmas spirit!  No, seriously, they are!

Don't believe me?  Read the books:

"It was always said of him (Scrooge) that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge." (A Christmas Carol). I can't imagine a more sterling reputation.

In How the Grinch Stole Christmas, it is implied that the Grinch is an honored guest at the Who Feast on Christmas.  What a truly festive figure in the annals of Whoville.

Of course, the Grinch and Mr. Scrooge have something else in common:  they are two characters who
have been defined by their sin.

Sadly, there are many believers today who are in the same situation. They or others around them define themselves in terms related to their former lives.  But listen to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Pay close attention to verse 11.  After listing all these manifestations of unrighteousness, the apostle says, "And such WERE some of you."  In other words, all these bad things that used to define you are in the past. If you have trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have a new identity. You are a Christian, a believer, a child of God.  You have a brand new life, so why be identified with what you were before?

Of course, this doesn't mean we will never sin again. Nor does it mean that we get to skip all of the natural, societal, or legal consequences of our actions. Nor does it mean that we should put ourselves in the same situations that would lead us to commit the same sins.  If you were an embezzler before you got saved, you may still need to answer for your crimes. And the church board will not let you help count the offering.

But with those caveats firmly in mind, I would encourage you to quit defining yourself in terms of your former life. It may take work and discipline--energized by the Holy Spirit, of course!--but you can be and act like the new person you are, to the point that people will see it. 

Okay, Grinch and Scrooge: what are the last few lines in your book?