My thanks to those who responded positively to my last blog, which featured God’s grace in Christ as the ultimate motivator and enabler in God-filled living (see Titus 2:11-12).

One valued friend (a real market-place evangelist) commented: “The non believers I meet on a daily basis all talk about the legal stuff and God being a traffic cop out-and-about writing out offence tickets. No love and no personal relationship. This is how they perceive and see church. Sad hey? Let us make a difference in a small way…”

Whether we like it or not, this is a common perception of ‘church as we know it.’ And one can begin to understand it once we grasp to what extent the church, in many places and generations, has been fed ‘the Gospel of Santa Claus’ instead of Jesus and his grace:

‘You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town.
He’s making a list
And checking it twice
Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town.
He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness’ sake!
Oh! You better watch out!
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town!’

Recognise the bad news, the divine Policeman in the sky, the scare and guilt tactics, the individualism and consumerism, the salvation by your own bootlaces, the ‘cowboys don’t cry’ tone, the impotent moralism? (‘be good to granny and kind to the cat’)

Compare this with the good news of Jesus in Eph. 1, Col.1, etc! Consider Col.1:6ff (NLT)
‘This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours that very first day that you heard and understood the truth about God’s great kindness to sinners… Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see – kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him. He existed before everything else began, and he holds all creation together.
Christ is the head of the church, which is his body. He is the first of all who will rise from the dead, so he is first in everything. For God in all his fulness was pleased to live in Christ, and by him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross. This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him… yet now he has brought you back as his friends… he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault… continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.’

How’s THAT for good news, magnificent motivation, colossal empowering as we live in our topsy turvy world?? We have surely all witnessed the impact of this gospel on history, nations, societies, families and individual lives.

As the Swiss Reformed theologian, Karl Barth (1886-1968), rebelling against the dead liberalism of his day, said again and again, ‘all knowledge of God is exclusively determined by and is depedent upon the knowledge of Jesus Christ.’

If you’re still in ‘church as we know it’ and not committed to ‘church as she ought to be, ‘ THINK AGAIN…


  1. Thy art worthy my lord, to receive glory, honour and praise,for you have created all things by your great power and for pleasure.

    Please fill us Father God, with your love,compassion,mercy and grace.

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