Every year the “reformed” and Presbyterians telegraph the tension of their strange place in history, trapped between knowing deep truths of scripture and an utterly unconverted culture; of knowing full well the official celebration of advent and the holy days of the saints in the church is against their vows and the Westminster standards, and argue about the stand of Calvin and their ancestors in the faith… but the answer is conclusive and very clear.
John Calvin, A Christmas Sermon, December 25, 1551, Book of Micah
“Now, I see here today more people that I am accustomed to having at the sermon.
Why is that?
It is Christmas day.
And who told you this? You poor beasts. That is a fitting euphemism for all of you who have come here today to honor Noel.
Did you think you would be honoring God? Consider what sort of obedience to God your coming displays. In your mind, you are celebrating a holiday for God, or turning today into one but so much for that.
In truth, as you have often been admonished, it is good to set aside one day out of the year in which we are reminded of all the good that has occurred because of Christ’s birth in the world, and in which we hear the story of his birth retold, which will be done Sunday.
But if you think that Jesus Christ was born today, you are as crazed as wild beasts. For when you elevate one day alone for the purpose of worshiping God, you have just turned it into an idol.
True, you insist that you have done so for the honor of God but it is more for the honor of the devil.
Let us consider what our Lord has to say on the matter. Was it not Saul’s intention to worship God when he spared Agag, the king of the Amalekites, along with the best spoils and cattle? He says as much: ‘I want to worship God.’ Saul’s tongue was full of devotion and good intention. but what was the response he received? ‘You soothsayer! You heretic! You apostate!
You claim to be honoring God, but God rejects you and disavows all that you have done.’ Consequently, the same is true of our actions. For no day is superior to another.
It matters not whether we recall our Lord’s nativity on a Wednesday, Thursday, or some other day. But when we insist on establishing a service of worship based on our whim, we blaspheme God, and create an idol, though we have done it all in the name of God.
And when you worship God in the idleness of a holiday spirit, that is a heavy sin to bear, and one which attracts others about it, until we reach the height of iniquity.
Therefore, let us pay attention to what Micah is saying here, that God must not only strip away things that are bad in themselves, but must also eliminate anything that might foster superstition.
Once we have understood that, we will no longer find it strange that Noel is not being observed today, but that on Sunday we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper and recite the story of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But all those who barely know Jesus Christ, or that we must be subject to him, and that God removes all those impediments that prevent us from coming to him, these folk, I say, will at best grit their teeth.
They came here in anticipation of celebrating a wrong intention, but will leave with it wholly unfulfilled.”
“From the Westminster standards, “the Directory of Public Worship”
“THERE is no day commanded in scripture to be kept holy under the gospel but the Lord’s day, which is the Christian Sabbath.
Festival days, vulgarly called Holy-days, having no warrant in the word of God, are not to be continued.”
“The Westminster Confession of Faith. Chapter 21.1
XXI. Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day
I. The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is good, and doeth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might.a But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited to his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture.”
The Westminster Larger Catechism
“Q. 109. What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counselling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion; the making any representation of God, of all, or of any of the three Persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretence whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.”
Num. 15:39; Deut. 13:6-8; Hos. 5:11; Mic. 6:16; 1 Kings 11:33; 1 Kings 12: 33; Deut. 12:30-32; Deut. 13:6-12; Zech. 13:2-3; Rev. 2:2, 14-15, 20; Rev. 17:12, 16-17; Deut. 4:15-19; Acts 17:29; Rom. 1:21-23, 25; Dan. 3:18; Gal. 4:8; Ex. 32:5; Ex. 32:8; 1 Kings 18:26, 28; Isa. 65:11; Acts 17:22; Col. 2:21-23; Mal. 1:7-8, 14; Deut. 4:2; Ps. 106:39; Matt. 15:9; 1 Pet. 1:18; Jer. 44:17; Isa. 65:3-5; Gal. 1:13-14; 1 Sam. 13:11-12; 1 Sam. 15:21; Acts 8:18; Rom. 2:22; Mal. 3:8; Ex. 4:24-26; Matt. 22:5; Mal. 1:7, 13; Matt. 23:13; Acts 13:44-45; 1 Thess. 2:15-16.
Still, even with Calvin whom once you loved will you accept wounds from a friend? You might have long since out grown him. And Knox. And the Westminster divines. And what are you then? What inheritance is left for you?
Now with this, those that have deteriorated through time and slowly embraced the prayers to the saints, the candles, the incense, the magic of elves and spirits, the superpowers of the saints and their host offering to the people more Christ-mass than Christ and more religion than true worship, repent and renew your first love that you might find peace in your heart and with God first and foremost.
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“For God so loved a few that He gave his only Son to save a preselected few who have no choice in that at all but believe because they were preprogrammed to do so.” St Calvin the Predestined