Grace & Peace


Wednesday, December 6, 2023

 The Nativity in Bethlehem

I love the Christmas season and the chance of seeing a nativity scene set up in someone's yard or some other outdoor setting. Perhaps you've had the good fortune to attend a live nativity using real animals. Whether an outdoor nativity scene or a smaller scaled model inside someone's home, it provokes wonder as to how the real scene in Bethlehem with the Christ Child must have been. 

In Hebrew, the city's name is pronounced, "Beit-lehem." "Beit" means house and "Lechem" means bread - together being "house of bread." Jesus said, at one point, "I am the Bread of life" (ref. John 6:35; 48) and "I am the manna that came down out of heaven..." (John 6:31) 

Nativity is described in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary as: The place of origin. Jesus came down from heaven and took on a body of flesh. Jesus grew to physical maturity in that body. His spirit was from above. Jesus said to a group of Pharisees, "Ye are from beneath; I am from above: Ye are of this world; I am not of this world." (John 8:23b KJV) Jesus said we too must be born from above; this is the only way we can see or enter the kingdom of God. (ref. John 3:3) 

The word 'nature' is a root word of 'nativity'-implying that our nature is a derivative of where or who we are from. A born-again believer, or a born-from-above believer, is one spirit with God and he is also a new creation (ref. 1 Cor. 6:17, 2 Cor. 5:17) 

John the Baptist speaking, said, "He that cometh from above is above all: He that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: He that cometh from heaven is above all." (John 3:31 KJV) 

The difference between someone born from above (born-again) who has God as his Father and someone who is not born from above, is profound. 'Jesus said unto them, if God were your Father, ye would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do ye not understand My speech? even because ye cannot hear My word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.' (John 8:42-44 KJV) "I speak that which I have seen with My Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father." (John 8:38 KJV) 

We, as born-again (born from above) Christians, can speak from our place of heavenly origin and heavenly nature, in contrast to an unbeliever who cannot. This is not to say someone who is not born-from-above, or born again, goes about always telling lies. But, it is to say the person who is born-from-above now has as their place of origin, heaven (ref. Eph. 2:6) and our identity in the truth of who we are is who we are in Christ. If we go by our five senses or our circumstances as to who we are, we are not seeing with the eyes of faith. We are not speaking the truth of the reality of our heavenly position or our place of origin.  We are not speaking or acting according to our new nature. "For we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Cor. 5:7 KJV)

The entire third chapter of the book of James is well worth reading to bear this out. The book of James says, "But if ye have bitter envy and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish." (James 3:14-15 KJV) The entire third chapter of the book of James has much to say about our tongue speaking earthly wisdom and the wisdom which descends from above, but ends with the final three verses, saying, "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But, the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." (James 3:16-17 KJV)

When we, as born-from-above believers speak or act against the truth of who we now are in our new spirit and nature, we are lying against the truth of our true origin. This is not to say we are to now become police monitors of all action and speech, for that is an exterior bandaid leading to bondage. The final verse in James chapter three concludes, "And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." (James 3:18 KJV) Righteousness is an inward transformation and one which we have been made. (ref. 2 Cor. 5:21) It (righteousness or our right-standing with God) is not a result of our effort or performance, but of faith placed in Christ's finished work; it is a gift. We have been made new creations. (ref. 2 Cor. 5:17) This brings a rest, a peace. When you see a nativity scene this Christmas season, let it speak to you of our heavenly origin and our heavenly nature, and remember our native language of where and Whose we are from. 

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Thanks, David