By Edward Thal /
The single greatest difference between Christians and all other religious systems is that we enjoy the manifest presence of God. Religions have a belief system, rules, commitment, certainty, and passion, but lack this one vital component. Religions seek after God, try to explain God, labor to impress God: Bible-believing Christians simply receive God.
The wonderful truth that we celebrate at this time of year is that God came to us!
But note that God did not come as a King to be revered and feared. Men will bow to a king whom they fear, but still remain rebels at heart. God came meekly to be born in a stable because He wanted to make clear that He desires to be born in every humble human heart, where He can transform us from within.
Religion is speculative – Christianity is experiential. Or it should be. When Christians lose sight of what makes them different they become merely religious.
The manifest presence of God makes us real and joyful and victorious. When David wrote Psalm 139 he could not comprehend in the way that New Testament Christians can that the God He spoke of, who knew him so well that He was aware of David’s every movement, word and thought, knew David because He lived in David.
Every Christian should be able to say: “Because of my relationship with Jesus Christ, God is not merely the Creator, not just ‘a’ god or ‘the God’, He is ‘my God!’” (Ephesians 3:14-19).