The Biblical Jesus is not Santa Claus
By Ron Kempen, Gospel Light Ministries
Do you think that Jesus is the Biblical Lord and Savior, or do you think of Him as some sort of “Santa Claus”? That’s the question that I have often times when I witness to people, and they give their answers as to whether they are going to Heaven or not. This article is written so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be very clear to the reader. To begin with, I want you, the reader, to answer this question: If you were to die today, and you stood before the father on judgment day, what would you say to Him if He’d ask you, “Why should I let you into my Kingdom?” If you say it’s because you’ve done this or that good deed, or say that you aren’t that bad of a person, or something similar to this, you may have a problem. Over and over I hear people say that a person died and went to Heaven regardless of their beliefs. Or perhaps the individual made people laugh, or they were so helpful to others that they must have a ticket to the promised land. It is true that we are told that in Scriptures we can “judge someone by their fruit.” But we must include all of the variables, not just the “nice” ones. That is one reason that we shouldn’t judge others, because we usually do not have all of the facts to give such opinions. True, I may come across to the readers that I am very judgmental, but that’s why my feature is titled, “Come, Let Us Reason together.” I try to point out what God’s view is according to His Word. In this day and age, we have so many “easy believe” gospels that fall under deceptive views that I hope to avoid, and steer my articles toward the truth. As 1 Corinthians 13:6 tells us, “Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” Even in the Old Testament there are given guidelines for us to follow such as, “judge the people with just judgment. You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. You shall follow what is altogether just,” (Deuteronomy 16:18-20) “They (judges) justify the righteous and condemn the wicked.” (Deuteronomy 25:1)
I recently was at a get together where the hosting lady said something about how Mother Theresa was such a servant and how we (all of the volunteers) should all be like her. Sounds good, wouldn’t you agree? But if we look behind the scenes, we have to question this idea. Was Mother Theresa caring for the people’s bodies but not the souls? Did she really know the Scriptures? Once a Hindu man asked her, “What happens to me when I die?” Her answer was to just take comfort in the faith that he had. What does a Hindu believe about Jesus? Nothing! Could it be that Mother Theresa felt that an individual’s suffering would be helpful because of her belief of Purgatory as the Catholic Church teaches? Furthermore, for all that she is credited with as being so much of a servant, think of the ways that she could have helped if she used some of the million dollars that she had. (Yes she really did have millions. See TheBereanCall Newsletter - October 1996) These are things that make one wonder and doubt if she was knowledgeable about the value of Jesus’s death on the cross. Furthermore, at that get together, the guest speaker continually spoke of how good all of the volunteers were for doing the many charitable deeds. Again I waited for Jesus to get some of the credit but He never got mentioned. While all of this is definitely good, what concerns me is that the body is being cared for, but what about the people’s souls? Even many of the volunteers don’t understand what Scriptures say about the gospel as I know that many workers there are Mormons and Catholics with their strange beliefs.
Getting back to the question that I gave at the beginning, almost everyone that I’ve asked if they believe they’re going to heaven when they die has said yes. When I ask them why they think they’re going to heaven, their answers range from saying that their good deeds outweigh their bad to saying that they’re simply good enough so that there isn’t even any question of “why wouldn’t I go to heaven?” Again, it makes one wonder if they’re talking about Santa Claus instead of Jesus. The Santa song says, “He knows if you’ve been bad or good … Santa Claus is coming to town.” But God doesn’t work that way. God’s view on this is as the Bible tells us in Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Isaiah 64:6 says, “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.” Jesus told us, “You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
God hates sin, and regardless of who we are, we’ve all broken the Ten Commandments. Just look at what the Bible says about someone that denies having killed someone. From God’s viewpoint, someone who has ever been “angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matthew 5:22). Adultery is the same. Jesus said, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
Don’t forget that all sin separates someone from the Father -- not just one sin, but all sin. Remember also that God’s Word tells us “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (see Romans 3:10 - 23), and James 2:10 tells us, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” Therefore, I can question peoples’ belief system when they say that somebody went to heaven because of the good things that that person did. Such a belief shows that they’re comparing their own righteousness with other people’s righteousness instead of God’s requirements of being perfect.
In closing, I just want to review the question that I posed at the beginning which is, What is your Jesus like, the biblical Jesus or Santa Claus? The Bible tells us that the Lord said “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways” (Isaiah 55:8), and that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Because men are sinners, separated from God, they need to be reconciled with God. Jesus took care of that problem with His death on the cross. Only by having faith in that finished work of Calvary’s cross can we get back into fellowship with God and be saved. That is the only way anyone will get saved. Jesus then raised Himself from the grave to prove that He was God and that he had defeated death itself. Santa Claus and his methods might apply to Christmas, but they don’t grant anyone salvation. The Lord does not operate by the good/bad or better/worse method, and we must keep the real world looking at things through the lens of Scripture. If we want to be accurate and right, then we should follow the Scriptures so that “The man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17). If we believe this, then we need to share these words of God with the lost, so they don’t have Satan say to them, “Ho, ho, ho” when they die and find themselves eternally separated from God. That’s what we’re here for, isn’t it?