Santa Is Law, Not Gospel

Santa rewards those who meet the terms of a covenant of works:be good or else. The gospel is that Christ justifies helpless, wicked sinners by sheer favor alone, through faith alone.

©R. Scott Clark


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  1. Clever. Although I’m pretty sure many of the gifts I’ve received over the years from Santa were neither earned nor deserved. Maybe there is a tiny bit of room for grace in the Christmas spirit.

    • Hi Jerry,

      I know critiquing Santa seems grinch like but take a look at the resources. We should be gracious at Christmas and always but Santa really isn’t good news. You didn’t receive anything from Santa. You received everything from Jesus. I agree with Sinclair Ferguson: Santa is a Pelagian. Do I love aspects of Christmas, yes. Am I ambivalent? Yes but the faith calls us away from sentiment towards truth.

  2. Do you think Santa is even Law – His “or else” (a piece of coal in your Christmas stocking) is trivial compared with that of the Law, and his “good” falls far short of that required by the Law. Would he ever be your schoolmaster to lead you to Christ?
    Wouldn’t you say he’s more akin to an Islamic, Papist, or Pharasaic concept of Law than to Law itself?

    • John,

      That’s the definition of law. See Paul on Colossians, where he addresses this very manifestation of the law (στοιχεα). It’s the same law, whether in nature itself (Rom 1-2), or in Islam, or wherever. “Do your job or you’re fired!” is a manifestation of the law, the covenant of works. It’s one principle, multiple administrations or expressions.

  3. Brings back memories of my pre-school childhood in Sunday School. A song I still remember to this day is, “Be Careful”. “Be careful little eyes what you see/ears what you hear/ mouth what you say/hands what you do/feet where you go”. “For the Father up above is looking down in love(?!) so be careful…. ” Not much of a difference between Santa and God.

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