What Can Growing a Beard Teach Us About Grace?


There’s an age-old debate in Christian circles. How can it be that salvation is entirely an act of God’s grace when, at the same time, humans have a responsibility to respond?

One proposed solution has been to claim that humans don’t really have a say in the matter. God “graciously” allows only certain people to trust in him. But I simply cannot square this view with what I read in Scripture.

Another idea is that Jesus only made salvation possible, but we still have to work to earn it. This view, similarly, runs afoul of Scripture’s teaching that we can’t earn our own salvation.

Joy to the World: Not a Christmas Song

Advent Wreath

“Joy to the World” is one of our most beloved Christmas carols, which is ironic because it isn’t about Jesus’ birth (click to tweet). Isaac Watts wrote it as an adaptation of Psalm 98. And the part we sing is just the second half of what he wrote.

It was first published in The Psalms of David: Imitated in the language of the New Testament, and applied to the Christian state and worship in 1719. The tune we know was not added until Lowell Mason arranged it for singing in 1839.