I wonder sometimes which Jesus people believe in
- Jim Shempert
“Oh look, another social issue! Let’s fight about it on Facebook!” And off we go! With righteous indignation we pound out soliloquies aimed at whoever dares disagree with us. Our fingers pound our phones ever so harder with each word. Then, in order to silence the opposition forever, we attach some Jesus possessive statement at the end. “The Jesus I believe in...” “the Jesus I follow...” or “My Jesus believes...” are some of the ones I have seen in the last few days. I can only sigh at such statements because many base “their Jesus” on something they have created in their mind as opposed to the Jesus of the Bible.
I wonder sometimes which Jesus people believe in. Even in the Bible belt where I live there is a marked lack of understanding of scripture. Many have created their own personal Jesus who is more like the Genie from Aladdin than the sovereign Son of God who died for all the sins of mankind. They love to point out that Jesus ate with prostitutes and tax collectors but fail to acknowledge the Bible says “He came not to bring peace but a sword.” They love, “Then neither do I condemn you,” but completely ignore the follow up: “Go and sin no more.”
I believe in the sovereignty of Christ. The deeper I go in my relationship with Him, the more I see my overwhelming need for Him. The Word was not made flesh for my slice of the American dream. He did not come to Earth so that you could have that three bedrooms/two baths split floor plan in a quiet cul-de-sac. He did not die on Cavalry so that one political party or another could stay in power.
Jesus did all those things because we are all terrible sinners. We offend God's holiness in our sin. Isaiah 59 could not be clearer:
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely, and your tongue mutters wicked things. No one calls for justice; no one pleads a case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil. For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: rebellion and treachery against the Lord, turning our backs on our God, inciting revolt and oppression, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey (Isaiah 59:2-4, 12-15).
Though God hates sin, He loves us more. He made His Son be the perfect sacrifice for sin. Sin is not acceptable to God. Sin does not magically disappear. Sin is either atoned for through the blood of Jesus Christ or judgment awaits the sinner at the end. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil" (2nd Corinthians 5:10).
Sin is unacceptable to God. First, it separated us from God, and then, caused the death of His Son. God’s wrath was satisfied in Christ, and thus, anyone who has a true relationship with Jesus Christ will be spared His wrath because we are “clothed with Christ. (Galatians 3:27)”
Then there comes the “but.” But, if you refuse the gift of salvation in Christ, you accept the wrath of God. Revelation describes it as “pouring out the bowls of God’s fury.” Reverend Paul Washer painted an even harsher picture:
If you die unreconciled to Christ, the last thing you will hear when you take your first step into hell will be all of creation standing to its feet and applauding God with joy because HE has rid the earth of you. We do not understand how vile sin is, and we do not understand how vile we are apart from Christ.
That is the Christ of the Bible. He willingly sacrificed Himself for all who would come to Him. He desires that no one should feel the wrath of God. He has done everything possible to make a way for you to come back to Him. But, He can’t be tricked or fooled. You can’t pull a fast one on Him. He knew down to the person who He was praying for in Gethsemane in John 19.
The next time you feel the need to draft a soliloquy to advance a social/political point, please realize the sovereignty of the One you reference when you say “My Jesus says.” Make sure that you have not created an idol in your mind of who Jesus is. If you are referencing the only Son of God who died at Calvary as the sin ransom for man, that’s one thing. If you are referencing a weak, westernized, no consequences for our sin Jesus, you may want to pause and rethink.
If your version of Jesus never disagrees with you, it’s not Jesus that you are worshiping.