Pastor Steve Ellison
Being spiritual and being Christian are not the same. I am amazed at what I see and hear proclaimed today as valuable advice to move one forward spiritually. Much of this advice is far worse than unhelpful. Much of it is deadly. Given the confusion and misunderstanding prevalent today, not much is learned when someone tells you that he or she is a follower of Jesus. We must immediately ask, “Which Jesus?” In the past few decades, it became pretty uninformative if someone said they loved and followed God. Without a significant discussion we had no idea what was meant by “loving and following God”. For a few short years, the name Jesus retained some meaning. However, it seems today the name of Jesus is so misused that we can have no certainty of its meaning to the one who uses it. Much spiritual advice dispensed today leads one away from Jesus rather than to Him. It is imperative that we look to Jesus as He is revealed in the Bible.
Paul warned us in Galatians 1:6-9, I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (NASU) Paul was addressing a heresy that said circumcision was needed in addition to the work of Christ in order for a person to be saved. The real issue is that the work of salvation is complete, sufficient, and finished in Christ alone. It is not possible for me to add anything to that work.
Modern man is bombarded with false spiritual teaching claiming that we can do something that will change our condition. Biblical truth affirms that no man is worthy or capable of doing anything that would add to Christ’s work. Salvation and the accompanying forgiveness of sins is a free gift based solely on the mercy and grace of a loving God. Demanding your rights is foolish. Fighting for what you deserve is crazy. All any man or woman deserves from a thrice holy God is eternal punishment. Evaluating your worth according to any standard other than being created in the image of God and Christ paying the greatest possible price for your life is insane. Apart from Christ we have no worth at all. Only in Christ are we valuable.
Every human who has ever lived has nothing at all to offer to God. No human has ever had anything with which to merit anything from God. Apart from Christ, every human is dead in trespasses and sins. Acknowledging our guilt and helplessness and turning from it in repentance is our only hope. Crying out to a merciful God for forgiveness is our only hope. Trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross is our only hope. Professing with our mouths Jesus as Lord is our only hope. It is of extreme importance that we place our trust in Jesus of Nazareth, the Jesus of the Bible, not a Jesus of our own making. Many in our day have placed their trust in a different Jesus, a Jesus who does not offend, a Jesus who asks no sacrifice, a Jesus who calls no one to account, a Jesus who judges no one, a Jesus who requires no suffering, a Jesus who speaks nothing of hell, a Jesus who saves even those who ignore Him. Which Jesus do you follow?