Sometimes when we think of Jesus, we get all warm and fuzzy inside. He’s good and even those who don’t profess Christianity know it. We, His professing people, celebrate Jesus, sing songs to Him, sell Him on mugs, candies and t-shirts. We buy books based on His teaching, join small groups and internet groups to talk about Him and what He has done…for us. We go to church and worship Him while our minds are distracted and divided thinking about our lives. We profess Him…but most of us don’t really know Him. We don’t know why He came to earth, why He died or what He demands that we do if we would come to Him. We remember enough about Jesus so that He hangs around our memories like a long-ago summer day, pleasant to think of but without demands.
We are drawn to the sweet baby Jesus lying in the manger and find it easy to get excited about Him. We hear a lot about the smiling Savior Who longs to give us a good life. We put the two together and we come up with something easy and comfortable: a smiling gentle Savior Who lives to please us. Marry this watered down and weakened view of Christ with a dose of modern thought and you have our churches: fun, safe places to go that don’t demand too much of us. They are Christian belief systems which are different enough from the world to make us marginally better morally (but even that is changing) but not different enough to make us stand out or cause us to be embarrassed (after all, Jesus wants us to be happy, remember?).
We have forgotten or willingly ignored that the reason Jesus came to earth was to justify us before God by the satisfaction of His holy wrath through the shedding of His blood on the cross with the result being that His people would turn away from sin and be holy.
We don’t like to talk about sin today. The term sounds so judgmental and harsh to our modern ears. In our enlightened age, the concept of sin is archaic and old-fashioned. Instead of addressing sin in our lives and those of others, we talk about having addictions and problems. We put a band-aid on them and pretend that they are solved. That will never work. God pronounced sin real and said that it needed to be destroyed: Romans 6: 6 “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
We ignore this and continue right on living the way that we always have. For most of us, there is no attraction to modesty, no holiness, no self-denial, no aching over sin, no separation from the world. We go right on watching what we have always watched, listening to the same music that the lost listen to, uttering the same depraved words. Idle talk, idle chatter, idle activities fill up our empty minds and hearts because, even though we profess Christ, we don’t know Christ. If we did, we would be down on our faces before Him repenting.
Has anyone told us that His Word demands that we continue on in obedience to His Word? Most of us don’t know enough gospel to understand that. We don’t know that we are to fear God or even how to. Obeying God isn’t easy. It isn’t supposed to be easy. Our salvation cost Jesus everything. It will cost us everything, too. Matthew 10: 38 “And he that taketh not his cross, and follow after me, is not worthy of me.” The world is supposed to hate us because it hated HIM. John 15: 18 “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”
Maybe we don’t know the true Truth of God’s Word because our parents didn’t know. Maybe they didn’t know because it’s been a long time since God-fearing men filled most of the pulpits of our land. I love true men of God and those who are giving their lives to God in obedience and who boldly speak the Word of Truth. They deserve our love, our respect, our thankfulness. It is not these men that I am talking about. It is the men who dare to “preach” that “God is love” without also telling you that “God is a consuming fire” and “Jealous” and that He commands continued obedience to His Word: John 8: 31 “Then Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then ye are my disciples indeed;” (the idea being, of course, that, if you don‘t continue on, then you are not His disciples). How God must ache over those supposed preachers who get up and say things like, “If you professed Christ as a child and then were kidnapped by radical Muslim’s and became a suicide bomber, you would still go to heaven” (I have sat before a man who actually preached this junk). God’s heart breaks. So should ours.
Warm fuzzies for Jesus will never save us. Only Jesus Himself can do that. The real Jesus, the Lion of Judah, the demanding Jesus. The Jesus to Whom God’s holiness and truth were everything. If we are truly His people, God’s holiness and truth will be everything to us, too.