Psalms 96: 9, “Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!”
Some folks, when they think about Jesus, get all warm and fuzzy inside. He’s good and even those who don’t profess Christianity know it. So, in a questionable effort to share His goodness with others, we, His professing people, inundate the market with Him. We sell Jesus 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 profess Jesus but most of us don’t really know Him. We remember enough of our childhood stories 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 view of Christ with a dose of modern thought and you have many of our modern churches: fun, safe places to go that don’t demand too much of us. They are, at best, Christian-based belief systems purporting to celebrate the Savior 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 and He’d never want us to be uncomfortable, right?).
We get warm fuzzies when we think about Jesus when we fail to understand Who Jesus actually is. Jesus isn’t Who many folks want Him to be. He isn’t our buddy and He isn’t always a nice guy (in the way we consider niceness). He didn’t come to earth to give us a better life or make us happy. He is, however, always good and holy and He loved us enough to die for us so that we could live with Him forever. To that end He came to earth to be born and to die and to be raised again. While here He fulfilled the law by living a life of perfect obedience to it and He satisfied God’s holy and justified wrath by dying a substitutionary death on the cross. For us. He did this because, without it, we, sinful fallen creatures that we are, would have had no hope because sin, any kind of sin, is a vile thing in the eyes of God.
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 speak of issues and failures. God sets out to slay our sinful nature; we put a band-aid on it.
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.”
Denouncing sin, even acknowledging our sinful natures, makes us uncomfortable so we just don’t. We figure that since Jesus is so nice He’ll forgive us for our failures. And He does–if we’ve truly repented. But not when we knowingly continue to embrace sin, not when we seek to downplay it and refuse to acknowledge it as the abomination to God that it really is. Most Americans who call themselves Christians are still in some way married to the world. They look like the world, act like the world, dress like the world and live like the world. There is no desire to be pure or modest, no longing for holiness, no self-denial, no aching over sin, no separation from the world. We go right on living for self, celebrating filth in our entertainment and uttering the same types of depravity worldly ones utter. 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.
God will not accept this. God demands obedience. God demands that we become like Christ. God demands separation from the world and its things. Most of us don’t know enough the Bible well enough to understand that. Because we don’t know the Word, we no longer know that we are supposed to fear God. We don’t know how to fear Him. It is doubtful most of us even want to (who fears a cute little baby in the manger or their best Buddy anyway?).
Maybe we don’t know the real Jesus and how to worship Him 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. For far too long most American preachers have led us to believe that “God is love” without explaining that He is also that “a consuming fire” and “Jealous” and that He commands continued obedience to His Word. As God is, so is Jesus for He came to show us God.
Warm fuzzies for a false Jesus will never save us. Absolute devotion for the holy Son of God will. What will you choose?