Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe him. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Remember, I have told you ahead of time. (Matthew 24:23-25 NET)
Today there are many versions of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ are being taught and worshiped. While some of them are clearly in error, many are only incomplete. The following are some of the current Jesus’ that are being taught. (2)
The Jesus without a body
There are plenty of Christian individualists who feel no need to be connected (1) to or accountable to the body of Christ. These are people who are “fingers” or “eyeballs” and prefer floating about doing their thing in a disembodied state.
The Jesus who is far, far away.
This is the view held by Christians who practically conceive of Christ as so remote from their life issues that they focus only on sharing their grief and discussing their problems without any meaningful attempt to draw on Christ’s strength. (1)
The Jesus superseded by angels:
Jesus is so austere, demanding, and inaccessible that it is better to get in contact with our guardian angels. (1)
The Rambo Jesus:
Jesus is blowing away the devil all over the place right now through his victorious church. All we have to do is use his name to tear down anything that gets in our way. This “commando Christology” (1) sees the devil behind every bush.
The healthy, wealthy Jesus:
Jesus wants us all to kick back and enjoy all this life has to offer. With enough faith, we can claim for ourselves (1) enormous wealth and freedom from illness.
The Jesus who is my pal:
Jesus is a cool friend who makes me feel really good about myself. This view ignores the fact that the Spirit of Jesus comes to bring conviction about patterns of sinful behavior and to promote holiness and integrity (1) in our lives. It also minimizes Jesus’ identity as the transcendent God, Creator of heaven and earth, worthy of worship, honor, and profound respect.
The Jesus who did not suffer:
Although the New Testament says that “since Christ suffered, arm yourselves also with the same attitude” (1 Peter 4:1), there is a segment of Christianity that thinks all suffering (1) is from the devil. We must remember that we live in the present evil age. Suffering and evil are awful facts of life until Christ returns and once for all deals decisively with the problem of evil and brings his people into the full experience of the kingdom of God. Until then, we do not seek to suffer. Yet when we do encounter hardships, we have access to the strength, peace, and joy Christ can give even in the midst of suffering.
The Jesus with no mission:
This is the view of Jesus that holds that he entrusted his people with no task (1) around which to unite themselves, commit their resources, and work. Jesus primarily came to provide forgiveness of sin, for which we are to be grateful and get on with our lives.
The Jesus with no heart:
Jesus had no social conscience and was unmoved (1) by the plight of the poor, the oppressed, and the outcasts of society.
The Jesus who did not die for all our sins:
There are some Christians who believe that they will definitely pay for some of the bad things (1) they have done. I have had more than one person tell me, “You just don’t know some of the things I’ve done.” Jesus could not possibly forgive me for that. I know I’ll pay for it.” Satan wants nothing more than to make Christians believe this lie. Unfortunately, I am convinced that many Christians do secretly buy it. This awful stronghold needs to be torn down with the truth of Colossians 2:14: “He forgave us all our sins.”
The unforgiving Jesus:
Jesus is so stern and severe that he does not easily forgive. (1) When he looks at me, he recoils at the sight of my filth.
The Jesus who does not discipline:
At the other end of the spectrum are those who believe they can entangle themselves in sin with minimal consequences. (1) They emphasize the love and grace of the Lord Jesus to the exclusion of his discipline of believers who err and fall into sin. Jesus counseled the mediocre church of Laodicea, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent” (Revelations 3:19). (2)
For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us. He shoulders responsibility and is called: Extraordinary Strategist, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NET)
(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.
(2) This blog article adapted from 3 Crucial Questions about Spiritual Warfare pp. 66-68 by Clinton E. Arnold, ISBN-13: 978-0801057847