Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Is Jesus Your Idol?

"I" Am a Christian!

As we deal with idolatry, it is only fitting that we address the biggest idol of all, who happens to go by the name "Jesus".  Oftentimes, people comment on this site or others by prefacing their comments with, "I am a Christian...", "My father is a pastor...", or "I am saved too...."

It is almost like they expect such statements to give a sort of validity to their comments.  We are supposed to say, "Oh, well they are Christians so they must know what they are talking about."  This is also reflective of how people approach Christianity these days.

In many ways, the word "Christian" has almost become one of the most meaningless words in the world because most who use it do so with no regard for what it means.  There is no substance of Christ in their "Christianity" because they have created an idol named "Jesus" who is not the same as the true Son of God.

This Christ idol also has a number of false sayings to undergird him; sayings which many proudly promote, being deceived into thinking that these statements reflect Christ. 

We Are All God's Children

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Romans 8:14

"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:26

We are not all God's children. Scripture says the only ones who are His are those who are led by His Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ (being born again).  If Jesus isn't one's Savior & Lord then such is not a child of God, but a child of Satan (John 8:44).

God is Working on ALL of Us

"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient." Romans 1:28

"And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." II Thessalonians 2:11-12

God is not working on "all of us".  While God's desire is for all to be saved, Scripture is clear that God is far away from the wicked (Psalm 66:18; Proverbs 15:29; John 9:31).  God has even given up some people to reprobation, which places them beyond redemption.

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

"For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his." Hebrews 4:10

"Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass." Psalm 37:5

God sent His only begotton Son precisely because man was unable to help himself.  God is not looking to add Himself to man's ability.  He is not our "co-pilot" and He doesn't need our help.  Such is the exact opposite of the Gospel.  Rather, God is looking for us to cease from our own efforts, our own works, and our own understanding and depend completely on Him in everything.

Don't Be So Heavenly Minded That You Are No Earthly Good

"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." Colossians 3:2

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." I John 2:15-16

Can our minds be so set on the things of God that we are no longer of any good in the earth?  Not according to the Lord.  On the contrary, God says that your affections can be so "earthly" focused that you make yourself the enemy of God.  The only way that the love of God can reside in us is if our minds, thoughts, and desires are first and foremost on Heavenly things.  The only way we can be filled with light - and thereby be the light unto the world - is for our eye to be single and focused on the things above.

I am Just a Sinner Saved By Grace

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" I Corinthians 6:9a

We have discussed before how saints are no longer sinners.  While we are all saved by grace, the call for Christians is to cease from sin through the power that Christ gives us over sin.

You Cannot Judge

"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." John 7:24

One of the more popular falsehoods supported by this "Jesus" idol is that it is a sin to judge.

While we have a set of articles which address the issue of judging in detail, the bottom line is that God only forbids hypocrites from judging (Matthew 7:1-5).  He does however use His people to proclaim His judgments.

The Christian's Job is Just to Pray for People

"Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins. Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good." Jeremiah 14:10-11

People often use a "you should just pray" response to stop you from addressing areas of darkness, sin, or compromise.  The pastor is accused of molesting young boys?  You should just pray.  The church has been misusing church funds?  You should just pray.  The preacher leaves his wife and children in order to marry his mistress?  You should just pray.

The Christian's obligation is not to "just pray", but to obey God (I John 2:3-4).  We are to pray without ceasing, but that is not the same as praying to the cessation of all else.  Whether He tells you to pray, speak, be quiet, etc.  Whatever He tells you to do, that is what you should do.  He might even tell you not to pray for someone.  The only way to know what to do in any situation is to hear from Him.

God Loves the Sinner, but Hates the Sin

"God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day." Psalm 7:11

If a reading of Scripture tells you anything it would be that God takes sin personally.  He is not indifferent about sin or the sinner, but He hates sin and holds man accountable for it.  God is not looking down lovingly on the sinner, but they are the objects of His wrath...every day!  God is merciful to sinners, giving all time to repent, but the love of God is realized in our lives when we become His sons (Hebrews 12:6-7; I John 3:1). 

We Just Need to Think, "What Would Jesus Do"

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2

God is not calling upon us to try and act like Him, that is religious performance.

We are not to mimic Jesus, but to be conformed to His image by the Spirit so that we can actually be as He is in this world (I John 4:17).   It is only then that we can walk in His will because we will be doing so by nature and not as hypocrites (actors).

Christians Have to Show Love

"My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." I John 3:18

"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." I John 5:2-3

Because fallen man determines what "love" is based on how it makes him feel, many are running around trying to "show" that they are loving by catering to man's feelings.  This of course means that anything which might offend is seen as "unloving".  This has resulted in a watered-down gospel that compromises on the truths of God and bears no resemblance to the real thing.

What people need to understand is that God's love is synonymous with His truths.  You cannot separate the two.  The way that Christians show love is by obeying God's commands and standing for His truths, regardless of how it makes man "feel".  If you decide that people's reactions will determine how you represent the Lord, then you will have to deny God's word.

Jesus is a Friend to Sinners

Jesus is not a friend to sinners, as we reviewed previously.  The grace of God - which comes by Jesus Christ - is only given to the humble.  As Jesus confirms, God does not even hear sinners (John 9:31).

God Knows My Heart

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9

"He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered." Proverbs 28:26

"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." Hebrews 3:12

This is a true saying.  God does know our hearts.  It is man who does not know his own heart, which is why God says outright that our hearts are deceitful.  We can deceive ourselves into thinking that we are "good" or that we "mean well", but God sees the selfish motivations behind our actions.  We cannot trust our own hearts, but must be guided by the word of God.

Each of these statements above are often recited by professing Christians, yet are lies.  Notice how at the heart of each is a denial of God's commands and or compromise with the world. They are sayings which are used to support "another Jesus" (II Corinthians 11:4).

In these days, where everybody has "a word from the Lord" you had better know Christ for yourself.  Measure everything (here or anywhere) by the full counsel of the Lord's word as His Spirit reveals the truth to you and conforms you to that truth.


  1. There are so many things that I want to say to this, but will just sum it up with AMEN. I often say, "one of the easiest places to lose Christ is in Christianity". I have sought ways to contact you, but wanted to encourage you to continue your good work in Christ. My husband and I have often been blessed by your ministry's work!

  2. Wonderful and blessed article.

    Could you please elaborate on God hatred towards sinners?

  3. Hi Anonymous,

    I wouldn't say hatred, for when Jesus died for mankind, we were all His enemies. Yet His motivator for this sacrifice was love.

    However, love is often not what we define it to be. God's love could move Him to sacrifice His life for us, yet at the same time, does not stop Him from being angry about our sinful condition.

    Fallen man cannot associate punishment with love, but Scripture says that even the fathers of our flesh will chasten us as an expression of their love to their children.

    Maybe the following articles will help:

    Our God IS a God of Love

    Jesus is Not a Friend to Sinners

    God desires for all to be saved (that is love), but He will damn those who die in sin (that is also love).

  4. Thank you very much I found both articles to be enlightening.

    Malachi 1:2-3 says "Yet I have loved Jacob but I have hated Esau". If God hated Esau then surely Esau cannot be the only man that God ever hated?

  5. Hi Anonymous,

    Often God uses contrasts for comparisons sake. For example, Luke 14:26 says,

    "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

    He is not telling us to actually hate our families, but that the amount to which we love them must pale by comparison - so much so that it looks like hate - compared to the love we have for God.

    "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Matthew 10:37

    In Malachi, God is speaking of His hatred for Esau in direct contrast to His love for Jacob. It is the same principle; it speaks of God's favor to Jacob.

    Now there are Scriptures which clearly state that there are those whom God hates, specifically "all workers of iniquity", "the wicked and those who love violence", "those who love lies"...(Psalm 5:5, Psalm 11:5, Psalm 31:5-6, Leviticus 20:23, Proverbs 6:16-19, Hosea 9:15).

    However, I don't think that is the context of the verses in Malachi.

  6. I think when people say "God helps those who help themselves," they mean it like this, for example, say you want to make a cake from scratch, and you pray to God to help you make the cake. You can't just sit there and expect the cake to be made, you actually have to get up and start mixing and stirring before God will answer your prayer. I think that is what people mean sometimes.

  7. Hello Anonymous,

    Yes, I believe that this is what many people mean when they say that phrase, but the question still remains of whether it is Biblical? It is not.

    Certainly we cannot be a slacker or laggard. However, what Christ commands of us is a very different mindset then what many think.

    For example, you state, "say you want to make a cake..." This is how many people approach faith in Christ and it is not Biblical. Instead of first seeking what God wants, people come to Him with what they want and expect Him to bring it to pass.

    However, God is not trying to add to what we have already started. He is not interested in pitching in to help with what we want to accomplish. He desires to speak to us, tell us what to do, and then inspire/empower us to do it. That is a major difference.

    So the perspective that we have to get started on what we want to do before God will help is false because it is not about what we want to do. The thinking that God is waiting on us to move before He moves is false because He is waiting on us to be still so that He can move through us.

    The intent expressed in that saying is at odds with how we truly interact with God.

    Thanks for sharing your comments!

  8. Very good post! Thank you for sharing. God bless.

  9. I generally liked your post, there are many misconceptions, however, I do not think it is a myth to love the sinner and hate the sin. Romans 5:8 says "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Mark 2:17, Jesus says, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." We were all sinners when God called us. Even John starts off by saying "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." God loves those in the world. He does not love the world system, but the people in the world system, so much so that He sent His Son to die for the sins of man. We can only draw sinners to God by showing them the love and grace God showed us. I do not advocate for condoning their sin. But throwing their sin in their face is not the best thing to do. Jesus did not walk around condemning people, because they already condemned themselves by denying Him. Instead He drew people to Himself. Examples, woman at the well and woman caught in the act of adultery. Jesus told them, after pardoning them, to go their way and sin no more. He did not condemn them. (woman at the well, yes Jesus did discuss her sin, but only after she was in a position to discuss it, it was not the first thing He brought up.)

  10. Hi Nicole,

    Have you ever considered Jesus' interactions with the Pharisees and Sadducees? They were sinners too.

    Is not the following condemnation?

    "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" Matthew 23:33

    "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance." Matthew 3:7-8

    Jesus did not treat all sinners the same. The difference was based on whether they had demonstrated fruit fit for repentance.

    Also, consider the Gospel that Jesus preached. It was not "Come to me, God loves you." It was "Repent!"

    Take a look at the following article:

    Jesus is NOT a Friend to Sinners

    Also, consider the following and whether it is consistent with a message that we should be preaching to the lost that God loves them:

    "The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity." Psalm 5:5

    "The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth." Psalm 11:5

    "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." Proverbs 6:16-19

    In these texts, God does not distinguish between His feelings for the sin versus His feelings for the sinner. His lack of affection for both is the same.

    We must also consider the context of Scripture. For example, the "us" in Romans 5:8 are the redeemed.

    No, we don't throw people's sin in their faces, but neither do we preach a false Gospel that they are alright with God in their sin. The pattern by Jesus and His disciples is that the Gospel is a message of repentance. This requires an acknowledgment and turning away from sin.

  11. God is using you some things i even profess as a christian ie trying to imitate Jesus! Long before i was born again (12 or 13 years old)i never supported the idea of God helps us when we help ourselves we quarrelad with the whole class but we did not arrive with conclusion because we had no reference from the bible or Holy Spirit. I would like to ask if you can post about tithes and offering & first fruits please.

  12. what is your say on WWJD as Paul said imitate me as i imitate Christ?

  13. This articles came in so handy. I was just on the Mary Mary "God in me" music video and there are a lot of professing Christians preaching these falsehoods trying to defend the song and the video. Hopefully you don't mind, I copied and pasted verses and some of your comments :).

  14. Text out of context is pretext for prooftext.

    John 3:16 used to be the most known scripture- even by non-Christians. Now it's Matthew 7:1 and it's one of the most abused scriptures in the Bible.

    We must judge, we are commanded to judge. When you don't judge you are actually disobeying God. Granted, you must judge righteously, and not be a hypocrite. (as 'judge not lest ye be judged'' says when taken in its full context.) You must also judge yourself. But not judging is unbiblical. The Lord Jesus Himself said we are to judge righteous judgment (Jn. 7:24).

    We are to judge sin in the church (1 Cor. 5:3, 12). “For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, ... For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?”

    We are to judge matters between the brethren (1 Cor. 6:5). “I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?”

    We are to judge preaching (1 Cor. 14:29). “Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.”

    We are to judge those who preach false gospels, false christs, and false spirits (2 Cor. 11:1-4). “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

    We are to judge the works of darkness (Eph. 5:11). “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

    We are to judge spirits (1 John 4:1). “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”|

    We are even to judge all things (1 Cor. 2:15-16). “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

    The spiritual man does not judge things by his own thinking but by the mind of Christ in the Word of God. He knows that he lives in a fallen world filled with lies and error and spiritual deception and he knows that he has the light of God in the Scripture and he thus judges all things by that.


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