NTFIE extract from chapter 2

May 23, 2012
Author Article Book Doctrine No Time for Itching Ears

Genesis and the Deity of Christ

Who was this Jesus, anyway? Everyone seems to have their own view of who He was, or what He was like. It seems to be open season. Anyone can decide what they think He is like. Do you remember the Depeche Mode song?

Reach out and touch faith
Your own Personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who cares
Your own Personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who’s there[1]

The songwriter Martin Gore says that the song was influenced by Priscilla Presley’s book, Elvis and Me.

It's a song about being a Jesus for somebody else, someone to give you hope and care. It's about how Elvis was her man and her mentor and how often that happens in love relationships; how everybody's heart is like a god in some way. We play these god-like parts for people but no one is perfect, and that's not a very balanced view of someone is it?[2]

Regardless of whether or not the song or book are on this theme, the comment and the lyrics are referring to how we can make up our own religion. Yet, we are not just talking about having a personal god, we are talking about a personal Jesus. The name Jesus means “The Lord saves.” People are looking for a Savior, but it has to be a Savior on our own terms. We want to be saved from the things that we find difficult, so that we can get on and live our lives.

That means we install a Jesus in our lives, who is not the same as the Jesus of the Bible. It is the Bible which describes the Son of God to us. If our description of Jesus differs from that of the Bible, then it is not the real Jesus that we are talking about; we are talking about a false messiah.

This ought to be a matter that concerns us deeply. If people are worshipping a false messiah, and not the real Jesus, then they are not saved. Yet it is often our desire to be inclusive. Surely if someone confesses the name of Jesus, then they must be Christians, right?

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

The problem inherent in the misquotation of Romans 10:9 is that one often fails to define what is meant by “believe in your heart.” It is not just a matter of giving a mental assent to the fact of the resurrection. Indeed, just a few verses earlier, this has been couched in terms of submission.

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:3)

So a mere mental assent to the name Jesus would not appear to be sufficient. It is important to understand that knowing the character of Jesus from the Bible is important, as well as simply acknowledging His name.

To explain this further, imagine someone saying that they knew the Queen. Then imagine that they described her as a very tall lady, with long, flowing, blond hair. “That’s not the Queen,” you would protest. “Yes it is!” they reply. “She was introduced to me as the Queen.”

If you have been introduced to the wrong Jesus, it makes no difference if you protest that others know the same Jesus. What really matters is if you know the right Jesus.

This article is extracted from my book, No Time for Itching Ears, and is available from the Creation Store.

[1] Gore, ML, Personal Jesus, recorded by Depeche Mode, August 29, 1989

[2] Spin vol 6 number 4, July 1990, < http://www.tuug.utu.fi/~jaakko/dm/spinmode.html >

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