False Christs are the product of distorted imaginings and bad theology. They can be produced by institutionalism as well as by our individual fears and private misgivings about God. Jesus came to set captives free – free from distorted gospels and false Christ’s. Above all Jesus came to set us free from our fears and our obsessions with self-validation. He is our divine rest for human restlessness.
‘Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you’ 2 Thess 3.16 NIV.
Any of us can know Jesus as He is if we seek Him with all our hearts. But not if we seek Him with a divided heart. God’s invitation to seek Him with all our hearts is even more relevant and productive of spirit and life in this age. It opens us to the infinite outflowing of the spirit-life of Jesus. Why restrict ourselves to the hall-way of the palace when there are rooms infinite in number and all stacked with unimagined treasure of spirit and sonship?
We can remain in the chook-pen of prior ideas or fly like eagles in the spirit of sonship.
We will not find and know Jesus as He is if we are intent on maintaining religious notions and chicken pens we have been socialised into, as though this was ‘the world.’ We will find ourselves imprisoned by our notions yet not know it with eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear.
These corrupted frameworks will become cataracts that distorts the truth whenever truth by grace should encounter us. Syd Jakes was such a person. Truth frequently lit on him like a butterfly, sometimes as an eagle or as a gust of wind of the Spirit. Syd would shudder momentarily as if something had happened to him – he knew not what. Then he would continue on in the bubble of illusions that he had been his since childhood. Others in Syd’s circle had broken free of the bubble of unreality because they had made Christ and life itself their goal. Not some religious perspective. Beware any perspective that dims the Christ and His gospel that condemns you to repeated deaths and rebirths but which never culminates in maturity and genuine sonship.
We will know the truth and be set free from socially embedded lies of the Enemy if our chief motive is to follow Jesus resolutely into His continual revelations of life to the full. If we are not so willing our theology or perspective becomes for us a ‘false Christ.’ False because it captures us in a spiritual cul-de-sac and ‘a Christ’ because it is our idol. There was a reason leaders in the old testament and in Jesus’ day could neither hear or see truth. They were glued to their own ideas.
There’s the Jesus Lens and our own lens made up of our life experiences and what we believe is truth. The latter can produce distortions of Christ’s message and a lame and distorted us. We can be nice people, love Jesus yet be attached to ‘a Jesus’ who is not the Christ of God. Not the Christ of God because he is a construct of the father of lies or of a false prophet, bad teaching or extra-biblical assumptions. The Jesus lens –is necessary to interpret the Bible accurately and to know the truth that sets us free – free from humbug and limiting ideas. Those who interpret Jesus through the law have a different Christ to those who see the law through Jesus.
We need to be literate in the teaching of Jesus and the apostles and particularly the significance of the new covenant. These are the soil of the Kingdom of God. Don’t be one who has made a semi-conscious commitment to deny any idea or teaching that contradicts your most precious ideas. A recent book describes president Trump as "no more than semi-literate" … and an idiot surrounded by clowns. [He] won't read anything, not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers; nothing."
Don’t be like this in relation to the keys of the Kingdom. Don’t restrict yourself to your own ‘identity bubble’ and remain ignorant of apostolic theological writing. You will remain in the half-light on the edge of the Kingdom if you do. An old covenant relationship with God suffocates the anointing and delegitimises the spirit of apostleship.
We can choose who we will serve. Joshua challenged the people in the old testament with words that are so relevant today as regards our Christ life. Paul referred to the parlous situation of bones bleaching in the wildness – the bones of those who would not enter in to their inheritance. He applied this event and this image directly to those who stubbornly insisted in remaining in past truth - when before them was present truth: the treasure trove of God come alive in their person and their community.
The religion of Adam and Moses with Jesus help is not the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom is Christ our life which means that His person is multiplied and manifest as His people. This is the Kingdom of God.
Theologian Christian Kettler citing Torence and Bath writes in this regard, ‘Christ as substitute needs to take the place of a culture that becomes an object of idolatry. In a sense, he frees culture from itself and its pretensions, even in attempting to respond to God. As in T. F. Torrance’s critique of traditional natural theology, the problem with culture is not its existence, but its attempt to be independent of God.”(1)
Jesus came to set us free from independence of God and from the idolatry of our own views, from idolised denominational perspectives and from idolatry as the effusion of cunningly devised fables designed to paralise individuals and the church. We have a choice. We can make a life as a dry bone or a semi-mobile cripple with a fleeting and fading anointing. Then again or we can live in the continuing maturity of Christ our life as sons of God in union with Father and enjoyable amity with each other.
(1) Kettler, Christian D.. The Breadth and Depth of the Atonement: The Vicarious Humanity of Christ in the Church, the World, and the Self: Essays, 1990–2015 (p. 30). Pickwick Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.