Choose your Jesus. To some degree, I think a lot of people worship a “half-Jesus.” Who is your Jesus? Do you picture the Lamb of God? The Prince of Peace? Or is he the Lion of Judah? We risk not knowing Jesus if we pitch our camp at either of the extremes of his character.
In today’s society where we all want to get along, where we are urged to affirm and accept everyone and everything and where the extension of grace and pleas for God’s continued mercy sometimes reach a snapping point, churches and ministers are prone to want to distance themselves from anything that may smack of judgment or draw attention to the things that clearly displease God, uh, like the sins that are mentioned in unvarnished language in the scriptures. God’s calls us to “be holy” as he is holy, and that often requires us to draw some lines that are downright uncomfortable in our choices and affiliations. The apostle Peter reminds us that our ultimate goal is to please God, not buckle to man.
That’s quite a tightrope we are presented to walk. Knowing that it is God’s kindness that leads to repentance, a Jesus who is all grace is incomplete and unbiblical. Sure, gentle Jesus, humble Jesus, grace-filled Jesus is a good role model for people to follow. Lambs are nicer, more docile and easier to lead. And this image is more acceptable in a society that desires to impose its will on culture. Co-exist. Practice “tolerance.” Skew biblical doctrine to fill the seats with a “gospel” that causes no offense. But when we look at scripture in balance, this over indulgence in the “Lamb” identity, filled with all the fruit of the spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), this “love God” ignores some of the harsh and firm stands Jesus took . . . not to mention the ferocity of his second coming.
It would be an art form for us to be able to practice the application of grace/truth that Jesus did. He was full of both. Not by a blend or mixture, but his very essence. Living by the “letter of the law” and its “cut and dryness” is often simpler and less complicated than wrestling with truth while embracing grace. Ignoring grace and truth is even simpler. Yet we must model Jesus. That’s a cross in itself if you’ve ever wanted God to avenge or if you’ve tired of seeing God grant mercy amidst the world’s darkness and evil and yearned for him to cut loose. Think About It.