Our View of Jesus
and the Purpose of Scripture
I thought it would be good to crystallize and put in writing my thoughts after some recent discussions concerning the identity of Jesus. I think it is a very important subject, for our view of Jesus will effect our lives from small to major decisions, as well as eternal rewards.
In the course of these discussions various questions were raised. What is shaping our view of Jesus ? What is it based on ?
If there were only one view of Jesus the answers would be simple. However, we live in a world with a multitude of views. There is the New age Messiah, the "religious" Jesus, the Mormon Jesus, the political Christ, the Jesus of the Koran, the Jehovah's Witness Christ, etc.
How do we know that our view is in line with the real Jesus ? What is the basis for the evidence ? From what do we reference that point of view ?
The subject of the Scriptures came up relating to these answers. I mentioned that I believed it was God's desire that we have a point of reference that bears witness to the real Jesus and to His historicity. God planned that there would be eyewitnesses. Those who were with Him and who knew Him. Those who had His Spirit and those who wrote of him. What better reference point?
As I see it, the root issue is the credibility of the Bible and how we are to use it in identifying the authentic Jesus. I do agree that the the Scripture itself cannot save someone and it isn't to be worshipped. But I think it is to be believed as true, and approached and dealt with with the utmost care. (The twisting of it can cost your life ! ) Suffice it to say, I don't believe the path to elevating Jesus includes putting down Scripture (what the Holy Spirit has written.) I think the error lies in man's views about the Scripture. As our Lord testified: "You are in error ," said our Lord, " because you ... do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God ."
Simply put, our view of Scripture can seriously effect our view of Jesus, for better or for worse. Allow me to to reiterate what I believe is a healthy view .
What is the Scripture?
" But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced, you know those from whom you learned it and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (1Tim3).
God has given it to us that we may be thoroughly equipped. (A further point of clarity is that the issue is in attaining maturity, not "survival" Christianity. )
God Commanded -- " WRITE IT DOWN "
For many times in the history of God's people he would command, for instance with Moses, " write down these words ... "(Ex 34:27). And with Jeremiah, "This is what the Lord the God of Israel says, write in a book all the words I have spoken to you .." (Jer. 30:3); and to "Go now write it on a tablet for them...that for days to come it may be an everlasting witness. ..." God inspired and directed the Apostle to send the letter to the churches (ref). This was not simply for that time, but for all time. The apostle Paul directed that his letter be read to all the other churches (1Thess5:27). The apostle John was told, "Write what you see John on a scroll and send it to the seven churches (Rev 1:11). The apostle John wrote down what he had heard from God and he concluded, "Write this down for these words are trustworthy and true" (Rev 21:5). God warned, "do not take away from these words !"
We aren't talking about the writings of men (as those in the world and the liberal theologians would assert).
Also we must guard against the error of setting one thing, work, or person of God against the other. For example, by using the truth of Jesus to tear down the credibility of what the Holy Spirit has communicated in written form. It creates a wedge rather than the harmony of both working together . It's like the, "I'm going to listen to Jesus alone not the apostles" type of attitude. Read 2 Cor 13:10; 1 Tim3:14.
The Apostles and prophets aren't going to appear to us and re-reveal what they have already written to us . If anyone thinks they can disobey what they have spoken in the scripture, I would have to ask them what that view is based on ? The apostle wrote in his letter,"if anyone does not obey our instructions in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him ... (2Thess 3:14). To disobey the apostles was to disobey the Lord.
In a similar way in Jeremiah's day, the cutting up of the scroll was a reflection of God's words being rejected (Jer 36). The two (Gods speech, his quoted words and the written word) are linked. That is why God so strongly warned that those who take away from it (His writing) will be judged (Rev 22:19). The Lord isn't simply concerned about the ink on the Scroll . It is the witness to the truth.
The Gospel was revealed through the prophetic writings, "the gospel he promised beforehand through the prophets in the holy Scriptures (Rom.15:16). God commanded that it would be revealed through the Scripture. Please note it was a command of God not the counsel of men .
Jesus was concerned that the Scripture "cannot be broken ." Everything must be fulfilled (Lk 24:44), etc.
"We have the word of the prophets made more sure and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture came about by the prophets' own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit .
In the book of Acts Peter stood up and declared, "Brothers, the scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke . " Holy Spirit spoken. God breathed. From the mouth of the Lord.
We live in a world which does not receive the record or testimony (BIBLOS -in the Greek Mk.1:1) of what the Lord spoke and did during his time. There are many false and deceptive views and portrayals of Jesus . The enemy has tried to obscure it, so that the truth of the gospel would be hidden to a lost world . If the view of the prophets and the apostles is clouded, tampered with, diminished, tainted and nullified, very serious problems will result . It would practically be the same as the removal of a major survey mark by which a building is built.
This warfare has been going on since the beginning in Genesis 3: "has God really spoken?" We cannot afford any sanctuary for the enemy. His work has been to cast doubt and unbelief and taint the witness of the prophetic writings.
A Most Subtle Deception
Aside from the false Christs of history, many have formed their own Jesus. If that view becomes false, there is no outside testing for it . It is a closed loop. That is a blueprint for deception . Man tries to shape Jesus in his own image. There are myriads of twisted imitations from Satan himself. I don't want to see anyone in years to come fall into these traps .
Jesus said many false Christs shall come. Many already reside in the hearts of men . Many views of Jesus fit comfortably into that wide open category of a view of Jesus independent and apart from the Scripture . Also, de facto, it would be independent of the apostles . The stakes are high in an age of increasing skepticism, humanism, liberal theology, etc.
Jesus and the apostles warned those speaking of " Different Jesus'... other than the one we preached "(Gal 1:6).
God can certainly speak to us inwardly through an impression, a vision, or a dream. But to what shall we compare this in order to gauge whether it is truly from Him or the imaginations of our hearts.
I rejoice that I can read and hear his voice through the written word. We can read: "Thus said the Lord" or " Jesus spoke to them ," and have him be speaking to us today. God has given us a source of direct communication so that we can know him, his heart, his will, his intentions, and have encouragement and an inspiration throughout the years.
It is written, "And they believed the Scripture and the Word that Jesus has spoken." The Scripture and the word that Jesus spoke. One written, one audible. The same communication,but in different form. All from the same Spirit of God. Simple faith in what he has spoken . So that " By the encouragement of the scriptures we can find hope." Please don't let anyone or anything come between his communicating to you, or allow the waters to be muddied. I simply ask you to pray about these things .
In his daily grace . Greg W.