When we first become Christians we know almost nothing about the bible and many different words and sayings are thrown about by well meaning Christians. I call this language “christianese”. Below is a picture of the gospel for new believers of Jesus Christ. Each one of the shapes respresents a part of the story. Almost none of it is labelled.
Can you find the part of the story (symbolised by the shapes) which will brings healing and deliverance into the lives of people who need it? Take a look and decide which shape represents the most powerful aspect of the story…
Quite often we are brought into the Kingdom of God by the promise that Jesus Christ will forgive your sins and set you free from what you are struggling with. So we beme aware of the green circle with a clear empty center in the middle of the picture.
Pretty soon our friends begin to speak into our lives drawing our attention to some aspect of the diagram. “Mark, I believe God wants you to focus on… repentance” or whatever. So our attention is drawn away from “Jesus Christ and him crucified” and we focus on the Father, or on the Holy Spirit. If the enemy really does his job well, we will focus on the law and our inability to match up to God’s demands. Over time we build up a series of yellow post-it notes on our diagram.
Pretty soon our view of the humble green circle is clouded and crowded and we are striving for God’s acceptance and searching desperately for “Kingdom keys”… all to get what we originally were told that Jesus Christ has already done for us.
In this state, we have lost the simple acceptance of a child’s faith…
Mar 10:14-16 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
In one worst case scenario, we become so disillusioned by what is not happening, that we are forced to reframe our understanding of Jesus Christ. We cannot see the finished work, so we lose heart and reshape our understanding of His work into a “done but not yet” situation.
We begin to go into survival mode. We start waiting for Jesus Christ to come back and complete the work that He left seems to have left unfinished on the cross. This condition is the result of a lack of faith.
We have lost the ability to accept the gospel as reality or “real fact” because we are walking by sight – what we see around us – instead of instead of walking by faith, which is what the gospel says is true…
Now faith is… the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses] – Heb 11:1 Amplified Version
This false doctrine that Jesus Christ will return and complete His work leaves people powerless and in the role of victims. Under this doctrine the has not been overcome and this world has not been made safe by Jesus Christ. People begin to wait for a future date when the world will be made safe… and in this way they are completely disregarding the promises of the OT, the explanations of the NT and in fact disregarding the words of Jesus Christ Himself…
Joh 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
This doctrine of waiting for Jesus Christ to do His work is a terrible corruption of His words. It denies the work that Jesus Christ did on the cross and it renders our faith poweless to overcome the evil of this world.
I’m asking you to return your focus to these two simple truths. He completed His work and sat down…
Heb 10:12-13 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
And when He returns it is not to do any more work…
Heb 9:28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
The Amplified Bible says “not to deal with sins or carry any burden”. I think that is a better description, because it makes the extent of the completed work even more clear.
Do not settle for less. The work of Jesus Christ was completed on the cross, not partly completed. So don’t expect Him to return and to do more work, because that results in you going into a passive waiting mode, accepting that until that future day… meanwhile you will be an unnecessary victim of an already defeated foe!
If you don’t see the enemy as defeated, then you lack the understanding of the promises that point to Jesus Christ. I can confidently say that he is defeated because the bible clearly teaches that he is.
And as my faith has grown enough, I have seen that truth become real in my life.
Book: If My people (v33!) (1.1MB) – A free daily devotional which is under development. +-150 pages.