(Author’s Note: It occurred to me after yesterday’s post , that I don’t have a blog post referencing what I meant by “Their Jesus” so here it is.)
In Exodus Ch. 32 we read the familiar account of the Israelites and the making of the golden calf.
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” 6 And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. Ex. 32:1-5
Did you catch verse 5? They called the golden calf the Lord. They made their own god and named it “the Lord” so that they were, technically speaking, still worshiping the Lord. Are we any different today? No, we’re not. If you listen to Fighting for the Faith regularly, there is a little comedy sketch between segments, one in particular is called “Build-a-God.” Build a God is the name of a store, wherein you build your own deity. The sketch is done for comedy, but it’s sadly accurate. We have a tendency to think of Jesus in whatever means we are most comfortable with. For some it’s a universally loving, hippy kind of guy. For others it’s a cool guy to hang with (Buddy Jesus). And for others it’s Robin Hood type that would rob from the rich to give to the poor. And still for others Jesus is nothing more than a genie in a bottle, to be summoned only when we need a favor. When we act this way about Jesus we are doing exactly what the Israelites did in Exodus 32, we have built whatever version of our own deity we are comfortable with and named him “Jesus”, so that technically we are worshipping “Jesus.” We put our own thoughts about Jesus in place of the Jesus revealed in Scripture, and this is most dangerous, because then we are not worshipping the Lord, and we are not following Jesus but we are instead following ourselves. This is idolatry in its purest form, it doesn’t matter that you named your idol “Jesus.” Here’s a little quiz to see if you’re guilty of this:
1) Have you ever said “My Jesus would never _________ ” or “Jesus didn’t come to do ________ but to ________ .” but not bother to support it with scripture in context?
2) Have you ever witnessed someone doing something and thought “At least I’m better than that?”
3) Have you ever shrugged off your own or someone else’s sin because you think “Jesus didn’t come to condemn sin, that’s why he hung out with drunkards and prostitutes?” Or are afraid of being too legalistic?
4) Do you have a tendency to think you’ve got it all right, while everyone else has it wrong and needs to listen to you?
5) Have you ever called something a sin, just because you don’t like it?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions then you’ve failed.
But there is good news.
John Calvin once said: “The human heart is an idol factory” We all have a tendency to make idols, whether it is of others, ourselves, or even of our own theology-whether it’s warped or not; and as long as we’re alive we wrestle with this sin, its deeply imbedded in our sin nature. That is why we can trust in nothing less than Jesus Blood and Righteousness.