Friday, January 9, 2015

"No Middle Ground"

    You are likely familiar with the suggestion that if the Lord Jesus Christ was not who He declared Himself to be, He was rather a lunatic or a liar.  This is true, but the indictment against Him would be far more serious than the saying declares.

    Let us dismiss the possibility of lunacy.  The words, demeanor, and life of the Lord Jesus suggest nothing of the sort.  No reasonable witness could come to that conclusion, as confirmed by the fact that even the most strident of Christ's opponents rarely propose Him to have been deranged.  Thus, we are left with the possibility that He lied when He affirmed Himself as the Son of God and the Divine "I AM" referenced in the Old Testament.

    "Say ye of Him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" (John 10:36).
    "Before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58).

    If Jesus was not the Son of God, He portrayed Himself in the most ignominious manner possible.  He claimed to be the creator and sustainer of humanity's being, and the hope of our present and future.  If this is not the case, vast throngs of deluded followers throughout history have followed an unnecessary path of self sacrifice that hindered whatever happiness one can find in a meaningless existence.  Indeed, if Jesus of Nazareth were not Jesus the Christ, we could be sure there is no God, and thus, no reason or purpose for our being.  No other religious philosophy or theology warrants serious consideration, and we should live our lives to please ourselves since the brief span from conception to death offers the only existence we will ever know.  A Jesus who lied has thus kept multitudes from happiness.  He has served as the cause of untold conflict among families, friends, and even nations.  Great wars have been fought due to His influence.  Millions of martyrs have burned to death on pyres of unnecessary self-sacrifice, or been slain by the sword, or wasted away in squalid prisons.   In this very hour, Christians face unnecessary pain and challenge that would easily be avoided if Jesus of Nazareth were not Jesus the Christ.  His lie, while seemingly leading to much good and even happiness, must actually be viewed as the cause of far more misery and misfortune.  Indeed, countless multitudes have turned away from personal self satisfaction and even survival for no reason at all.

    Jesus of Nazareth is Jesus the Christ.  He is the Savior sent by the God who exists, the God proclaimed by the Bible.  All the self sacrifice experienced in His name has been worth it, and remains so in this hour for those who willingly suffer for His glory and the fulfillment of God's purposes in Christ.  No middle ground exists in how we view this Person who serves as the crux and primary issue of every human being's life.  We must view His life as either the greatest blessing, or the most horrendous disaster the world has ever known.  "What think ye of Christ?  Who son is He?" (Matthew 22:42).  We must answer that He is either the Son of God and the source of all life, hope, and joy.  Or he is the son of Joseph and the source of sorrows untold and unnecessary.  Blessed Lord.  Or dangerous liar.  No middle ground.

"Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
(Matthew 16:16)

Weekly Memory Verse
    In the day of my trouble I will call upon Thee: for Thou wilt answer me.
(Psalm 86:7)

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