Monday, September 01, 2008

A More Accurate Image of Christ

This will conclude my 3-part series of posts about the willingness of Christians to stand firm for the faith.

Paul Coughlin has written, "I have a non-Christian friend who says he can spot Christians at Hollywood parties: 'They worship at the altar of other people's approval.' He's fascinated as to why Christians think Jesus was so wimpy and gentle, when even he can read that Jesus wasn't" (No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice--Instead of Good--Hurts Men, Women, and Children, p. 45).

Sometimes we have an unbalanced view of Jesus. We see his kindness, compassion, and generosity. We see his willingness to touch the leper. We see his gentleness with the woman caught in adultery. We see his eagerness to embrace a child. We hear his words of love, forgiveness, and mercy.

However, we may be blind sometimes to Jesus' more rugged qualities, the characteristics that prompted men to call for his execution. He became angry with religious people who enforced their petty rules to the harm of needy people. He made a scene at the temple when vendors were distorting the temple's purpose. He stood his ground against conservative Pharisees, liberal Sadducees, and secular Herodians. He refused to entertain a corrupt politician who had no interest in his message. He launched into a blistering criticism of his opponents, because they were pretending to be holy while opposing God and taking advantage of people.

The Christian is destined "to be conformed to the likeness of (God's) Son" (Romans 8:29). In Christ, we see a man who acted with justice, loved mercy and kindness, and walked humbly with God (Micah 6:8). We are to embrace each characteristic of our Savior. We cannot ignore the need for justice, the need for mercy and kindness, or the need for humility as we walk with our God. He is calling us to live freely in the Spirit of the Son of God by becoming more like Jesus Christ in how we approach life. We cannot ignore any aspect of God's character as we develop toward our destiny as children of God.

Thanks for reading this series!

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