Her message, like the message of so many others that have risen in popularity, is subtle and smoothly intoxicating, drawing you in to a theme that, while attractive and sensible on the surface, puts those who accept it without careful, prayerful consideration, on a dangerous path.
Her primary proposition on this particular morning was "Your identity in Christ", a safe and sound enough sounding idea. But, therein lies the problem. We'll get to that in a moment.
She built her case, expounded Scripture (much of it taken out of context) and came to her conclusion, "Christ died so that you could find your true identity."
An explosion went off in my mind and heart.
The whole message was based on the idea that the only Son
of God took on flesh, suffered, died an indescribably horrible death, was resurrected and ascended into heaven, all so that...I could embark on a voyage of self discovery??
This is not a message peculiar to one off-the-path teacher in the church today. It is everywhere around us. We are repeatedly told that the reason Christ died is so that we can get, become or realize that we already are something we really want to be, which has enough truth in it that it becomes easy to grasp, but also easy to get wrong.
When we do get it wrong, the craziness begins. It happens when a very subtle shift is made, when the reason for all this becomes centered on us and not on Christ Himself.
"Jesus died so that you..."
We need to be extremely careful here. Although our identity in Christ is a vital part of our salvation, nowhere in the Bible does it say Christ died so that we could find it.
But, the deception doesn't stop at our identities. Just fill in the blank at the end of "Jesus died so that you_______" and you're on your way down the wrong path.
There are plenty of similar propositions to be cautious of, all of them finding their attraction in a "me-centered" theology, a theology largely focused on "me" and what I get out of God's plan of redemption.
This is not really theology, which is the study of God, but "meology", the study of...well...me.
We hear these propositions frequently. There's the familair "Jesus died so that you...." There's also "God wants you to have...", "Jesus came to give you....", "You can have....", "You already have...", "You'll get....", "You command....", etc. If you listen carefully, you'll hear them in a lot of different forms.
Fill in those blanks with anything that does not point directly back to God and His glory, and you're probably listening to questionable teaching.
Here's what the Bible says about why Jesus came...