While it is impossible for man to fully comprehend all of God in time (this realm), we are meant to consistently increase in our knowledge of Him; a process through which we conform to His nature and character (2 Corinthians 3:18). Therefore, the level of conformity to the image of God through the values and principles of Christ, shows the level of our knowledge of Him. It is however apparent that a lot of believers today do not know who they worship or what they subscribe to, because they have constructed a Christian-god for themselves in place of the God of all creation. Majority of believers have become like the folks Paul encountered in Athens, whom he addressed thus:
Men of Athens, I perceive in every way [on every hand and with every turn I make] that you are most religious or very reverent to demons. For as I passed along and carefully observed your objects of worship, I came also upon an altar with this inscription, “To the unknown god”. Now what you are already worshiping as unknown, this I set forth to you. The God Who produced and formed the world and all things in it, being Lord of heaven and earth…Acts 17:22-24
In the last article, GOD IS NOT A CHRISTIAN I tried to explain that God does not have a religion, and neither did He create any. He is the God of all creation and He is interested in all His creation. He also did not send Jesus Christ to set up a religion called Christianity, but simply to show us the way back to Him. Unbelievers came up with the name Christians in the first place (Acts 11:26), and later believers created the religion Christianity, and then it was added to the list of world’s religions. While Jesus Christ is the WAY (John 14:6) back to God, religion in whatever name tag is man’s own way of reaching God, which will always remain limited and inaccurate. God can only be accessed based on His terms and not by any human invention.
I was at a dinner recently with a number of people of different nationals. From the discussions I discovered that some of them were agnostics, while others belong to different new age religions. The discussion was on the subject of religion, and the attainment of enlightenment. The discussion was quite interesting as I kept quiet and listen to each one of them analyse different religious beliefs, with their perceived shortcomings and excesses. One thing they all seem to agree on was the superiority of the values and principles of Jesus Christ, but decried the way Christians misrepresent Him, which has become a major turn off for them, and why they keep looking for other ways of making sense of life. While this excuse will not suffice on judgment day, I found it enlightening and instructive. I sat there wondering how the misrepresentation of Christ has discouraged many from embracing the WAY.
While at the table pondering on how we have bastardised the way, thereby discouraging many, one vital point stood out from the discussion. And it is that if believers have not become (religious) Christians, but choose to truly live like Christ, then many more would have been able to discover and follow the way He came to show to humanity. This misrepresentation was aptly described by Prophet Isaiah when he said: “But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man” (Isaiah 52:14). Some have interpreted this passage to mean the wound inflicted on Him by the Roman soldiers before His crucifixion. But He was not really beaten beyond recognition. Isaiah was rather seeing into our day and describing the current misrepresentation of Jesus Christ in Christendom.
The essence of subscribing to the values and principles of Jesus Christ is for us to know, become and live like Him in the earth, which is what the world is yet to see. People are lost and most of them are looking for the way. But as His ambassadors, we are failing in our representation and presentation, which has made a lot of people turn their back on Him and seeking other means of reaching the Father. When we begin to accurately represent Jesus Christ, Isaiah noted that: “… He will startle many nations; kings will stand speechless in His presence. For they will see what they had not been told; they will understand what they had not heard about” (Isaiah 52:15).
Recently, a friend in Nigeria was complaining about the power situation in the country and was jokingly asking that I should come and find a solution to it. I told her there was a solution nearby. I said two or three Pentecostal churches in Nigeria can pull resources together (not special offering from the congregation) from their existing financial chest to fund and solve our energy crisis without feeling a pinch. Unfortunately, such social service investment would not yield the required returns. They would rather invest in real estates, educational institutions and other high profit yielding ventures. Imagine the difference it would make if the Church in Nigeria make such an impact in the lives of everyone particularly unbelievers. Let’s even imagine the difference it would make if our mega (influential) Pastors speak the truth to themselves, their congregations and political leaders about corruption and good governance. I bet that it would become difficult to loot public funds meant for such projects.
“… let your light shine before people so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven” Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:16.