It is common to think about Christianity about “following Jesus.” And Jesus, of course, is the best model to follow because He lived a sinless life. He is the greatest teacher that ever lived; He gave us the “golden rule.” So, certainly, the world would be a much better place if everyone followed Jesus.
How is this different than the claims of the Buddhists who want to follow Buddha, or the Muslims who follow their prophet and the teachings of Allah? Or Hindus who strive to live “good lives”?
You see, all religions have this in common: the goal is to live better lives, to be loving, kind, and compassionate to one another. We are all after “world peace,” and there are certainly many ideas and opinions as to the best way to reach that goal. If that is the case, then the Universalists have it right – just choose the path that works for you because, at the end of the day, we are all headed toward the same goal. Right?
Don’t shoot me yet… I’m going somewhere.
I know there is a VAST difference between Christianity and every other religion in the world. But at face value, if all the world is hearing from us is that we need to be “followers of Jesus,” then they are right in assessing that Christianity is just one among many options.
But being a Christian is not about imitating the actions of Jesus. It is about being born again, born of the Spirit. It is about our nature being changed, our spirit being made alive again by the Holy Spirit, so that, as Paul says, “it is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me.”
You can imitate Jesus all day long – even study the Bible and endeavor to follow all of its principles and precepts; but if you are not born of the Spirit, you are not a Christian. You do not have eternal life.
Notice that the Bible says that God “anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him.” So, you want to be a follower of Jesus? Then you need to be anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power.
Salvation is more than an assent to a moral or ethical code; it is a supernatural event, initiated by God, of which we can partake by receiving what He has done for us. We accept His gift and receive the Holy Spirit and then, only then, are we saved. And the, as sons and daughters of God, we can live a radically different life – a life of partnership in the Father’s mission, by the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The world needs to see a supernatural Church – a Church that moves in the power of the Holy Spirit; a Church that doesn’t point an accusing finger to those enslaved by sin, but that proclaims God’s compassion and healing to the broken and the outcast. If we are to imitate Jesus, let’s be filled with the Spirit and do the works of the Father. If we are to imitate Jesus, let it be in the supernatural expression of God’s compassion.
Dr. Chiqui Polo-Wood | All Rights Reserved 2016