We Are Deceived If We Are Missing The Revelation Of Jesus!
In the last post, we talked about how human tradition has influenced scripture translation. We are into considering scholarship, history, and context. However, if our approach to scripture is merely intellectual, we end up being deceived. God’s word is a seed, and it is meant to grow and produce something in us. God wants his word to be made flesh in us!
John 1:14 NRSV And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
This scripture is about Jesus. God’s word and his invisible nature were manifest in a man. Scripture teaches we are the body of Christ, joined to him, his Spirit indwelling us. It says Christ in you is the hope of glory. So God’s word also must be made flesh in us! God’s word being made flesh in us is his nature, peace, joy, grace, love, power, and glory becoming evident in our lives and not just theories we talk about. Scripture is about revealing Jesus, and if you miss the revelation of Jesus, you are deceived. Yup, I tell this to myself all the time! How do we know if Jesus is being revealed to us?
2 Peter 1:2 (NRSV) May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Some other versions say “Grace and peace be multiplied to you.” If Jesus is being revealed to me it is evident in a superabundance of grace and peace. It’s evident in the fruit of the Spirit. It’s evident in the ability to love my enemies. And it’s evident in power. To the extent these things are lacking, I am deceived!
Is your theology leading you into an encounter with Jesus?
John 5:37-42 (NRSV) And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent. “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept glory from human beings. But I know that you do not have the love of God in you.
Two Ways To Be Deceived When You Read The Bible
There are two ways to be deceived when we read the Bible. One is failing to correctly handle the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
In many cases, people’s theology is not producing a revelation of Christ because their theology is twisted by human tradition and is absolutely unable to produce the fruit of power, love, and righteousness. God’s word correctly handled or “divided” (as the KJV puts it) always produces a revelation of Jesus. If it is not producing the revelation of Christ, it must be questioned! There are all kinds of theologies out there that produce powerlessness, dead religion, and anything but the nature of Christ manifesting in people! Is your theology producing an abundance of grace and peace multiplying to you in the knowledge of Jesus?
I recently interacted with a young church leader who is going into error. I challenged him because his pastor told everyone “If you want to receive my anointing and be a part of this ministry, you must eat my flesh and drink my blood.” We only eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus! Yet this young guy insisted that he wants to eat the flesh and drink the blood of his pastor, and he insisted it is a justifiable statement. This is a grave error that is far more obvious than many of the subtle errors that sneak in with human tradition and powerless religion! He was also angry with me for questioning him. After conversing with this guy, I challenged him. “The way you are going is not going to produce the grace and peace that come from the knowledge of Christ in your life. My communion with Christ enabled me to turn around and pray for the guy who threatened to kill me and kidnap my daughter. But the way you are going is not going to enable you to love your enemies like that. This is how you can know it is deception. It will not bring life to you.” I am sure that the more he continues on his current path, the mental torment will increase. And I pray he remembers my words and repents!
There is yet another way to be deceived. Even if we have quite a bit of the right theology but are hearers only of God’s word and don’t put it into practice, if we do not have God’s word and his love abiding in us, made flesh in us, producing fruit in us, we are deceived! So we have nothing to boast about! It’s not enough to intellectually understand God’s word. We must receive it
James 1:21-25 (NRSV) Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.
How Right Can You Be And Still Be Wrong?
Lately, I’ve been writing a few things more related to current events and politically charged topics. I don’t believe Christians should stay out of such discussions! Yet I’ve had to do this quite prayerfully and be careful that I’m always beholding Christ in the middle of it. I can be so right about many things, but if God’s word isn’t being manifest and abiding in me, I am deceived!
Dan Mohler recently shared a word he felt was from the Lord for the whole world. I felt it was on target. We need to be careful in these times to never start seeing people as our enemies. The deception that blinds them is our enemy. Are grace and peace manifesting in abundance in my life? If not, I can be all right and still wrong!
Inoculated Against The Gospel?
There came a time when I realized I had been inoculated against the gospel. Scientists produce a weakened, half-dead version of a virus and introduce it in order to make people develop resistance against the real thing. Similarly, a weakened, half-dead, powerless version of the gospel, truth mixed with error, produces resistance against the real thing.
Romans 1:16 (NRSV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
1 Peter 1:8-9 (NRSV) …you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
A gospel message with no power is an inoculation. It’s not pure. So is a gospel message that doesn’t produce joy. Is the gospel you believe producing an unspeakable job in you, manifesting in power, and enabling you to behold God through Christ so that your face glows with his glory? I ask myself this all the time. If what I’m looking at isn’t producing that joy, I’m deceived. Either my gospel is warped and weakened, or I have my eyes off of the gospel message and I’ve lost sight of what Jesus has done for me!
Christians need to hear the gospel proclaimed with fresh power because many of us have been inoculated against living by the power of the gospel! More than once, I have needed to be re-sensitized to a pure and powerful gospel message. Everywhere I go, my desire is that Christians be re-sensitized to the gospel, de-inoculated, presented with the real thing in its purest and strongest form so that they realize they’ve been duped!
John 6:63 (NRSV) It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
How do we read the Bible? Yes, we appreciate scholarship, historical context, and Greek words. But we don’t approach it in a merely intellectual fashion. Read the Bible in the spirit and not in the flesh! God’s words are spirit, so as you read the Bible, receive the Spirit of Christ and let the implanted word become flesh in you, manifesting Christ’s power and nature through you!
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Go to Heaven Now!