2 Corinthians 11:3-4 - But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
No, Not “That” Jesus
These words on discernment, (or the lack thereof) from the Apostle Paul are familiar. His letter to the Galatian church, for example, is almost completely devoted to this line of thought. Jesus himself had much to say on this topic as well. Therefore, we probably ought to pay attention here.
Without an intentional effort on our part to be discerning in this world, we can become easily deceived. False teachers endeavor to tempt and seduce us with “Jesus-shaped” words that, in reality, are only perversions of the genuine article.
If It Could Happen to Them
Interestingly, Paul is not addressing a lukewarm congregation or group of pagans here. He is writing to those he doesn’t want to see led astray from their “sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” This is frightening because it reminds us that if we are not on our guard, we too can be easily led astray by smooth-talkers who bring a “Jesus” who is no Jesus at all. The undiscerning can be mesmerized by pleas for tolerance, relevance, peace, unity, or many other paths that would take them off the straight and narrow.
The path to the City of Destruction is wide and comfortable and is well beaten by many who have gone before us. The road to the Celestial City is narrow and fraught with trials and temptations and few there are who walk it.
But God’s grace is sufficient. And his power is made perfect in and through our weakness. We don’t have to fall prey to deception. We can trust God uncompromisingly, even in the fiery furnace of this world. If we keep our eyes open to the glorious vision of our Lord and hear his voice calling to us, we would see he has already walked down the narrow path before us, and if it was wide enough for him, it will be wide enough for us.
What are some practical ways you can discern the true Jesus from the imposters? In your experience, how is the Bible’s view of Jesus distorted by those who would water it down? If you were sharing Christ with a friend, what three or four essentials would you share with them about the Person and Work of Christ?
Grace and Truth,
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