Perspectives are important. The way that we look at things and the angle in which we see them shapes our view, our thoughts, and our feelings. The most important perspective that anyone could ever have, is their perspective of God, and His gospel. The way that we see things can influence the position that we take or the steps that we make.
We touched on this a little bit about a month ago as part of another subject, but this topic is crucial enough that it warrants its own study. Our perspectives specifically of God, His Gospel, and our position in Christ Jesus can literally make or break us.
So today we are going to explore our perspectives regarding Jesus and His gospel, because the scriptures are not silent on this subject; in-fact, proper perspectives are quite important – let’s find out why.
How Do You See Jesus?
The absolutely fundamental issue to this topic is what our perspective of Jesus Christ. This is a more nuanced point than what you may expect. We aren’t just talking about whether you believe in Jesus, but specifically how you believe on Him. It’s possible to believe in Jesus Christ in a manner which still significantly robs Him of power.
For example, believing that He exists, but that His salvation is largely inconsequential or irrelevant to your daily life. While that may seem strange, such belief is rather common in todays Christianity. While its sad to say, I’ve spoken with many people who hold a dead and powerless form of belief, where they either see Jesus as uninterested, unable or unwilling to offer any kind of help or assistance.
Of course this isn’t anything new, this was happening even during ancient biblical times as well. Jesus even spoke about it Himself, and experienced it when He walked the earth. Take for example our first scripture of Matthew 13:54-57:
“ 54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, From where has this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brothers, James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas?
56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? From where then has this man all these things?
57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house.
58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”
This section of scripture picks up immediately after finished teaching and healing people. Typically, you would assume that they would be overjoyed to be being taught by Jesus, and have Him walking among them and performing miracles.
However, what we actually see, is that they were astonished in a negative sense. Verse 55 is especially interesting here, look at they said: Is this not the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother called Mary? Aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Are not all his sisters here with us?
And we can see in verse 57 we see that they were offended in him. Pause and meditate on that statement for a few minutes. They weren’t merely confused, they were offended in Jesus!
And a consequence of their offense is seen in verse 58, He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
A key factor here to notice is the way that the people in these verses saw Jesus – notice what their perspective of Him is. They didn’t see Jesus as anything special, they didn’t see Him as God, or worthy of any special recognition. They simply saw Jesus as a normal person, just an average guy. And as a result, they disregarded Him, and actually took offense in Him.
What we can learn from this is that its important to see Jesus with the proper perspective. If you see Jesus as just a normal person, nothing special, then even His sacrifice will lose its potency for you. If you don’t see Jesus as someone who is able and willing to help, then your own unbelief will prevent you from receiving such help.
If Jesus is your savior, then what does that mean for you only a daily basis? If you stand in His righteousness, blessed with every blessing as Ephesians 1:3 says (which we looked at a few weeks ago), then that can and should have a powerful effect on every aspect of your life.
Living a divinely miraculous life should not be unusual for someone who has the Spirit of Christ indwelling them. Please consider that, my friend. God did not give you His Spirit for no purpose… and the scriptures make a point to mention that His Spirit is a Spirit of power (2nd Timothy 1:7).
These details are in the scripture for a reason. God wants us to fully know, understand, and receive the marvelous reality of what He has accomplished for us and given to us.
And this all ultimately boils down to how you see Jesus. Why do so many “Christians” seem to be living weak and powerless lives? Being dominated by the enemy and never experiencing victory? The scriptures do not leave us guessing about this either.
An Impotent Dead Religion
The scriptures describe a sobering warning concerning this in 2nd Timothy 3:1-7:
“ 1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive immature women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Now it’s important to understand that “the last days” here does not refer to the tribulation. It can sometimes be confusing to keep all of the terminology straight, but in this case, the “last days” refers to the times leading-up to the rapture, as also mentioned in 1st John 2:18.
We can see in verse 1 that perilous (or grievous) times will come, and we aren’t left wondering what those times will be like; we’re given a detailed description.
In verses 2, 3 and 4, we see all the natural side-effects of these times, that men (meaning mankind, humanity) will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, prideful, boastful, abusive, disobedient, unholy, heartless, slanderous and without self-control. (Obviously nothing like today, right?)
However, verse 5 is where things start to get intriguing… it says that these people have a form of godliness while denying its power.
Then they go and lead others astray as well – those who are burdened with sins and desperately need Jesus – yet they are confused and blocked. And as verse 7 says, these people are ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
These two verses are quite interesting! Notice that verse 5 mentions that these people have a form of godliness, not actual godliness! They have a form of godliness, but deny its power. I’ve spoken with a number of people who say that they believe in Jesus, but deny any power surrounding what that belief entails.
There are some I have known who are constantly learning bible facts and trivia about the scriptures and Jesus (names, dates, historical bible facts), but never coming to actual knowledge of the truth.
Now Please don’t misunderstand me; there’s nothing wrong with learning bible facts, doing word studies or learning new things – I’m definitely in favor of learning… but especially when it comes to the gospel and Jesus Christ, you should pay close attention to what you are learning about Jesus.
It’s quite tempting to read the scriptures with legalistic lenses on and insert our own works into the equation. As I mentioned earlier, Jesus Himself spoke about this. We studied that previously, and I would encourage you to view that message.
The point is that just because we may be hearing about Jesus, or even hearing the scripture being read or quoted in church services, does not mean that we are hearing the gospel message. It is possible to be “ever learning, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.”
I’m not saying that to frighten you, but to open your awareness to the reality that such a scenario can and does happen.
Coming Up Next Week…
What we have seen here today is the importance of having the right perspective of Jesus, and how destructive a wrong perspective can be.
Now in next week’s study we will continue to look at what our perspective of Jesus should look like, as we see Him in all of His glory.
I look forward to thriving with you next week.