What About Jesus?
"All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession." --Heb. 4:13,14
We cannot know the essence of God. Many figures in the Bible express this truth: the nature of God's being is incomprehensible to us. "Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?" (Job 11:7). "To whom will you liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto Him?" (Is. 40:18).
This does not mean, however, that we cannot have true knowledge about God. The Apostle John wrote, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." (John 1:18)
It is Jesus Christ "with whom we have to do." In him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). The surest way to spiritual shipwreck and damnation is to speculate on the nature of God, seeking to penetrate His essence, while neglecting and denying Jesus Christ. Jesus said it plainly: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). Even His disciples didn't understand Him at that time, and one of them asked, "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us" (John 14:8). Jesus set him, and us, straight: "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?" (John 14:9).
In spiritual things, it is Jesus or it is nothing. If we are in Jesus Christ by faith, then he "of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1Cor. 1:30) Those who have the Son have life: they have all they need, for in Jesus Christ dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and we are complete in him (Col. 2:9). Unbelief fails to grasp this fundamental Christian concept, and seeks to add moral precepts, law-keeping, ceremonies, or other things. Sadly, these very things, intended to be helpers to faith, if thought as an obedience required to gain a blessing, come between the soul and Christ, so that the soul is cut off from the very source of its life and vigor.
Obedience out of thankfulness for blessing, and obedience in order to secure a blessing are two very different things. The forgiven soul is baptized into Christ and engrafted into Him by the Holy Spirit. He must bring forth fruits of thankfulness, but those who move the soul away from Christ by the curses of the law, are teachers of error. (Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 62-64)
Must the faithful maintain good works? Of course. But the spirit of that obedience must be in grace. There is a world of difference between the true obedience of light--joy and thankfulness for God's blessings--and the slavish obedience of darkness--fearing God's curse if our obedience is found wanting. Absolute and Perfect Obedience is found only in Heaven, at the right hand of God. Perfectionism of all stripes--Wesleyan, Keswick, Pentecostalism, or legal or theological--all drive the soul from Christ crucified, the only hope of the soul. Elitism is still elitism, no matter what the denominational name. The perfected church will be found only in Heaven, made up of perfected saints. There is only one kind of Christian: he who by faith is complete in Christ.
It is Jesus with whom we have to do. "Come unto Me," are His words, "and I will give you rest." When you have come to Jesus Christ, you have come to God. There is nowhere else to go. Not to the law, not to the ceremonies, not to the priesthood. Nathaniel understood it: "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel." (John 1:49) Thomas was blessed for his faith: "My Lord and My God." (John 20:28, 29).
Pastor C. W. Powell
Trinity Covenant RCUS
Colorado Springs, CO