Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Unshadowed Christ

2 Corinthians 4:1-5  Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake.

Here Paul draws a clear line of distinction between the Lord Jesus & himself. Consider that Paul held the highest church office (biblically) attainable- that of apostle. Indeed, although he coins the term later in 2 Corinthians in derision when referring to some false apostles, if there really were a class of such that could be termed “super apostles”, he would surely be included, on the basis of his extensive ministry (Act 9:15) &, in hindsight today, the volume of his writing standing the test of time in being considered by the church to entirely “God-breathed” .

So when this particular fellow, who God especially “entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised” (Gal. 2:7), & holding the highest of status in the Church, states that he will not preach himself out of utter deference to Christ, what room does that leave for those not even being apportioned his status (all of us in the present day) to trumpet ourselves? Where do we find cause to preach ourselves if even the likes of Paul refused to preach himself?

Some (e.g. Mormons & “Word of Faith” Charismatics) treat Christ as if He were little more than a spiritual pioneer, a trailblazer of the Christian’s road to holiness. Their esteem of Him extends little further than what we would attribute a wise teacher, of whom we consider ourselves capable of following entirely towards a similar measure of stature. In contrast to Paul, they are not concerned with encroaching upon the holiness of our Savior for the sake of elevating themselves. They attempt to make the everlasting uniqueness of Christ’s godliness into a ubiquitous godliness, attainable by all…
“After you become a good Mormon, you have the potential of becoming a god.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345-347, 354.)

“You don't have a god in you, you are one.” -Kenneth Copeland (from his sermon The Force of Love)

Kenneth Copeland, relating what he says Christ told him directly- "Don't be disturbed when people accuse you of thinking you're God -the more you get to be like me, the more they're going to think that way of you. They crucified me for claiming that I was God. But I didn't claim I was God, I just claimed I walked with Him and that He was in me" (The Believer’s Voice of Victory magazine, August 1988, p. 8)

“You are as much the incarnation of God as Jesus Christ was… The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.” -Kenneth Hagin (Word of Faith magazine, December 1980, p. 14)

Instead of giving ear to these deceivers assailing Christ’s godly glory, turn the television off & defer instead to true biblical exegetes; i.e.- John Calvin’s commentary on 2Cor. 4:5-

Here, however, all pastors of the Church are admonished as to their state and condition, for by whatever title of honor they may be distinguished, they are nothing more than the servants of believers, and unquestionably, they cannot serve Christ, without serving his Church at the same time. An honorable servitude this is, and superior to any principality, but still it is a servitude, so that Christ alone may be elevated to distinction, not encumbered by the shadow of a single rival. Hence it is the part of a good pastor, not merely to keep aloof from all desire of domineering, but to regard it as the highest pitch of honor, at which he aspires, that he may serve the people of God. It is the duty of the people, on the other hand, to esteem the servants of Christ first of all on the ground of the dignity of their Master, and then farther on account of the dignity and excellence of their office, that they may not despise those, whom the Lord has placed in so illustrious a station.

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