Christ And The Gospel’s Polarising Effect.
John 10: 22 – 39.
The very existence of Jesus challenges the human capacity towards tolerance, invalidating any vacillation on one’s part; either one loves or hates Him. The Lord Himself was unequivocal in His judgments and instruction, and totally unambiguous on the need for His disciples’ obedience to God (Matt 7:16-23; Matt 10: 38; Matt 16: 24-27; Mark 4: 14-20; Rev 3: 14-16; c.f., Is 29:13). If He were just another teacher of good morals, His present stature would fall in with all the great philosophers of bygone eras, whose writings and pronouncements are rationally debated and passively appraised. But the claims of Christ do not elicit such personal benign detachment since Jesus Christ came to disrupt spiritual passivity within God’s space-time dimension – a continuum that bridges time, as we are familiar with in this world, with a future without end. If we were fully cognisant, our intolerance of cheap grace would alert us to our Lord’s persistent claims on our lives, in view of His own sacrifice at the cross, triumphing over Death. After all, we only have one Master!
Attempts at ameliorating the truth of Jesus’ teachings, no doubt would make Him less objectionable to many, but it diminishes the compelling power of the authentic Christ and His ministry of salvation, restoration, and sanctification. In His encounter with the Jews at the Feast of the Dedication at the Temple in Jerusalem, His assertions to His own divinity in the context as the Good Shepherd, drew a hostile response, and they attempted to kill Him. The discerning divide was not the fact that He spoke the truth, but that they refused to listen (John 10:22-39, esp., verse 27). The second emphatic characteristic was He knew those who belonged to Him. He knows everything about us, a reflection of the complete transparency between the Father and Son (John 10: 14-15)! However, our fallen human condition motivates us to hide from each other and from God at times, particularly with the occurrence of certain negative shameful proceedings. But a willing transparency is a requirement if we are to love without conditions and be content, for perfect love casts out fears. God has made provisions for us in that respect, to be transparently safe in Christ, and thereby, in community with each other too. There is no fence sitting with the Lord, we either belong to Him or we do not. The gospel compels us into an exclusive relationship with our Lord, where intimacy with God is only possible as we become transparent before God and men.
Furthermore, the message of the gospel assures us of our security in Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ debunked the requirement for us to exercise our will and intellectual prowess to earn our place in eternity. This unique Christian gospel presents to us the certainty of God’s determination towards our salvation through the atonement of His Son, without any human obligations, except for us to repent of our sins and to trust Him implicitly (Rom 5: 6-11; Rom 6: 8-11). There is sufficient grace for us to humbly know ourselves, and to embrace what God has done for us. Hence, our security in Christ is resolute (Col 3:3-4). Draw near to God and He will draw close to you (James 4:8).