Pastor Gary Lewis
Our Hope is Christ
Our Eternal Hope is Jesus Christ
By Pastor Gary Lewis
A majority of American adults say Jesus was a great teacher and nothing more during his lifetime. Even more concerning for Christianity, nearly one-third of evangelicals in the survey agreed that Jesus isn’t God. Newsweek recently published the results of the 2020 survey by Ligonier Ministries, a Florida-based nonprofit, recently.
The survey found 52 percent of U.S. adults say they believe Jesus Christ is not God. I cannot stop thinking about the implications of this study. Now that it has been published and distributed widely, the American church’s drift from God’s Word is now forever documented. The findings of the survey were collected from 3,000 of our fellow citizens, including 630 self-described evangelicals.
The implications are stunning to consider. But as I survey church history, this really isn’t all that new. Folks have been willing and eager to accept Jesus as a great teacher, but the truth is a bitter pill to swallow for many. I recall the writing of C.S. Lewis who wrote, “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the devil of Hell. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.”
If Jesus is just a great teacher, the whole idea of salvation – the self-giving love of the Father through the Son to whom we are drawn by the Holy Spirit – collapses. If Christ’s sacrifice is not God’s act of self-giving love, then it is simply the cruel demand of a judge who must exact a pound of flesh. The cross becomes a symbol of undeserved punishment upon an undeserving other instead of a sacrificial willingness of God to take sin and death upon himself.
If we accept the idea that Jesus teaches us how to be a good person, then being a good person is the goal of life. And if that is true, then we lose any real understanding of the power of sin over our lives, the spiritual grip that it has over thoughts and emotions. We would lose any real sense in which our lives have to be redeemed, that we cannot save ourselves, that we are utterly dependent upon God.
Jesus Christ is our eternal hope. He is the Son of God; he is fully human and fully divine. We believe in Jesus Christ; God manifest in the flesh. Yes, he is our teacher and example, but he is much more. Jesus was there at the very creation of the world. He is part of what we know as the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.