The Real Deal

I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:13–16, NIV)

The person of Jesus Christ separates true Christianity from all other “strategies” that people use to approach God. That’s because Christianity is not a strategy… it is a vehicle for salvation. Jesus Christ transports people from hell to heaven… and strategies cannot perform such a feat. It takes the real deal, Jesus Christ — and not the idea of Jesus Christ — to convert the soul.

People have many ideas about Jesus which do not line up with God's ideas about Jesus. Religious systems love to use his name and borrow from his credibility. But calling such systems Christian does not make them so, and invoking the name Jesus Christ while denying his true nature adds no credence to these enterprises. In fact, Jesus taught that at the judgment many who marched under his banner will be turned away from heaven (Matthew 7:21-23)… and since eternity hangs in the balance let me ask you, what’s in that name? Or more importantly, what’s in that person?

Many historical figures have come and gone… claiming to be specially anointed of God — and dragging millions of followers to their destruction. This evokes Satan as he dragged one-third of the host of heaven in the wake of his rebellion (Revelation 12:3-9). So, how does one separate out the false prophets from the true? God takes care of that.

First, he set things up so “he that has an ear” shall hear. God knows the human heart, and the words his prophets speak connect with earnest listeners. Second, he allows events to play-out — proving a prophet to be true or false. Third, his prophets sometimes performed miracles which testify to their connection with him. But with Jesus, God did even more.

God showed his approval with signs at Jesus’ baptism and at his transfiguration. The Father used an audible voice to declare that Jesus was his Son! This is singular… and this was God's stamp of approval on the person of Jesus Christ… and not just on the idea of Jesus Christ.

Peter's presence at the transfiguration helped solidify his belief that Jesus was the Christ — the Son of the living God! As such, he could then give testimony like few others that God's provision for the salvation of the world through Jesus Christ was the real deal… and not another cunningly devised fable. Workers of evil are far too ready to sell a false salvation to those who are far too ready to buy… because these also “have an ear.” But their ears are tuned to the voices of men, not to the voice of God.

God's stamp of approval went beyond Jesus’ ideas and it went beyond his words; it went to his person — and that makes all the difference! God gave this personal credence to Jesus Christ… which is fitting. God is a holy God, and sinful humans populate his creation… and there are no ideologies which can reconcile the two. There is, however, a person who can reconcile the two — Jesus Christ, Savior, Redeemer. He alone is the real deal.

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