Monday, June 10, 2024

Why Aren't YOU Jesus Christ-Centered?

by Leonard V. Johnson

We speak of this all the time – in fact, in our last Think About This… that was a large part of the subject matter. A great many in the splinter groups of the Church of God are still living bound up, worshiping the Old Covenant way along with Old Covenant principles. And I had asked the question – Are you preparing to rule with Jesus Christ, or are you actually (even though you may not fully realize it) preparing to rule with Moses!? A metaphor for the Armstrong’s!? As in the Armstrong churches. There is one group that we know in which its leader doesn’t even acknowledge or speak our Lord Jesus Christ’s great and powerful name!

Are you ashamed of Jesus Christ? Are you afraid to even mention His glorious and holy name? Or are you fully and completely focused and centered on JESUS CHRIST?

We have been told that we speak of Jesus Christ too much! I don’t know how that is possible – but we certainly are accused of it – by our detractors. And we speak of our Lord Jesus so much, that one of this world’s 21st century witnesses was thrown out of an Armstrong church! Because they have delegated the name of our Lord Jesus to the realm of maudlin conversation – mostly during Passover.

Our Lord Jesus Christ says to us – “’ For WHOEVER is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes [with] the glory of His Father with the holy angels.’” – Mark 8:38.

Sadly, even TODAY, there are peoples in this world who spit, mock, and laugh at His most glorious name! I met one yesterday on YouTube – Sean Clark – a sad person who looks like a follower of Satan the Devil. And I’m certain he would be proud of that statement. But, he is not the only one – there are literally millions upon millions that continually mock our Lord Jesus! In fact, our Lord Jesus asks -

“ … ‘ Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?’” – Luke 18:8. 

And, as I’ve spoken of before – it’s not just faith in the religion of Christianity, but it’s more akin to faith in a Creator! Faith in God! According to a recent Gallup survey, the percentage of U.S. adults who believe in God has dropped to its lowest point since at least 1944. 17% of U.S. adults say they do not believe in God. That’s 45 MILLION U.S. Adults! 1

Why should a leader of any professing Christian organization squirm at the mention of our loving Creator, Elder Brother, and great High Priest!? Now, make no mistake about it ─ if you are expecting to be saved you had better begin acknowledging our Lord Jesus Christ and His New Covenant Promises IMMEDIATELY in your life! Because –

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12.

Our Lord Jesus Christ alone is the only ONE that can rescue you from the inevitable penalty of eternal death which every single one of us has incurred! He is our only hope of ETERNAL LIFE!

For if you think that our Lord Jesus Christ is a joke, and if you think that He did not die, and if you think He was not resurrected unto life – no Savior – then “…’ you will die in your sins.’” – John 8:24. And, eventually ─

“ … ‘unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’” – Luke 13:1-5.

Great confusion concerning the resurrection of the dead was occurring then in the Church at Corinth and is continuing to be taught by this world’s Mother Church and her daughter churches –
“Later New Testament writings offered assurance that the dead were with God, but eventually Christian theology was overtaken by the body/soul distinction found in Greek philosophy. The human self, who survives after death through the ‘soul,’ awaits the final judgment when the soul will be united with body.” 2
As usual, in Catholicism, confusion abounds! Their Catholic belief becomes even more confusing –
“Those who are in heaven will remain in heavenly bliss, but it will then be a bodily, physical bliss, not just bliss for their souls.” 3
“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13) But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14) And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.” – 1 Corinthians 15:12-14.

Words alone are not sufficient to magnify the supremacy, the majesty, the glory, and the meaning of our Lord Jesus Christ to those who will fulfill their ultimate destiny!

“ … God [God the Father] also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name. 10) that at the name of JESUS every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth [those that are currently dead and will eventually be resurrected unto life].” – Philippians 2:9-10.

ANYONE who DOES NOT acknowledge or speak our Lord Jesus Christ’s great and powerful name is not Christian at all!

The Apostle Paul was certainly the most Jesus Christ-centered of all the apostles. For he wrote – under the divine inspiration of God’s Spirit –

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21.

He was 100% with our Lord Jesus Christ! There is nothing more important to preach than to “ … ‘seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His [our Lord Jesus Christ’s] righteousness, …’” – Matthew 6:33. And, there is no other MORE IMPORTANT than our Lord Jesus Christ!

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2) For I determined not to know anything among you except JESUS CHRIST and Him crucified.” – 1 Corinthians 2:1-2.

Our beloved Apostle Paul and the other apostles, and the early first-century true Christians were keenly aware and conscious of a living relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. “Now he who KEEPS HIS COMMANDMENTS abides in Him, and He in him. And by this, we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit [which] He has given us.” – 1 John 3:24.

The very mind of our Lord Jesus takes up residence within a true Christian through His Spirit! The Apostle Paul speaks of this – “ … Christ in you, the hope of glory.” – Colossians 1:27.

We speak quite a bit about the concept of CHRIST IN YOU!

It actually comes from a phrase that we read about in Romans 8:10 when the Apostle Paul says, “But you are not in the flesh but IN THE SPIRIT, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if ANYONE does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” – Romans 8:9-10.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are [children] of God.” – Romans 8:14.

And since JESUS CHRIST is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17) and your body is the temple of the Spirit – which is Christ in you, we must be nourished daily by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!! Christianity is a growth process. The begotten child of God MUST grow! And this growing process requires TIME! We MUST overcome these three – Satan the Devil, this world, and our own SELVES!

How Does One Know What Righteousness Is?

No human being is righteous in the sight of God of and by himself. It is the righteousness of our Lord Jesus that makes us clean in the sight of God. “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no not one; …’” – Romans 3:10. We are all sinners – without exception. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – vs. 23. And without proper repentance and the belief in the gospel (Mark 1:15) we are all doomed to pay the ultimate penalty for our sins which is eternal death in the lake of fire.

But, the LORD God be praised from ages to ages, there has been provided – from the beginning – a Master Plan for the redemption of all mankind! Despite ourselves! Our Lord Jesus Christ says, “’ I am the Way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” – John 14:6.

THROUGH our Lord Jesus anyone can be made righteous in the eyes of God the Father!

How are we saved by our Lord Jesus!?

We are justified by faith in Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice.

“But NOW the righteousness of God apart from the law [the law of Moses] is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22) even the righteousness of God, THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; … 24) being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25) whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because of His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26) to demonstrate AT THE PRESENT TIME His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” – Romans 3:21-22, 24-26.

“THEREFORE, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God [God the Father] through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2) through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” – Romans 5:1-2.

Our Lord Jesus Christ – and Him alone – is our source of salvation. This is why He is called the ‘Captain of our salvation’ – Hebrews 2:10.

Anyone who would be saved MUST be willing to recognize, acknowledge, understand, and admit that JESUS of Nazareth is their “Lord” or “Master.”

There is no other way through which one may obtain mercy, justification, and ultimately eternal salvation.

The keeping of the Law – or the law of Moses – will save no one!

The Apostle Paul makes this abundantly clear –

“Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the Law is the knowledge of sin.” – Romans 3:20.

The Law of God (summed up with the Ten Commandments) merely points out what sin is. “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” – 1 John 3:4. The Law of God simply convicts all of us of sin. We are condemned by the Law of God as SINNERS! Not one person – past, present, or future – has or ever will obey the Law of God perfectly – except our Lord Jesus Christ.

“For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.” – Romans 11:32.

So, keeping God’s Law cannot make one righteous. It cannot justify past sins. It cannot save us from the penalty of past sins.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ alone can do that!

Our whole future is entirely in the glorious hands of our Lord Jesus Christ –

“For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, WE ARE THE LORD’S.” – Romans 14:8.

Anyone who is not CHRIST-CENTERED is not a true Christian!

The Apostle Paul writes, “And so there is no place for human pride in the presence of God. YOU ARE IN CHRIST JESUS by God’s act, for God has made Him our wisdom; He is our righteousness; in Him we are consecrated and set free. And so (in the words of Scripture), ‘If a man must boast, let him boast of the Lord.’” – 1 Corinthians 1:30, NEB.

Any righteousness that a true Christian may possess is not their own, but is of Christ Jesus!

It is our Lord Jesus who sets us apart (who sanctifies us), and purchases us from certain eternal death (who redeems us).

“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” – 1 Corinthians 6:20.

Our Lord Jesus Christ – no man – is the Head of His Church which is the Body of Christ!

“And He is the head of the body, the Church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” – Colossians 1:18.

Our Lord Jesus Christ leads His Church through His Spirit and the seven Spirits who are before His throne – cf. Revelation 1:4. THERE IS NO HUMAN MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MAN! “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” – 1 Timothy 2:5. This is the awesome meaning behind the ripping of the veil in the temple –

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51) Then, behold the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; …” – Matthew 27:50, 51.

Our relationship with God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ is through JESUS CHRIST! It is not “filtered” through any man. We are fully accountable to our ultimate Judge (Jesus Christ) for our actions and our sins in this physical life. He will judge “the secrets of men” on the last day. He tells us, brethren, “’ Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have that no one may take your crown.’” – Revelation 3:11. Of course, our Lord Jesus has true servants, but there is no “Vicar of Christ.” Meaning, there is no person acting in place of Jesus Christ.

Saved By Jesus Christ

A true Christian must internalize his belief and his faith in Jesus Christ.

God the Father first calls out a begotten child for the kingdom and brings him to true repentance, baptism, and the laying on of hands – receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. And once begotten, the true Christian walks in “newness of life” – Romans 6:4.

Then, a begotten child of God is “hidden with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:3. The begotten child of God believes explicitly in Jesus Christ to save him. He knows and believes that is only by faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood that he can be justified in the eyes of God for sins. The begotten child of God looks to no other for eternal salvation.

“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” – Hebrews 7:25.

The begotten child knows that “ … having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” – Romans 5:9.

And, the begotten child of God knows that “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are [children] of God.” – Romans 8:14.

The shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ “cleanses us from all sin” – 1 John 1:7. We are reconciled to God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.

We look forward to receiving the glorious promise of eternal life and immortality upon the first resurrection. □


1) Pitofsky, M. Number of US adults who believe in God has dropped 6% since 2017, poll shows, USA Today, 17 June 2022.
2) McBrien, R., The resurrection of the dead, National Catholic Reporter, 23 May 2011.
3) Nunez, JP, Understanding the Resurrection of the Dead, Catholic 365, 3 Aug. 2021.

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