Read the Scripture: Colossians 1:15-20
I love a good smorgasbord. Who wouldn’t love a good smorgasbord, where there are dozens of choices in veggies, meats, breads, desserts?
Unfortunately, many people think about matters of faith the way they think about smorgasbords. For many people, faith is a strictly personal matter. Each of us, then, can assemble our own DYI concoction of faith elements, a sort of iFaith approach to spirituality. With this approach, we can build our own faith the way we build our favorite playlist. More of what I like and less (or none) of what I don’t like, and I create a faith composed of only my favorite components of spirituality:
I can decide how much conviction I want from my faith: Do I want my faith to make me uncomfortable at all, or only a little bit, or a great deal?
I can decide which of Christ’s commands I will obey: Some, after all, are so difficult and demanding and, by contemporary standards, so unreasonable.
More to the point, I can decide exactly what sort of Jesus I want to believe in: options include, among others, the radical activist Jesus, the moody mystical Jesus, and the God-and-Country Jesus.
This is what Paul was dealing with in his letter to the church in Colosse. The Christians there had adopted a view of Jesus in which Christ was neither fully God nor fully man. Jesus was something in between, the highest of all the created beings, divine but not actually God in human form. They thought of Jesus on their own terms, not his.
But Jesus will have none of it. He doesn’t come in to take sides but to take over. If Jesus is, as the Scriptures teach, both fully God and fully man, we simply don’t have the option of imagining him however we choose. We must accept Jesus on his terms or reject him altogether.
CS Lewis’s classic Mere Christianity lays it out this way:
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 the level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall as His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.