John Macarthur has made the claim that there is “An eternal sin which can never be forgiven: to make the wrong evaluation of Christ.” To his assertion I must agree, yet with the caveat that a person may eventually come to understand the true Christ and be saved—all sins having been forgiven. Still, in the here and now, everyday, people flaunt a mistaken identity of Christ.
During recent debates throughout the culture, I have heard Christ spoken of, describing him as a person who is accepting in all that we as humans do. So, people assert… “Can’t we just accept each other the way that Christ accepts us?!” So! No rules. No judgments. Only acceptance.
It is true that in His first advent He came to pay the price for the gift of salvation to a broken world—as Savior He tore wide the veil which had so long separated mankind from a restored relationship with their Creator. Yet, it is in His second coming we will see another aspect of Jesus’ ministry, one who acts as judge to those who did not receive His redeeming work for their sin—those who did not repent, and genuinely place their faith in the true Biblical Christ.
It appears that many of those people are not reading the same Bible I am, or minimally, they are choosing to interpret the texts of Scripture in their favor, only choosing the convenient Christ, the one who would never judge them. Either way there is a mistaken identity of who He is—they are making the wrong evaluation of Christ.
In reality, He is both Savior and Judge. For clarity, perhaps it is helpful to understand Him in light of two time periods. Savior and Judge are defining roles which greatly describe His two comings.
At the first advent, John 3:16-18 informs us of the role of His first coming. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Jesus comes to reconcile a fallen Creation to the Father once again. That reconciliation is granted to all those who believe in His Name—who He is, and what He has done as the Christ—the Messiah!
In His second advent He comes to judge all those who did not accept His gracious offer made available on the Cross: Matthew 25:31-34 says “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom, which has been prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’”
It is Christ who adjudicates eternity for every individual. To believe in Christ is to truly follow Him, and His evaluation of Himself. To claim Christ accurately is to honor both of these roles assigned to Him by the Father—that of Savior and Judge.
Yes, Christ meets us where we are, broken, dirty, and dire… But He did not die so that we could wallow in sin, or be mired in our depravity all the longer; He does not leave us there. Rather, as we rightly embrace His messianic mission of reconciliation, He cleanses us from all the relational effects of sin. That righteousness bestowed upon us allows us to be reconciled to the God.
Galatians 5:19-21 tells us the truth: “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
It is safe to say we could include murder, lust, gossip, greed, pride and a bevy more (See Romans 1:28-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Those who are defined by the habitual character tags such as these will not enter Heaven.
The resume of Christ—who He is, and what He has done, and what He will do—is more extensive than His earthly ministry to date. He is human and divine, Spirit and flesh, Lion and Lamb, Shepherd and Sheep, Savior and future Judge, Eternal God.
A wrong evaluation of Christ places us in the wrong camp. Thank God however, a wrong evaluation of Christ may be forgiven in this life, as one moves in the correct understanding of the fullness of Christ, and follows that up with the appropriate response: Repentance from sin, and Faith in the true Christ!