A fundamental flaw
The following video has been making its way around the internet recently. In it, Jefferson Bethke delivers a powerful and well-crafted spoken word poem. Bethke states that the point of his video is “to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion.” His video has generated quite a bit of controversy, with most of it revolving around the word “religion” and its meaning. However, I think people on both sides of the debate have missed the real issue.
There is some really good stuff in this video, and yet it contains a fundamental flaw.
There is a line in his poem that says “See because religion says do, Jesus says done.”
This is wrong. The word “done” signifies that something is complete, finished, over. This belies a flaw in the thinking of most Christians. We have been told, and tend to believe, that the gospel is about Jesus, his death on a cross and how that creates the opportunity for us to have our sins forgiven and go to heaven.
But that is not the gospel.
Jesus is the gospel. It isn’t just his death, or his resurrection. It’s not an event, or what those events provide for us. It’s Him. All of him. “Jesus says done” makes sense only if being a Christian is about the cross. But there is so much more to it than that. Lots more. Jesus says that he is the beginning and the end. He says that he is “I am.” “I am” literally means “to be” and has the connotation of being presently active, as well as active in the past and the future. In John 14:6 Jesus said that he was life. In Gal. 2:20, Paul says “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Jesus came to bring life and freedom. In fact, Jesus becomes your life and your freedom. It is something active and continual.
This is huge.
Jesus doesn’t say do or done. Jesus says be. Jesus says live. We are to be in him. We are to abide in him. We are to live by his life. These are all present active actions, not some passive thing that has happened in the past and has no bearing on our life today.
But this is not something we “do.” It is something we become, in Christ.