We’ve made Jesus too nice in our attempt to get more people to put their trust in Him. Our measure of success is now based on numbers rather than commitment. Once again, I defer to the wisdom of A.W. Tozer to say it best: “The meek and lowly Jesus has displaced the high and holy Jesus in the minds of millions. The vibrant note of triumph is missing in our witness…
[The early Church] never presented Him as Savior merely. It never occurred to them to invite people to receive ‘peace of mind’ or ‘peace of soul’. Nor did they stop at forgiveness or joy or happiness.” The Jesus of modern Christianity is the least offensive person in history. This is a far cry from the way Jesus lived and taught.
We’ve made Jesus too nice. We now teach a Jesus who tolerates all things and turns a blind eye to sin. He just wants you to be happy. He wants you to be both healthy and wealthy. We promise – if not directly, then certainly by implication – that following Jesus will fix all your problems and allow you to live your best life now. The glaring hole in this teaching is Jesus taught the opposite. Jesus taught we would have many troubles here on earth (John 16:33). Following Jesus is all about preparing for the next life, not the one we are living now. Everything we do on earth is preparing us for eternity. Your best life will never be found in the now.
Another way we’ve made Jesus too nice is by preaching a gospel permitting us to live as we see fit. We’ve incorporated the counter-cultural ways of Jesus into the comfortable culture of our day. These two cultures cannot coexist in any sort of harmony. We are called out, separated, and commanded to live differently from the world around us (1 Peter 2:9). Your habits and dreams may be in direct conflict with the will and ways of God. Continuing to pursue those things is not okay. It is not acceptable to Jesus. For those who continue to willfully thumb their nose at the commands of Christ, they do so at their own peril.
That Jesus is love is beyond question or doubt. In that regard, He is the nicest, most wonderful being to ever walk the earth. But to stop there is to make Him one-dimensional and, honestly, a bit boring. Jesus is the One who compassionately healed the sick, deaf, and blind. He is the One who raised friends from the grave. But Jesus is also the One who called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers (Matthew 23:33). He’s the One who overturned all the vendor’s tables in the temple (John 2:14-16). Jesus never condoned sin and took every opportunity to speak against it. As the Creator and God of the Universe, Jesus has every right to expect our service and devotion. He has every right to expect us to obey His commands.
We must understand He is holding back the forces of evil from our lives. He is holding back the natural consequence of our sin. As long as we are obedient, He will continue to do so. But if we insist on continuing to rail against God and ignore His commands, He may just move His hand and allow the destructive results of sin to flood our lives and our world. How else will we ever learn? There is no dark side to Jesus. He is only light. Still, our insistence in rejecting Him could very well result in Him no longer holding back the darkness from our lives. There are consequences to our actions. We’ve made Jesus too nice when, in fact, we should be appropriately terrified.