It was a few weeks ago when I begin to see “Little Christ” in the ‘religion’ heading of many friends on facebook. It’s amazing what you discover while keep in the social network communication alive. Baffled by this label, I begin to search for others who shared the same identity and realized that I knew most of them.
In an effort to uncover what it meant, I begin talking with several people who gave me an interesting explanation. “Little Christ” in a sense is that a believer should be a ‘small’ version of Christ on earth and to the world. Now who wouldn’t want this as a life’s goal? Sounds great on the surface, but when you begin to consider the implications of this attachment, it has some huge eternal problems.
First let us look at the meaning of Christian to begin with. I have heard many say that it means we are little christs. This could be no further from the truth. The word Christian is defined specifically as one who is subordinate to as a follow of Christ. In modern vernacular it would be best translated as ‘slave’. In an effort to difuse fodder over words, let’s just say that it does not mean ‘little’ or ‘like’ in nature, character or design.
Second, the idea that we are little christs or gods has a mystic and pagan root. Many cults across the world and the US use this idea that mankind is nothing more than a finite version of the infinite and that in the end, we will all be like God as lesser or in some cases, equal gods. This is pure herisy. The notion that a created being would be like the creator is at best silly and irrational. Not to count that it flies in the face of the significance of who Christ is.
We are not like Him and we are not in any form going to be Christ, even in part. However, we are to be ‘like’ Christ in that through His changing, our hearts are formed into the ‘likeness’ of Christ. And in the end, our sanctification will be Christ’s holiness credited to us, not ourselves being holy.
Thirdly, very popular and prominent preachers and pastors are spewing this garbage that God made man to be little gods all over the world. In essence, these false prophets are marring the very nature of the one who has the power to throw both soul and body into hell and mocking the very character of God and Christ who are one in the same.
Finally, if we are to consider ourselves little christs, then what is the purpose of our being? We are not to share ourselves and give ourselves in hope that Christ will be viewed, but we are to live and be the example of the Gospel which is Christ, Him crucified and risen from the dead as our Lord, Master, Priest, and King! So back to the nature of ‘little christ; it would be better said to steal the words of Paul in Philippians:
Philippians 1:27 (ESV)
27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,
This in itself reflects Paul’s testimony of, “to live is Christ” and furthermore, “I count it all as loss for the priceless gain of knowing Christ my Lord.” If we are little christs, how can we ‘count it as loss’? Our hearts should cry from the grace that we have freely rec’d to live a life worthy of Christ but not fool ourselves into thinking that Christ needs us to be him.
The problem with the church today is that we think the mission is ours, but it is God’s. We feel as though our ministry is imperative to God’s success but He is sovereign King and “ALL THINGS” are under His feet. We feel that in order for the world to be saved we must dilute the truth and give tangible evidence of humanistic benevolence and philanthropy. All the while, we push away Christ and in the end, we make him small.
Christ is already too little, let’s drop this game and become slaves to righteousness, passionate followers of the King, longing to love the “Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.”
To make much of Christ means to make less of ourselves. If we are to take the title and role of “Holy Anointed one of God, Priest, King, and Lord” then we are missing the point. Christ is his OFFICE, not his name. 2 Corinthians 2 is used as a proof text in some circles for this extended office of the believer as Christs. Let’s look at it for just a second.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (ESV)
21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us,
22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Looking at this piece of text in itself creates a major fallacy. You cannot take a crumb from a plate and effectively eat a meal – so we are going to have to rely on some understanding of the context. I would encourage those who like to preach and don’t know what they are preaching, to buy a solid set of commentaries that revolve around the technical issues of the language and not the ‘application’ model study guides that are so prevalent today. Nothing wrong with application, but it doesn’t apply correctly without defining and understanding the context. Here are four points that are worth noting.
- With these two verses Paul concludes his remarks on justifying his trustworthiness.
- The apostle teaches the doctrine of the Trinity by noting that God confirms believers, anoints them in Christ, and seals them with the Spirit.
- The wording in these verses—confirm, seal, down payment—has been borrowed from the legal sphere and has commercial implications.
- A degree of parallelism is evident in these two verses; each has two verbs with direct objects: confirm us and anoint us (v. 21), seal us and give us (v. 22).
Paul is concluding a portion of this letter to the church in Corinth as a continuation of his trustworthiness as an apostle. If you read Acts 18 and 1 Corinthians you will have a better understanding of why Paul is continuing this approach to ‘his’ trustworthiness’. So just in context, these two scriptures are the close of his arguments about why they can trust Paul and the subject is not the believers anyway.Let’s look at these verses in pieces.
- And it is GOD – here we the crux of the Gospel and the main issue of this text. God is and always will be the central theme of His work, not man. Here Paul is dealing specifically with the fact that God has brought His covenant relationship in their lives and his life and their relationship with God can be trusted because His word can be trusted and in the word are God’s promises. So, the promises of God are legally bound to God’s own oath. See Hebrews 6:17.
- God anoints his people. In anointing it is different than being the ‘CHRIST’. This English cognitive error wreaks havoc on our interpretation of scripture when we read into the text what is not there. God does the ‘covenant’ choosing of those who believe and therefore He seals them with the Holy Spirit. In that, the Spirit testifies we belong to God. See Romans 8
- God’s Anointing of his people is with the Holy Spirit, not the office of Christ. 1 John 2:20 (ESV)
20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 1 John 2:27 (ESV)
27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. This anointing is similar to the OT practice of anointing which was symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Except here, it is the true giving of the Holy Spirit.
- God’s sealing in verse 22 gives a close to this neat little package of hope. These two verses give the listener the understanding that salvation comes in this package alone. This package is conversion, faith, baptism, and then the evidence and power of the Holy Spirit. This linear illustration of the process of salvation is a reminder to the Corinthians that they are saved by Grace alone in Christ because of God’s will.
- God’s guarantee is His anointing with the Holy Spirit. Not being little Christs.
Ephesians 1:13-14 (ESV)
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
In closing, let us consider that if others look at us as Christ, then they will see a tarnished, sinful, broken, and marred image of the True Savior. The world should see Christ in spite of us as we boldly proclaim our weakness so that the power of Christ may rest upon us and that we are able to proclaim the truth of the Gospel which is the hope of the lost and broken world. Besides, if we want to claim to be Christ in any part, we are saying that we are without sin. Consider the results of that kind of claim.
1 John 1:10 (ESV)
10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.