T H E S I S # 31
Some evangelicals speak ‘God’ often but ‘Christ’ rarely. Paul’s letters ‘spoke’ God often and Christ more often. New Testament writings ‘speak’ Christ more times than God, Father, and Holy Spirit combined.
Balance is often a misused word, sometimes used to validate carnality and surface christianity. The Bible is the mind and heart of God (“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God”) and is therefore perfectly balanced.
Evangelicals make the mistake of comparing themselves with evangelicals to determine if they are properly adjusted. To be perfectly adjusted – in reality an impossibility – one must do and think and speak only Bible truths.
The evangelical who disproportionately speaks God is out of balance with the Bible and, therefore, the mind and heart of God.
It is good to speak God. It is very good to speak God. Forever we will proclaim and praise and express gratitude to God, as did the apostles. But the God we praise and serve would have us focus primarily on His Son. Because it was His Son who became an utterly despised person on our behalf. Because it was His Son who accepted the nails and the thorns and the whip and the rods and the spittle and the humiliation. Because it was His Son who bore our sins in His body on the tree.
Now let’s talk balance….
The New Testament ‘speaks’ the word God often, and ‘speaks’ the name of Jesus Christ slightly more often, the ratio close to one-to-one. If we factor in all references to Christ the Christ-to-God ratio is much higher. The New Testament’s “I” and “Him” and “He” and “His” and “Me” are most often in reference to Christ. And if we count titles to Christ – “Lord”, “Lamb of God”, “Son of God”, “Son of Man”, “Teacher”, “Master”, etc. – we can see that the New Testament references the Lord Jesus at least twice as often as His Father and the Holy Spirit combined.
If the New Testament ratio of Christ-to-God is two-to-one, the healthiest ratio for christians is also two-to-one. But two-to-one is rare within evangelicalism. The typical evangelical at the coffee shop and the typical evangelical behind the pulpit do not come close to this New Testament precedent.
The Christ-to-God ratio in Christ’s North American church could be as low as one-to-twenty. Perhaps lower, perhaps higher, only God knows. The observant could easily detect a major discrepancy between the Bible and most evangelicals.
The two-to-one christian is more fruitful than the one-to-two. Both are more successful than the one-to-five, one-to-ten, etc.
We do know Paul and Peter and John, New Testament writers, spoke Christ lots. We also know the three bore much good fruit….
Paul: God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. (Acts 19:11,12)
Peter: They brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. (Acts 5:15)
John: Through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. (Acts 5:12)
Do these three apostles establish a connection between “signs and wonders” and a healthy Christ-to-God ratio? Could it be that a lack of “signs and wonders” is due to a scarcity of Christ within christianity as indicated by a scarcity of The Name? Could it be that “signs and wonders” will come if we notably increase the times we speak Christ?
It must be said, a Jesus christian (a one-to-one or better) who affiliates chiefly with God christians (one-to-ten or worse) is in serious danger of becoming a God christian.
And it must be said, a God christian can become a Jesus christian. Such an accomplishment will take a real determined effort. Old habits do not easily die.
We often hear, “Praise the Lord!”, but seldom hear, “Praise the Lord Jesus!”
Perhaps you have often prayed for grace to love Jesus more. Speaking His name consistently, privately and publicly, will cause that to happen.