The following is an explanation of the “Jesus” that is presented in Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life® published in 2002.There are certain words which have become so familiar that little attention is given to the impregnated meaning. Unfortunately, many people have become sloppy in both reading and thinking about them. For example, take the name “Jesus”. What an incredible Person has this name! The Bible is filled with the wonder and glory of this One whom the angels said was to be named “Jesus” because He would “save His people from their sins.” The Scriptures not only use the name but infuse it with God’s meaning. In 2 Corinthians 11:4, Paul warns about the possibility of a “different Jesus” (as well as a “different spirit” and a “different gospel”). The use of this phrase “a different Jesus” is quite foreign to many within the visible church. So, what do we make of this and how important is it? The idea is that the name could be impregnated with a different meaning than that of the real Jesus. Thus, it would not represent the One so named. When a “different Jesus” is presented, it is by means of a “different spirit.” And when a “different gospel” is preached, taught, or received, it leads to a “different Jesus.” Paul speaks about the receiving of a different Jesus or the preaching of a different gospel in both 2 Corinthians and Galatians. It was extremely important to him! Ultimately, it comes down to either salvation via the truth of the gospel or being deceived and lost. The apostolic church took this very seriously as did those in the first few hundred years of the churches existence. There was Biblical truth in this regard as well as a number of church councils held to settle doctrinal issues specifically concerning both the nature of the gospel of Jesus Christ as well as the Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, of that gospel. In The Purpose-Driven® Life on page 57 we read:
“Jesus stood at a fork in the road. Would he fulfill his purpose and bring glory to God, or would he shrink back and live a comfortable, self-centered life?”
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” James 1:13-14 NASBWhen Jesus was tested He was always, always tested from outside Himself! He was never, never tested from internal conflict as to whether He would obey or sin! At the same time, we know Jesus, the eternal Son of God, identified with us in His incarnation (see Philippians 2:5-11 and Hebrews 4:14-5:10). He knows what we go through when we are tempted from without (even though we alone are fallen).
1. He went through the same types of conditions and circumstances of human life that we do.
2. He did this in perfect obedience without sin and its’ suffering consequences.
3. He did this as God, the Son. Jesus, being God, took upon Himself humanity without setting aside His deity. He did, however, set aside His divine prerogatives as such.Because Jesus did all 3 of the above, He could bear our sins at Calvary as the perfect Lamb of God for sin and also represent us before God as our perfect High Priest in His ascension to the right hand of God! Jesus was “conflicted” as He contemplated the painful consequence He would suffer in obedience He carried out as the God-man upon Calvary. This “conflicting” was His anguish as the Son of God the Father. He would be separated from God His Father whom He had been in perfect union with from all of eternity. And, as such, He would bear the wrath of God for sin. The horrible consequences for sin that Jesus bore cannot possibly be looked upon or understood by us. He absolutely was not making a decision like us! The horror was not the excruciating physical pain inflicted by men which is glorified in The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson. (There are a couple of great reviews of The Passion of the Christ here and here.) Rather, the horror was that He would bear the wrath of God for our sins and He knew it before the fact! He knew that the suffering in His own flesh of the wrath of God would be incredibly horrible. Please take careful note of this point: Rick Warren diverts our attention from the horror of our sins before a Holy God and the consequences our sin had for Jesus (which is never clearly articulated) to the concept that Jesus was “conflicted” and could have sinned! The efficacy for salvation in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ at Calvary is based upon the nature of the One who was crucified there on our behalf. Make no mistake. He is fully God. He is fully man. He is the One Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God who bore the wrath of God for sin. His shed blood was the perfect atoning sacrifice for sin because it was HIS shed blood. The purchase price for our redemption is an already accomplished fact as evidenced by Jesus’ statement upon the cross when He said, “It is finished.” It had God’s “seal of approval” when He raised Christ from the dead! It is one thing to employ the words: Jesus, sin, forgiveness, etc. in a book. It is quite another thing to bring people to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ by delivering the “gospel message” no matter the medium. Warren uses the words; Jesus, sin, forgiveness, believe, (not repentance that I could find), but the meanings are couched in misrepresentations of the very nature of this One and why He had to be crucified. Thus, the point is bypassed along with the ministry of the Holy Spirit who “convinces the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment.” After all and ultimately, the Lord Jesus Christ of the New Testament Gospel is made known by the effective presentation of the Word in the power of the Holy Spirit. Be careful that you have not been mesmerized to “quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity” (p. 58), rather than be convinced by the Holy Spirit of your desperate need of the true Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, and repent of your sin and believe in Him.