I posted a comment over at Crosswise, and I thought I’d expand on it some here. It has to do with the subtlety of some teachings about “being like Jesus” and “doing what Jesus did” that at first may seem quite Biblical, but they lead to deception.
A commenter did a good job of describing the attitude behind much of the modern signs and wonder movement. To strip it down, it’s the same old temptation to “be like God.”
Do we want to be like Jesus? Of course. We want to display the fruit of the Spirit just like He did: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control. And we are free to do what He did at anytime, if by that we mean showing love, expressing joy, having peace, promoting peace among brothers, being kind, good, faithful, and patient. And hey, feel free to use a large dose of self control at any minute of any day. You don’t even have to ask His permission.
But here are the things to watch for:
1. Teachings that fail to draw a distinction between ‘being like Jesus’ and being EQUAL to Jesus. We will never be like Jesus on some very crucial points. Who among us can forgive sins? Who among us has led a sinless life? Who among us can die for the sins of the world? Whose judgements are ALWAYS righteous because we NEVER think of ourselves?
2. A failure to distinguish between being MADE righteous and forever having been and always will be righteous (Jesus).
3. A failure to make a distinction between the believer’s holiness and Christ’s holiness. The believer can, by the grace of God, resist the devil and submit to God and avoid sinning. The believer can be holy as Christ is holy because we always have access to repentance and cleansing by His blood.
The context of 1 Peter: 14-16 is clearly about behavior not innate divine holiness.
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.
Jesus of course always was and always will be holy and led a completely holy and sinless life (even in His thoughts) even while walking in a sin infested world. He did not need to access any other resource for His holiness because He is divine.
4. Failure to distinguish between partaking of His divine nature, and being divine. We partake of His nature, but we are NOT divine like Jesus who was, and is, and always will be. “He was in the beginning with God.”*
My observation has been that in charismatic circles (and here is where you should not assume I think the Holy Spirit quit working supernaturally through His people sometime in the past) the teachers and followers of the popular teachers of the prophetic or charismatic movements would never admit to thinking they are equal with Jesus, but you will see it played out in practice. Always,always look at what is practiced and passively accepted (not corrected).
- almost any crazy thought that goes through the mind is a ‘word from God’;
- anyone who has any illness should be healed if you just pray right;
- declaring ‘things that are not as though they are’ is for anyone to do;**
- humans have creative power with their words;
- any act, when labeled as prophetic, results in an affect on some situation;
- we are always acceptable to God regardless of our behavior;
- we do not have to study the Word/we just ‘know’ in our spirit
- we cannot be fooled, so don’t worry about testing anything
* I have heard people teaching that all souls were created by God at the creation of the planet, and they are just hanging around in heaven until God decides to give them a body. That is PURE SPECULATION.
**Please read this in context. Romans 4:1-25, the verse is clearly speaking about God declaring things into existence. There is no way to honestly extrapolate this into humans, even redeemed humans, going around declaring things into existence. “….God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. “