Jesus: Life Coach or Lord?

There is a very disturbing trend among Christ-followes today that is ripping Jesus out of the biblical story and re-imagining him as  the best life-coach ever. This view declares adding Jesus  will help you make better decisions, be more disciplined, and generally motivate and assist you to greater excellence in whatever areas of your life need improving. Want a better marriage? Listen to Jesus. Want to kick bad habits? Follow Jesus. Want to escape the hopelessness of a broken life? Come to Jesus. And while there is a great benefit to following the commands of Christ in these areas, the new way of presenting Jesus marginalizes primary truths while overplaying the benefits of following Christ to the point that faith becomes a self-serving action rather than repentance over sin, and submission to God's authority.

Jesus is not God's way to make your life better. He is God's way to give you life in the first place. To do that, he had to rescue you from bondage to sin and fundamentally change your rebellious heart. You were not living a life that just needed some tweaking. You and I were spiritually dead while alive to sin, our eyes blind to the presence and promises of the God who made us. Our sin amounted to a long list of crimes against our Creator, each of which brought  an eternal penalty of judgment and separation from God.

To tell people in this condition that all they need is some time with Jesus and his help to make things better, is like telling a terminal cancer patient to take a couple Advil. The perscription radically fails to understand the disease. Our sin has laid on each of us a penalty we can neither pay nor escape. We don't ned a life-coach. We need an all-powerful Lord with both the ability to save, and the willingness to do what is necessary to do so.

That's Jesus! He willingly and joyfully played his part in the great eternal plan of redemption determined before time even began. From the beginning, God promised to send the One who would turn the curse of sin and death into the blessing of righteousness and real life (see: Genesis 3:15). From that point on, the Old Testament story is really just a search for the "He" of God's promise. When John finally recognized Jesus he burst out "There he is, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)."

To accomplish redemption for all who would ever believe, Jesus went to the cross. There, he withstood the full weight of the law's penalty that our sin deserved. He died in our place, and for our benefit. He was no life-coach; he was  life-giver, and a life-saver. But there's more!

Peter declared that the resurrection was God the Father's validation of all God the Son had done (Acts 2:22-32). Further, with redemption accomplished, Jesus ascended back to glory where Peter declared he now reigns as the Lord. And the great news is that all who will turn from sin and to Christ will be rescued from the domain of darkness, and transferred into a blessed union with Jesus himself, now clothed in his righteousness and declared right with God.

So, make no mistake. Jesus can help you make better decisions, but it will be through understanding the Word; he can help you get better, but it will be for his purposes, and the further declaration of his glory; he can coach you to a better life, but it will be a life that more and more closely aligns with his, and with the mission he has left for us to pursue. But, all of this will only come as we understand, and humbly submit to his lordship as our God, our King, our Savior, and the Boss of every area of life. Jesus is Lord!