Imitation Jesus

“For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” -2nd Corinthians 11:14

It was actually vanilla extract that got me thinking about all the imitations that are out there when it comes to the spiritual life and knowing Jesus. I like to put a little vanilla in my Chai latte’s and prefer to get real vanilla and not the imitations of it that sit on the shelf. Why would I want an imitation when I can get the real thing?

First, let me say what should be obvious- you either have an imitation or you have the real deal. It’s like butter- there’s the real stuff and then there’s the manmade margarine sitting right next to the butter pretending to be the same thing. Well, religious imitations are just like that. The fakes, substitutes, posers and pretenders are out there acting as if they’re the genuine article when they’re actually just a cheap imitation.

When it comes to Jesus, ending up with an imposter is definitely not what I want!

There’s some pretty high stakes involved when it comes to the spiritual life. An imposter can’t take away my sins, get me into heaven or make me a part of the family of God. Those are some pretty big things. Where, and with whom, I spend eternity matters to me. I don’t want to find out until after it’s too late that I was suckered into following an imitation Jesus!

The point of all imitations is to fool people into believing they are experiencing the real thing. Some imitations can look really, really authentic. When I was researching which vanilla to buy I came across a few taste tests trying to find out if people could tell the difference between imitation vanilla and real vanilla. Most couldn’t tell the difference, especially if it was in baked goods mingling with other ingredients!

Do you remember the commercials when margarine came out that told us it “tastes like butter”? But it wasn’t good for us, was it? Yet, at the time, it was sold as being better for us than the real thing!

There are a few “churches” out there that package imitations of Jesus so well that those who are in attendance believe they have the real thing. If you closely check the ingredients of their belief and practices though you might notice they’re not built on the bible. They might use the bible, but it’s somewhat like the label on genetically modified food- Yes, a GMO apple is still an apple, but it’s been tampered with.

Many churches are essentially spiritual GMOs.

They look like a real church, and sound like a real church, but they’ve actually been modified into a manmade product. There’s enough of the real thing there to make you think you’re getting the true Jesus of the bible, but they’ve made some subtractions or additions so you’re not getting “the pure gospel”. Imitation’s of Jesus and the gospel have been around since the birth of the church, and in fact, go back to the very beginning of the bible! The main work of the Devil has always been to deliver deceptive and distorted imitations of the things of God to unsuspecting people.

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all.” -Galatians 1:6-7

Imitation spirituality uses all the same terminology that an authentic Christian might use but the truth is it represents a different gospel than the one presented in the Word of God.

There are imitation churches, fake ministers, counterfeit gospel messages, phony Christian music artists, and even deceptive versions of “God’s Word”. To the unsuspecting they can all look very authentic!

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” – 2 Corinthians 11:14

The point of an imitation, remember, is to make you think you’ve got the real thing. Much that goes by the name of Christianity has nothing to do with Christ at all! False spirituality often appears incredibly authentic on the outside so that it’s easy to be fooled. The Devil knows that not many people are going to want to go to the “First Church of Satan” so he creates the best Christian imitation he can come up with- he models his religion to look just like the real Christian church that meets in town!

This time of year we have store after store with imitation Christmas trees. Some are amazingly realistic while others are very poor reproductions. Imitation churches are just like that- some are obviously fake while others look amazingly real! But the point is, however good or bad they may be, an imitation will never be the real thing.

Having an imitation Jesus is like having a plastic savior figurine hanging from your rearview mirror and thinking it will save you from a car accident. It’s not going to help you!

When it comes to eternal life I want the actual Jesus who died on a cross and rose again to be my savior. A substitute fake Jesus is not going to cut it!