hochmann.org

The personal blog for Thomas Hochmann

What more do we need than Christ?

September 22, 2019 — Thomas M. Hochmann

The book of Colossians, especially verses 15 through 23, blows up any and every false doctrine and worldly philosophy that denies who Jesus is and why we need him. What an amazing passage of Scripture! Read through it and see how really, all you need is Jesus!

Christ created everything and he did it for his own pleasure (v.16). He rules over it all (v.17), he leads the church through it all (v.18), and he dwelt on earth with the fullness of God dwelling in him (v.19). He purchased peace and reconciled all of creation to himself (v.20). He is 100% superior over all of creation (v.15), 100% superior over the church and the resurrected dead (v.18), and 100% sufficient to redeem us out of alienation, hostility, and evil (vv.20-22).

What more could we possibly need than Christ?

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. [16] For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things have been created through him and for him. [17] He is before all things, and by him all things hold together. [18] He is also the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. [19] For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, [20] and through him to reconcile everything to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. [21] Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds expressed in your evil actions. [22] But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him... (Colossians 1:15-22 CSB)

Compare the lofty descriptions of Christ in Colossians to just about every other so-called god, deity, savior, or messiah that other religions try to offer.

For example, Jehovah's Witnesses think of Jesus as some sort of high-ranking angel rather than God, which completely contradicts the scripture above. How can he be an angel if he is before all things? Colossians describes him as firstborn over all creation (that is, superior to everything that was ever created, including angels) and the book of Hebrews (1:5-14) explicitly tells us that Christ is not an angel, that he is far superior to them, and that all of God's angels worship him. The JW concept of Jesus is completely unbiblical and so weak that he could never save you or me.

Similarly, how could I ever go back to being a Buddhist when none of the dozens of flavors of Buddhism can offer God's Son who came to save us? In Theravada Buddhism, the Buddha himself was merely a wise man who reasoned and meditated his way into a sort of nihilistic peace of mind. In more mystical branches of Buddhism, the Buddha may be some sort of god or high being, but nobody says he created the world or reconciled it to himself. He's still basically just a fancy version of an angel that comes to teach how to "extinguish" your mind. And Pure Land Buddhism, which I once dearly loved, suffers from similar failings. Pure Land tells you to pray or chant to Amida Buddha (one of countless buddhas or enlightened ones) so that, at death, he will snatch you away to his Pure Land paradise where you can have special circumstances to work your way free of evil passions and eventually find peace. But Amida was once just a man, too, and he falls far short of the creator, purifier, sustainer, and reconciler of the universe.

Catholics like to pray to Mary and the saints — but why bother? Did Mary speak the universe into existence? Did any of the saints die on the cross to atone for our evil and bring peace to creation? Because of Jesus, we can boldly approach the very throne of God (Hebrews 4:16), so why would we settle for a cut-rate middleman like Saint Christopher or Saint Ignatius?

Dear Christian, Jesus is more than enough! We don't need anything or anyone else, and there's nothing we can add by our own puny human efforts. May you read the soaring description of Jesus in Colossians and find yourself refreshed in faith and renewed in your walk with Christ.

Tags: praise, devotional

Oh, How I Love Your Law!

September 06, 2019 — Thomas M. Hochmann

I was going to write a smattering of sentences about how much I cherish my various Bibles and how I spend all my waking hours at night and by day either reading the Bible, or thinking about what I read in it earlier... But, the psalmist said it far more eloquently than I ever could:

Oh how I love your law! 
   It is my meditation all the day... 

I love your commandments above gold, 
   above fine gold... 

My soul keeps your testimonies; 
   I love them exceedingly... 

I rise before dawn and cry for help; 
   I hope in your words. 
My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, 
   that I may meditate on your promise. 

(Psalm 119:97,127,167,147-148 ESV)

Tags: bible-study, praise