A Christ of Our Own Inventions

Lucy Hutchinson (1620-1680) was the widow of Colonel John Hutchinson, who was the Parliamentary Governor of Nottingham Castle during the English Civil Wars of the 1640s. He was actually one of the judges who signed the death warrant for Charles I, but left public life when he became distrustful of Cromwell’s desire for power. After the restoration of the monarchy, he spent time in the Tower of London and later died in Sandown Castle still under arrest for regicide.

Mrs. Hutchinson, after the death of her husband, wrote a book entitled On the Principles of the Christian Religion, primarily to ground her daughter in the fundamentals of the Christian religion during that time of great political and spiritual unrest. One sentence particularly caught my attention, “Christ is, in the Gospel, held forth to men to be received as their life and salvation, and they that seek a Christ anywhere but where God exhibits Him, that is, His own authorized Word, may find Christ of their own inventions, but shall never find the Christ of God, the alone Saviour of men.

How very true! Many follow a Christ, but it is not the Christ of Scripture. It may be the Christ of a Thomas Jefferson (nothing more than a great philosopher devoid of deity), or the Christ of a civil religionist (a generic Christ to whom all religions can draw near in a National Cathedral), or a therapeutic Christ who wants everyone to “just get along.” Mrs. Hutchinson reminded us that  the Christ of Scripture is the “alone Saviour of men.”

Who is the Christ of Scripture? He is fully God, since Peter calls Him “our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:1) He is fully man, since the Bible tells us that He ate, drank, slept, was tempted, and was eventually crucified on a cruel Roman cross (and raised to life again). He is the one who lived His life according to the Law of God and provides His righteousness as a gift for all of those who believe, as Paul says in Romans 5:17: “For if by the transgression of the one [Adam], death reigned athrough the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” He is the one who died as a sacrifice for the elect of God, taking the wrath of God upon Himself that should have fallen on them since “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” (1 Corinthians 5:7) He is also the one who will one day judge the living and the dead:

Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)

Therefore, I, along with Lucy Hutchinson, would encourage everyone reading my words not to look to the “Christ of [your] own inventions” but to the Christ of the Scriptures as your only hope in life and death.

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