Cult of Personality

Scripture does not paint a very good picture of the human condition.  In our study of world religions on Sunday morning we have discovered the many different ways that we humans try to answer the question of sin and suffering.

The answers from the world are various and creative but fall into one category, what I must do and the method I must follow to overcome sin.  I find these kinds of answers to the ultimate questions unsatisfactory.  It is like a virus vowing to cure itself.  If we are the problem how can we be the solution as well?  Some religions try to point the finger elsewhere when it comes to sin but God’s Word doesn’t shy away from the unpopular answer that to the very core of our being we are sinful that nothing can heal our most fundamental relationship, the relationship that teaches us how to love, how to forgive, how to act towards others–our relationship with God. 

When a charismatic leader arises and states their discovery of a way of life and peace sometimes they gain a following.  History and God’s Word both show us to be people who are vulnerable to that kind of influence.  That those who are self-assured, forceful and eloquent often gain control of people by their message.  The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1 —

11-12I bring this up because some from Chloe’s family brought a most disturbing report to my attention—that you’re fighting among yourselves! I’ll tell you exactly what I was told: You’re all picking sides, going around saying, “I’m on Paul’s side,” or “I’m for Apollos,” or “Peter is my man,” or “I’m in the Messiah group.” (MSG)

Even Christians can fall into this sin.  A sin that raises up the person above the message.  Especially when the answer to sin points outside of us, that the cure is not within us we want to contain it once more in a person returning to a cult of personality.  Paul wisely steers away from such hero worship and directs people back to the only source of answers to our ultimate problems. 

17God didn’t send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what he has done, collecting a following for him. And he didn’t send me to do it with a lot of fancy rhetoric of my own, lest the powerful action at the center—Christ on the Cross—be trivialized into mere words. (MSG)

It is only the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s actions in the world that sin is overcome.  We are offered by Jesus a way to know God, to learn love, to be willing and able to forgive, to cure what we cannot.  Hidden in the cross, outside of ourselves, is that gift.

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