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Cheap Imitations

Lots of products on the market are cheap imitations of the real thing.  I am not talking about generic brands that are made by reputable manufacturers.  Rather, there are lots of shysters that would be quick to sell a person that wants to appear to be financially successful a cheap imitation of the real designer merchandise.  It does not take the consumer long to realize that they have been taken by spending their money on a product that does not work and does not last very long.

Spiritually, there are lots of counterfeits also.  Christ offers us genuine forgiveness of sin, transformed lives by the power of conversion, the indwelling of His Holy Spirit to empower us in our Christian living, and the Word of God that is completely accurate and is a “lamp to our feet” as we walk in paths of righteousness. That is the power of the Gospel and the heart of the Scriptures’ teachings.

Unfortunately, there are those that are charlatans that use the Bible for their own ends and for money making schemes to gratify their fleshly desires.  These “wolves in sheep’s clothing” infiltrate the minds of the gullible to persuade them that the Bible is the guide to manipulating God for wealth, self-gratification, and false hopes of a life without pain, suffering, or illness on this earth. Because there are so many that would love to have a life that is highly successful financially and is devoid of any difficulty along life’s long course from birth till death, many followers buy into false teaching in hopes of grand benefits.  They will be tragically disappointed on earth and eternally sorrowful when they are turned away from heaven in eternity for not believing the true Gospel of Jesus.

The truth found in Jesus is transformational. Jesus came to make dead men live.  He came to destroy the works of the devil and to provide salvation that is a glorious life change in all that believe.

In the Netherlands, in the 17th Century, a young painter was stumbling through life, surrounding himself with wine, women, and song. Look at Rembrandt’s early self-portraits, and they are the face of an indulgent young man. But things changed. Rembrandt married, but he and his wife lost three of their four children quite young. Then his wife too died, and Rembrandt’s self-portraits, of which he did many, became full of brooding and depression. Everyone noticed how dark his paintings were, and how much they seemed to point to a troubled spirit. Troubled he was indeed, with lawsuits and bad debts and promiscuous behavior. But in his later years Rembrandt started to paint scenes from the New Testament, especially scenes from the life of Jesus. Look at them and you will see a life being transformed. This masterful artist began to see Christ Jesus for who He really is. 

Rembrandt the moody mole slowly but surely became a shining soul. He gave us a painting of Mary Magdalene, contemplating her sin, but with a glowing light shining behind her, the light of forgiveness. And a painting of Peter, tortured by his denials, but lifted up by the light from Jesus’ face. And a painting of Paul, one of my favorites, where the one who had once persecuted believers now sits writing his grand epistles, and there is a warm light shining around his face. 

Do you get it? Rembrandt, coming to Christ, gave us paintings that send one central message — that the light shines in darkness and darkness cannot put it out. It is light eternal, life eternal. It is from Christ. It is everything.  (Copied).