How Prosperity Preachers Abuse Who We Are In Christ
The basic premise of the greedy version of Who We Are In Christ is that children of the King ought to live like kings—earthly kings, with all the extravagance and privilege this provides.
Of course, Scriptures are manipulated by false preachers to support this heretical doctrine. In this case, that would be the prosperity preachers.
Often when I hear a prosperity preacher simulate biblical instruction and teach this lie, it resembles a parrot repeating physics formulas to admiring crowds.
The parrot speaks authoritatively of issues that are as far beyond its understanding as infinity is beyond a lunch break. Yet we admire these talking birds without giving them credit for intelligence they don’t have.
This is how we must view prosperity preachers. They, too, speak authoritatively of issues they don’t understand.
…Understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.1 Timothy 1:7
Similarly, millions of Christians who seek the world’s standard of success look to these money preachers for their guidance. Once received, they blindly echo this dark wisdom as truth and set themselves on a course of materialism and comfort.
The only thing differing these “Christians” from more obvious disciples of Satan is that instead of denying the Scriptures, they use them to justify their love of money, stuff, and comfort.
According to them, this pursuit of the world is not something to be ashamed of for its denial of the cross and way of Christ. Rather, it is seen as getting the blessings due us for who we are in Christ.
Who We Are In Christ Can Turn Into A Heresy Or False Doctrine
A total false doctrine differs from a heresy in at least one critical point. A false doctrine can be and often is totally unbiblical.
It may say, “Jesus is not the Son of God,” or “All religions lead to God.” These doctrines are false and easily seen to be false. They also easily identify the person who teaches or believes them to be a child of Satan and not God.
The heresy, however, is more subtle. It is more a twisting of a biblical doctrine than a blatant denial.
It may say, “The gifts of the Spirit are not for today,” or “We can command our angels,” or “God wants us all to be rich.” It is possible to be a genuine child of God and believe these heresies.
For a person can believe in a powerless gospel and a semi-retired Jesus and make it to heaven.
He can foolishly give empty commands to angels and make it to heaven. (He may even get there quicker if he messes with the wrong angel.)
And he can believe God wants everyone to be rich and make it to heaven.
None of these heresies by themselves are disqualifiers for heaven because they don’t deny repentance from dead works and faith toward God. They don’t deny the Person or work of Jesus Christ in His work of salvation.
The tricky part is that any twisting of the Scriptures can lead you to deeper levels of spiritual darkness, and consequently a departure from the faith.
Example of How Heresy Can Lead to Eternal Damnation
Paul warned Timothy that some Christians would begin with heresies that are apparently not related to saving faith in Christ. Nonetheless, the process that leads to heresy inevitably leads them to depart from saving faith.
Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,
forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.1 Timothy 4:1-3
Notice that the heresy began with two issues that no true Christian would consider a saving-faith doctrine. Marriage and diet are a matter of conscience.
You want to get married, get married. You want to stay single, stay single. Same with your diet. Eat what you want to eat. What does any of this have to do with saving faith?
Easy for Heresy to Lead to Departing from the Faith
You’d be surprised how easy it is to go from “Should I eat meat or not?” to believing in a false Jesus.
It begins with a slight undermining of the Scriptures. Nothing drastic and noticeable at first to the untrained heart. Just ignoring or creatively interpreting Scriptures that conflict with the person’s desire not to eat meat.
A seducing spirit sees this tendency and identifies character weaknesses in the person. It uses them as the building blocks to turn the person’s decision of conscience into one of command.
Now the person no longer sees eating meat as an option. It is viewed as prohibited by Almighty God and the Scriptures. Although this conclusion is totally wrong and Scripturally indefensible.
Once a Christian gets used to this process of ignoring or creatively interpreting Scriptures to accommodate their desires, they are easily discipled by seducing spirits and will inevitably embrace doctrines of demons.
Sooner or later these doctrines will directly or indirectly, obviously or subtly, challenge the saving-faith doctrines.
The deceived person may never drop the title of “Christian. And they may continue to claim to believe in the saving-faith doctrines. But their adherence to doctrines that clearly are against saving-faith doctrines prove they are liars.
(This was Paul’s message to the Galatian “Christians.” Read Galatians.)
This is what has happened to many Charismatics with the Who We Are In Christ heresy. They want to go to heaven when they die. But they want money, stuff, and comfort now–no matter the spiritual cost.
The cost is departure from the faith.
The Who We Are In Christ Heresy
The Who We Are In Christ heresy begins as most heresies do. It begins as a sound biblical doctrine. Actually, it is a foundational teaching of the New Testament that we are in Christ, and that being in Christ affords us unlimited blessings.
We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians. 5:21).
“We have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians. 2:16).
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians. 4:13).
“If you shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14).
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
“And [He] has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father….” (Revelation 1:6).
One could point to a hundred similar Scriptures of God’s glorious provision, goodness, and kindness afforded us because we are in Christ.
Yet ten million promises of God or declarations of His goodness would not justify the conclusions of false prophets that covetousness is good, and that God’s primary goal for Christians is financial wealth.
Who We Are In Christ And the Lust for Earthly Riches
The mistake of false and carnal Christians is they don’t understand God, righteousness, or holiness. Their foundation is crooked. This is why they equate earthly riches with the favor of God.
A wrong understanding of money, things, and comfort corrupts the knowledge of God.
When a person believes that God’s ultimate calling in life is to be wealthy and comfortable, he will find it impossible to satisfy God’s requirements for discipleship.
For whenever he hears the Holy Spirit say, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me,” (Matthew 16:24) he will instinctively reject the thought.
He will instead follow greedy manipulators and become increasingly hardened to any command of God that threatens his lust for money, things, and comfort.
This is why Jesus said of some people who hear God’s word, “…when they have heard, [they] go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life,” (Luke 8:14).
False Teachers Manipulate Scriptures to Twist Who We Are In Christ
False teachers create and sustain the “Who We Are In Christ” heresy by manipulating Scriptures that mention or discuss our identification in Christ.
Our blessed relationship with Christ is explained within the context of making money, getting stuff, and enjoying a life of leisure.
Spiritual blessings are converted into cash, cars, and clothes. And our great pursuit of life changes from attaining the riches of Christ to attaining riches by using Christ.
How contradictory that the doctrine of who we are in Christ, which is given to free us from the world, should instead be used to enslave us to the world.
Do you not know that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?Romans 6:16
You see? It is not our words that truly declare who we serve. It is our actions.
Jesus said, we can not serve God and money. Those who creatively interpret the Scriptures to tell us otherwise are exposed as slaves of money and future residents of hell.
Who We Are In Christ
I will tell you who we are in Christ.
We are the creation and property of Almighty God. We are subject to His sovereign will. He doesn’t have to ask our permission to do anything. Nor must He be careful to act only within our understanding of Him.
This doesn’t mean that He acts contrary to Scripture. But it does mean He is free to act contrary to our misunderstanding of Scripture.
We are kings and priests, but our authority is only valid within the boundaries of God’s sovereignty, character, and wisdom. A police officer has genuine authority, but it is limited by the laws of the land in which he serves.
The preeminent laws of the land in which we serve are love, holiness, and humility. If we violate any of these laws our authority is corrupted, curtailed, or cut off altogether.
The Lord simply has not given us unregulated authority to supernaturally fulfill the whims of our unpredictable lusts. Our authority is instead that of a servant—the authority to do as we are told.
Who We Are In Christ Does Not Make Us Greater Than God
The “Who We Are In Christ” doctrine, however—as it is taught by greedy, manipulative teachers—turns Christians from servants of Christ to masters of Christ.
Scriptures are taken out of context and used as a bulldozer to tear down God’s sovereign authority over our lives. The result is that a doctrine of God is used to challenge and dethrone God.
Specifically, Christians are subtly taught that Christ’s accomplishment on the cross gives them authority to violate the character of God.
Of course, the greed merchants will argue that it is the character of God to give good gifts to those who love Him. To this I say, Amen! Yet I must also add that no matter how much a Christian loves or believes God, he never gains leverage over God.
Some people think that because of who they think they are in Christ, if they only confess Scriptures and perform other self-chosen acts, God is obligated to give them what they want.
This is nothing less than Christian witchcraft!
It is an abomination and an insult to Almighty God that anyone, friend or enemy, should think that a finite, imperfect, sinful human can manipulate an infinite, perfect, and absolutely holy God.
This is ignorance and arrogance at its very worst and will lead to ruin.
Here is a similar article: Is the Wealth of the Wicked Laid Up for the Righteous? Or perhaps: Was Jesus Rich?
Eric has written a bunch of books. You can check them out here.
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