Is Jesus Sufficient? (unabridged)

Have you heard people refer to Christ as “sufficient?” For example, “You have suffered a hard loss, but Christ is sufficient.” 

I was thinking about that word—“sufficient”—this morning while I was riding my bicycle along the river trail. Just to be certain “sufficient” meant what I thought it meant, I looked it up in the dictionary when I got home: “sufficient (se-fish’-ent) adj. adequate to accomplish a purpose or complete a task.” 

By definition this means, Christ is adequate to get us into heaven; enough to get us by in life, and able to do through us those things required of us. 

I don’t think so! 

Although I seemingly discount the theological concept of “the sufficiency of Christ” in what I’m writing, I nevertheless conclude: Christ is not simply adequate. In fact, I don’t think the notion of Christ’s being adequate is scriptural. 

We used to sing a song at church that declared, “Christ is more than enough.” My heart was confident after singing that musical declaration. In fact, when writing about Christ’s adequacy, the words are flat. When writing about Him being more than enough, I feel exalted. 

To be honest, I’m not interested in being adequate. I’m not interested in writing adequate books, or doing adequate consulting work, or being an adequate husband or friend. 

I don’t hire or retain employees who only do what is required. I find committee work confining because committees are charged to bring a sufficient report and do adequate work. 

I don’t presume to speak for, or project my values upon, my Older Brother, Jesus Christ, but I just can’t believe He is content to simply be...adequate. Jesus Christ did not leave heaven and invade our world to be sufficient for God and make us adequate. 

Here is what I get from The Book regarding Christ: His grace is abundant, as is His comfort, and through his abundant grace come abundant faith and love. Through Jesus Christ’s work, the grace of God super-abounds to us all. As sin increases, the grace of God in Christ expands exponentially—like an exploding super nova birthing stars. Hope abounds via the indwelling Christ. 

Jesus Christ does not love me only enough to adequately satisfy my need to be loved. He loves me beyond my ability to comprehend. He loves me more than enough to fill up the infinite capacity of God, which is beyond knowledge. 

He does not want to simply live His life through me and prove Himself adequate for whatever challenges the day might bring. Jesus Christ desires to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that I can ask or even conceive, not according to my inadequate resources, but out of His entire capacity to do the works of God in and through me! 

I do not believe Jesus is interested in being sufficient, simply adequate to the task before Him, any more than I am. I want to triumph, to win, to celebrate an overwhelming victory. He does too!

Again, the Bible states that Christ leads us in triumph in every place, and gives us victory. And it is in Him that we overcome the world and all that assaults us or would come against us.[1]

Tolstoy speaks of two Gods. The first makes us adequate, supplies what we need, and serves to meet our needs. Contrary to belief, he notes, this God does not exist! The second is the God we have been discussing. He does not serve us, rather we serve and declare our allegiance to Him, to live as He intends, to accomplish what He wishes in and through us, and to embody his vision of humanity as divinely conceived. 

This is the true God, the real God, and He invites us into vital relationship with Him. He does not do this so that we can have enough to get by or to live adequate lives sufficient to meet each day’s demands. No. He makes this vital union possible in order that we may know Him, experience Him, grapple each moment with the extravagance of His grace, the magnitude of His persona, and the breadth of His dreams. 

Jesus Christ lives in us to live through us, a compelling expression of His life via our personality cast against life’s backdrop. He has no aspirations to simply be sufficient. He asks us to trust Him to live courageous lives anticipating with each turn of events how He intends to accomplish more than we could ever comprehend, conceive, or concoct. 

He did not simply make it possible for us to go to heaven and escape hell. He radically transformed us for today. He didn’t simply forgive us, but endowed us with new hearts possessing the capacity to connect with His heart and share His thoughts. And now, He calls us by a new name and entices us through His indwelling presence to live beyond what we perceive in our temporal state and join Him in the realm of His reign. 

Jesus Christ is not adequate, neither is He sufficient. He is overwhelming and super-abounding and has declared that in Him we live, and move, and have our being.


[1] Ref. Acts 4:33, 2 Cor. 1:5, 1 Tm. 1:14, Rm. 5:15, 15:13, Eph. 3:19-20, 2 Cor. 2:14, 1 Cor. 15:57, 1 Jn. 5:5