What’s it like these days to be a Christian? Really a Christian.
Like, take John: all his life he has struggled with sexual temptations. Every single day, except maybe when he has a cold or the flu, or is just plain in a foul mood, John has sexual temptations of one sort or another – towards women. John is fed-up with struggling with this.
He always has to exert control over his thoughts – because sexual flights of thought about females try to roost in his mind. But today he has decided that those Scriptures condemning him in this – have got to be understood better. He now thinks those stuffy teachings condemning sex outside of marriage just do not apply to today.
Or, take Jake: all his life he has struggled with sexual temptations. Every single day, except maybe when he has a cold or the flu, or is just plain in a foul mood, Jake has sexual temptations of one sort or another – towards men. Jake is fed-up with struggling with this.
He always has to exert control over his thoughts – because sexual flights of thought about men try to roost in his mind. But today he has decided that those Scriptures condemning him in this – have got to be understood better. He now thinks those stuffy teachings condemning homosexual sins just do not apply to today.
The Way of the Day.
For many church goers these days, like John and Jake, Scripture is not quite the ultimate authority over life and behavior – as it used to be. For many, what the Bible teaches is generally okay, but, when it comes to certain specificities, what it says, they reason, needs to be interpreted in the light of today’s enlightened realities.
Don’t tell me Scripture condemns sexual behavior outside of marriage.
Don’t tell me Scripture condemns same-sex sex.
Don’t tell me Scripture condemns abortion, homosexuality, lust and such.
Don’t tell me Scripture says that those who practice sin and accept it as a normal part of their life – are not going to be in the Kingdom of Christ.
Just tell me what I want to hear, like:
Just as Jesus did not condemn the adulterous woman – God does not condemn us.
Scripture says “whosoever will, may come”, so Christianity is very inclusive.
Salvation in Christ absolves us of all guilt and shame.
So John and Jake now are content to live life freely – as they want. Scripture accommodates them just fine.
John says Christ does not condemn his affairs and one-night stands with other women. And He is forgiving.
Jake is at home as a Christian in a gay community that accepts him for what he is. God is accepting.
John and Jake say, “Everything is just hunky-dory, as they say in California. Life goes on. Eternity is taken care of. So why can’t we all just get along? Let’s stop all this nit-picking and judging.”
But is that really what God Himself set in motion with Creation? Is our thinking – God´s thinking? Or are John and Jake deceived and running contrary to God and His eternal plan for humanity?
What if John and Jake are wrong? What if God really does hate what Scripture says He hates? What if adultery, fornication and gay sex (to name a few) IS condemned by God, the Creator of the universe? (1 Corinthians 6:9) Would it make any difference to you? Would John or Jake change? Would you change – in order to align yourself with what God has ordained? Or will you stick to your guns, come hell or high water?
We have the choice now, to follow what is plainly revealed to us in Scripture. I, for one, believe that Scripture is very clear about God´s will. As it pertains to sexual practice and the many other issues of today, the Bible is not hard to understand. (Ephesians 2:3) We are all born into the same condition. We are all very rebellious. We want what we want – when we want it and how we want it. (1 John 1:8 NASB; Isaiah 53:6 NASB).
While in this body of ours we will always fight temptations. It is easy to become bound by the sins “which easily beset” you. (Hebrews 12:1 NAS)
What is hard to do is – humble our self, confess our sin, repent of our sin, and turn to Christ for forgiveness. For rebellious creatures it is hard to yield to His will.
Yesterday’s abusive hatemongerers were not following Christ. Lamentably, Christians have been very poor at dealing with the sins and the sinners. Christians have often harshly treated sinners with condemning and hateful distain and abuse. THAT is certainly not Scriptural. (John 8:10-11) Neither are the many sins of man. But neither can we justify ourselves by pointing at them!
We certainly will not stand before God in the Judgement day and use THEIR sins to justify OUR sins! Do you find yourself rationalizing that way?
Hate is easy. Humans love to point at the errors of others, and condemn them. The paradox of their behavior is lost on them.
So-called Christians ¨known by your love¨… spit-out hateful words against homosexuals.
So-called Christians who ¨turn the other cheek¨… cut off the heads of the infidels.
But what really matters? In the end, what will really matter? Certainly not what I think! Certainly God will not ask us to define His understanding for Him!
He has made his way very clear to us in the Bible. Yet we push to have things easy. We want it our way. We rationalize, creating our own truths, excuse our own desires, write our own new morals. We justify our own ways before God. Well, we try to, anyway.
But will that work in – The End – when we stand before Him, physically? Stop and think about that Day. God will be the Judge, and He will not use your 21st century ¨rational thinking¨. Nothing PC there. (He will be the only PC!) He will use His Word – not ours. It behooves us to think as God thinks, because He will judge us by His thinking. Now, AND then, what matters is what He thinks.
My ways are often not His ways (Deuteronomy 30:16). In that Judgement Day,
* my right and wrong “as I see it“,
* my “it’s okay to be impure” attitude,
* my excuses for fornication,
* my boyfriend-girlfriend sex,
* my “sexual preference“,
* my same-sex sex,
* my fetus farming science,
* my baby killing abortion choice,
* my “the ends justify the means” way of life,
* my hatred of others,
* my unyielding refusal to follow Jesus in all things,
* my lifestyle contrary to Jesus’ teachings,
… will not stand in the Court of God.
If you believe that Christ was God in the flesh (John 1:14; John 6:51) and sacrificed Himself on our behalf – then you are part way there to walking into His Kingdom. But, that is not enough. We must follow Him. And God has told us clearly what it is to really “follow” Him. Are you truly “following Christ”? [Even Satan “believes” in Christ! But He does not follow Him.]
Being ¨Christian¨ is not a matter of us determining what is Christian and what is not. Being ¨Christian¨ is a matter of God. He determines reality. He has already determined how it is to be. Through the Bible we can know His will by ¨accurately dividing the Word of Truth¨ (2 Timothy 2:15). God has not told us to make our own way. Don´t deceive yourself into Hell (Galatians 6:7).
We cannot choose our way over His declared way, live in rebellion against Him – and expect that He will then forgive us when we reach His pearly gates. This will not work, to arrive and say: “But-but-but we thought we were okay….” He already communicated His Word to us – in the Scriptures. He has already told us what He will say in that day to those who disregard His Word:
23And then I will say to them openly (publicly),
I never knew you;
depart from Me,
you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].
The point of life is to truly please God. And Scripture clearly explains how. (2 Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 5:16; Galatians 6:8) It is not a matter of living without sinning. It is not a matter of being a church goer. And in THAT day, your philosophy will not win the day. God will win. And we only win in Him.
We are not saved by our works,
but our works show God
that we are, or not,
actually following Him and His ways.
The Bible says that if our life acts (our works)
do not match His Way –
then our faith is useless on That Day.
And it is worthless now.
So, what is it like to be a Christian these days? …The same as it always has:
“8He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you
but to do justly,
and to love kindness and mercy,
and to humble yourself
and walk humbly with your God?”
…“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”
—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,
9 that if you confess with your mouth
Jesus as Lord,
and believe in your heart
that God raised Him from the dead,
you will be saved;
10 for with the heart a person believes,
resulting in righteousness, and
with the mouth he confesses,
resulting in salvation.
There is no blanket coverage of the sins of all men. You are made right before God only when you personally believe and confess. Salvation requires YOU believe and that YOU confess …and follow Him.
9 For if you tell others with your own mouth
that Jesus Christ is your Lord
and believe in your own heart
that God has raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.
(Romans 10:9) Living Bible (TLB)
Being Christian By God
Being Christian (as opposed to merely “a church goer”), by God’s understanding, involves believing, confessing – and following Him in word and deed. For “faith without works is dead”. Don’t get caught dead with a dead faith. The results are eternal.
“For it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that – the Judgement”