Do you call yourself a Christian? Lots of people do! The problem is that many people have got a very wrong idea about what being a Christian really means.
I want to challenge you to think about this today.
For some, going to church or chapel week in week out is what it’s all about. For others, they once said a prayer and asked Jesus into their life and think that’s sorted them for eternity. Lots are trusting in the fact that they had Christian parents and grandparents. Others are content that their Christian friends and acquaintances have a good opinion of them. Another group compare themselves to the rest of the world and decide that they are not too bad really.
People like this fit in well on Sundays. They sing the hymns, bow their head in prayer, listen diligently to the sermon, enjoy the social times with their church friends – they talk the talk very convincingly.
But, on Monday morning, they go back into the world, and they fit in well there too. They act like non-Christians. They talk about the latest TV, films, sporting events and celebrities, just like the world. They watch what the world watches. They listen to the world’s music. They dress like the world. They post like the world. They like what the world likes.
And do you know…if something looks like the world and sounds like the world, it very likely is the world!
I’m being really blunt here, but it worries me that many people have got this wrong. What about you?
Think about these passages from the epistles…
‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.’ (Romans 12:1-2)
‘For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.’ (Titus 2:11-14)
‘Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.’ (1 John 2:15)
‘For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.’ (Romans 8:13)
The message couldn’t be any clearer. Christians should not be like the world. Christians are new creations. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, they become ‘strangers and pilgrims’ in the world. They no longer fit in, they are not conformed to the world, they are uncomfortable with the world. They no longer love the world or worldly things. They no longer live to please themselves and begin to live for the glory of God. This happens at conversion. It does grow with spiritual maturity as the Lord purifies, but it is there from the start.
Salvation is through faith alone, but not faith that is alone. Faith is always coupled with repentance. Repentance is the continual confession of sin and the daily battle to change, to fight sin. Paul says that he preached so ‘that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.’ (Acts 26:20 ESV). Christians will never be perfect this side of heaven, but they will hate
Get this clear in your mind. There is no such thing as a worldly or carnal Christian. If you claim to be a Christian, but your life doesn’t reflect that, there is something seriously wrong. If you can fit in as well on Monday as you do on Sunday and feel comfortable doing it, then you are in great danger. If you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you. As James teaches, ‘faith without works is dead‘.
Real Christians don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk. What about you?[A00093 – 05/11/2018]