by Jerry Shepperd
The problem I see with the church and with many fellow Christians in general today is indifference to their own faith. I'm sure there are a number of reasons for that. Personally, I think there are three primary reasons why a lot of Christians will not make a stand for Christ and the principles we hold to, because such believers are too much like the world.
- The Compromising Christian: Their reasoning is, we need to be like the world in order to win unbelievers out of the world. Such misguided believers misinterpret Paul's words: “I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some" (1 Cor. 9:22, NASB). The question this raises is, what difference does Christ make, then, in a sinner's life? If we are to behave like those in the world, then how can we show those in the world the difference Christ has made in our lives? The fact is, Paul became "all things," whether a Jew, Gentile, Roman, slave, or free, in order to win them to Christ. By no means does this imply he practiced the various corruptions and sins in order to be like a pagan, Roman, or any other person who he was trying to win to Christ. He could behave according to the custom and behavior expected of a Roman citizen, or as a Jewish citizen for that matter, without adopting their questionable, sinful practices. However, the saint is called to be like Christ. Paul puts it this way, and instructs us to: "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts" (Rom. 13:14, NASB).
- The Christian who will not submit to the Cost: There are those who call themselves Christians, who are not willing to suffer the cost of being associated with Christ or fellow saints. Such "Christians" love it when things are going great, but quickly bail at the first sign of persecution. They want to follow Christ on their terms, not God's. Paul knew this all too well, for one of his fellow workers, “Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica” (2 Tim. 4:10, NASB). Demas did not want to share in the Apostle Paul’s suffering and persecution, let alone share in the fellowship of Christ's sufferings. He was too much a companion of this world to be a true companion to the Apostle. Of such, James writes: “You adulterers and adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4, NASB). How can any Christian truly be at peace and friends with a world that has the blood of Christ on their hands? The Apostle John’s words are clear: “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15, NASB). So what should our attitude be to the world? Again, Paul writes: “And those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away” (1 Cor. 7:31, NKJV). The fact is, to the child of God, this present world is not their home. We are travelers, not settlers, here in this world. To the believer the world has been crucified to him/her, and the believer to the world (see Gal. 6:14; 2:20).
- The Condemning Christian: This type of Christian is highly critical of both Christians and non-Christians. The moment he learns a particular Christian or unbeliever falls short of the condemning Christian's unreasonable expectations and standards, he or she, like the Pharisee of old, will harshly judge and condemn that person. First, to the fellow saint, "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1, NASB). If Christ does not condemn our brother or sister in Christ for their faults, neither should we. Second, the Lord Jesus was not an isolationist, for He often sat and ate with sinners. The Lord Jesus' attitude towards the condemning was "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32, NASB). Self-righteousness is not a virtue; Christ's righteousness is! Let us adopt His righteous attitude, and stop condemning our fellow brother in the Lord.
As believers in Christ, let's avoid being compromising, Christ denying, condemning Christians. Let's glorify Christ by lips, by love, and by our life!