There was a popular question that used to pop up in Christian circles, “If you were accused of being a Christian, would a jury of your peers find you guilty?” In other words, do you really live your life as if you believe what you claim to believe? The problem I have with that question, is that the current social definition of a Christian is pretty weak.
Perhaps the question should be rephrased, “If you were accused of trying to be like Jesus, would you be convicted by a jury of your peers?” Because the sad truth is that too often there is a huge gap between being considered a “Christian” and actually trying to be Christ-like.
Obedience to God, that is holiness living, is the difference in just being known as a “Christian” and actually being Christ-like. The former are marked as participants in an organization; the latter seek to bring healing, encourage growth, strengthen, and otherwise support for the world around them by obedience to God and genuine concern for our neighbor.
It is the difference in practicing something for yourself, and practicing something that makes you better for the sake of others. That is the entire life and death of Jesus Christ—obedience to the Father and self-sacrifice for the sake of others
Concerning all of the laws that God gave the Israelites before they entered the promise land, God told them, “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:7-9 NIV). Here, God was preparing the people to be a people that actually practiced obedience to God in everything that they did.
They were to obey God regarding the way they raise their children, and be examples to their children of Godly people in the world. There is no better way to raise our kids than to actually live what we claim—to practice what we preach. The very way the Israelites talked and socialized with others should have revealed that they were a people who loved God. Everything they did in work, play, or whatever, should have been done in a way that reflected their love for, and obedience to, God. When someone came into their home or their lives, they were responsible to live Godly lives before them.
The point was that they were not just to be good Jews in front of other Jews or at Temple; holiness to God was to be the very essence of their existence. Then, and only then, could they live full lives and be a blessing to the rest of the world.
The same goes for us today. It is not enough to claim to be a Christian. A salvation prayer is not a magic spell that protects us from condemnation. Salvation is by faith alone. Paul said, “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 NIV).
Do we understand that how we live is probably the best indicator of what we really believe? Do we understand that our children, our neighbors, everyone in this world recognizes our behavior and by it decide what it is we believe? A fish on our bumper tells people who we associate with, our actions reveal what we believe. Does the way you live cause people to believe that you seek to be Christ-like, or do you settle for a fish that tells people you are a Christian?
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!