Friday, July 25, 2014

If Everybody in Christ Were Just Like Me...

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
You have perhaps heard the expression, "If everybody in the church were just like me, what kind of a church would this world see? But if everybody in Christ were just like me, what kind of a Christ would this world see? Good question.  Every time I am angry without cause, would the world see an angry Christ? The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26,  "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath..." I used to tell the church I pastored in Tigard Oregon that only God had the right to righteous indignation because He was the only one who is truly righteous. I think about Moses, that great lawgiver. The Bible says of Moses in Numbers 12:3,  "(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)," yet it was because of his show of unrighteous anger at the waters of Meribah  that he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land with the Children of Israel. (See Numbers 20:7-12) No, if I show anger at one thing or another and call it righteous indignation, I will probably not feel the need to repent before the sun goes down.

What kind of a Christ would people who knew me see if, for instance, I visited places I ought not to go? Would they get the impression that they could do anything because God didn't really care? The Apostle Paul said in Romans 5:20-21, "Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." Aren't we glad for the grace of God that has been manifested in our lives? But although chapter 5 of Romans stops there, Paul didn't. In Romans 6:1-2 he went on, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" What he was saying was the grace of God, while it takes away sin, doesn't condone sin! Rather grace teaches us how to live as Christians in this present world while we look, "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." (See Titus 2:11-14)

One of the first passages of scripture that jumped out at me and that I committed to memory when I first read the Bible was Colossians 3:17, I still remember it to this day, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." What that has meant to me over the years is where I go, what I say, everything I do should be done as Christ's representative, as though the Lord Jesus was doing it. So the question is a valid one, if everybody in Christ were just like me, what kind of a Christ would this world see? My hope and prayer is that they would see a true image of Jesus Christ.

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