Thursday, September 20, 2007

THE GODLY CHRISTIAN


The Bible says that “the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). Lately, I have been thinking about what it means to be a Christian- not just a Christian in name, but one who is truly committed to living his life for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). This kind of Christian will stand out in a crowd. Not surprisingly, this kind of Christian will also bear the spurn of the world just as the first Christians did when the gospel of Jesus Christ penetrated pagan cultures. Not much has changed in this regard. As our society drifts further and further toward a moral abyss, we will find that truly following Christ makes us unpopular. A cross is not, after all, a symbol that defines worldly success. Rather, a cross is the symbol of crucifixion. For the godly believer, it means death to self: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). A.W. Tozer wrote: “The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said good-by to his friends. He was not coming back. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.”[1]

To be identified as a Christian, in the truest sense of the word, marks a person as radically different from those who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, or from those who may be Christians, but are still living for self. To employ a familiar cliché, a godly Christian “marches to a different drummer.” His walk is out of step with the beat of the world. This is the way that God intended it. However, we must not allow this fact to lead us to the wrong conclusion. The obedient child of God is not different for the sake of being different. His life is not defined by rules, but by a relationship. He does not refuse to partake of worldly things because he deems himself spiritually superior or duty-bound. His separation is not as much from things as much as it is to someone, and that someone is Jesus Christ. If truth were told, the former (separation from the world) is not possible without the latter (abiding in Christ). Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

The one who turns to Jesus for the forgiveness of sin experiences a profound love that compels him to love in return. This should be the norm. “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). When one of the scribes inquired concerning the greatest commandment, our Lord responded: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Mark 12:30-31). If we love Jesus with our whole hearts, there will be nothing left for the world. By this I do not mean that the Christian cannot appreciate the common grace of God in the created world or show Christ-like love to others. He must do these things. Yet, within his heart, there is a place of devotion that only God occupies. In the simplest terms, this is what it means to be a Christian who lives for God’s glory. Jesus is the One whom we love, worship, and serve moment by moment, day after day, even to the point of death (2 Timothy 4:6).

Certainly, I know that much more could be said to describe the godly Christian. We could talk of how he came to Christ; we could speak about his calling, his manner of life, and what he possesses in Christ Jesus. The essence of it, however, comes down to this: Godly Christian men and women delight in giving their all to the one who gave His all for them. It cannot be more clearly stated than in the words of the Apostle Paul: “For to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). Let us praise God that, through the power of Christ working in us, we can be godly Christians. Every Christian can give the same testimony: “For me to live is Christ!” I pray that this will be your testimony to the glory of God.


[1] A.W. Tozer, “The Old Cross and the New”


Draw near to Him,


Pastor Tom

4 comments:

Holly Boston said...

I have been reading your blog for quite some time, but never commented. I just wanted you to know that your words definitely touch my soul (in this posting and in all your others), and they leave a lasting impression on my heart. Thank you, brother, and Praise God for your willingness to speak on such matters!

B. Irv said...

Well said.

San Diego trio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
San Diego trio said...

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and encouraging words. Some don't post comments on the blog site, but I appreciate your e-mails. The Lord is truly good and worthy of our praise. Keep on serving Him. Thanks also to Tanya who does the proofreading for me. Your servant's heart blesses others.