TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian


From birth to 17, I grew up unchurched. I only visited a church when I went to my grandmother’s house and that not often as she lived almost three hours away. My knowledge and understanding of biblical matters or of the Christian lifestyle was informed and shaped by what I heard and what I saw in those who claimed to be Christians.

Our behavior as followers of Christ is paramount to the reconciliation of those who have yet to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It through Christ that man is reconciled God being forgiven and cleansed of his (man) sins. It is through man that God chose to make this life known. When we do not live a life worthy of our calling, we cause others to be dissuaded from surrendering to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Holiness, being distinct and set apart, is absolutely paramount for those who claim to be followers of Jesus. It is also the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian

We have been in Ephesians and there is where we will stay to make that point obvious. In Ephesians 4, Paul begins to tell the believers in Ephesus some attitudes and conducts to put off and some to put on. Listen to the rationale:

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

I have spent the last few posts talking about putting on the new self and taking off the old self. In verses 23 and 24, Paul makes it real clear about the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian. We have heard that salvation is free. I do not agree with that. While not in the same degree but in the same manner, salvation costs us the same thing it cost Jesus to provide it – our lives. As a follower of Jesus, we forfeit our “right” to live how we want to live. Paul said it poignantly in Galatians 2:20 where he said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Translation, since I gave my life to Jesus, I have to live how He says for me to live not on my own accord.

This same Paul is making this point in Ephesians 4:22-23 – the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian. We have to be made new in the attitudes of our minds. Then, we have to put on the new self which he explains from the rest of the chapter through the end of chapter six. Nevertheless, we have clarity for the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian at the end of verse 24. We were “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” While it is clear throughout the gospels and the epistles that true righteousness can only be attained through Jesus, it does not absolve us of making every effort to live righteously. That is to have integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting. On the other hand, holiness is piety towards God, fidelity in observing the obligations of piety, holiness i.e. being distinct and separate. If a believers looks like an unbeliever, what is the point? What is the difference?

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” “(1 Corinthians 1)

Jesus’s sacrifice, the salvation of others and our participation in that process is at stake. That is the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian, so when we live how we want to live, that is what we desecrate. Now, will you consider the impact of how you live as a believer? Remember, as it was with me, someone’s knowledge and understanding of biblical matters or of the Christian lifestyle is being informed and shaped by what they hear and what they see in you.

 

 

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