SOME FALSE IDEAS ABOUT CHRISTIAN LIVING

Through the Christ, Christians enjoy the most abundant life (John 10:10). While the Bible is clear in setting forth what the Lord expect of His followers, sometimes people develop or accept various false concepts about Christian living. Let us point out a few false notions which we encounter from time to time.

Some seem to think that as a Christian, all one has to do is to refrain from taking part in evil activities. It is true that there are certain things in which God forbids us to participate, things like those noted as “the works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19-21). Yet, to avoid doing “bad things” does not guarantee that one will be in the right relationship with the Lord. God calls on Christians to be doers of His word (James 1:22). God calls on Christians to imitate Jesus (1 Peter 2:21,22) and to possess certain spiritual qualities (2 Peter 1:5-11). Our Lord calls us to action: to serve, love, study, pray, and teach others the gospel are some of the responsibilities which all children of God have. One might pat himself on the back because he does no harm to others. In fact, being a Christian is a higher calling than just sitting and doing nothing.

A second false concept is that God’s standard for Christians’ conduct is set so high that it is impossible to be faithful. Some who strive to be faithful get frustrated and wonder, “What is the point of even trying if I can never be faithful?” Because the Lord is gracious, righteous, and fair, He never would demand something of humans which they are not capable of doing. Remember: there is a difference between being sinless and being faithful. No member of the Lord’s body has ever been sinless, but many have been faithful. Paul wrote epistles to “faithful brethren” in multiple locations (Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:2). It is not easy, but it is possible to be faithful in serving Jesus. He has promised a “crown of life” to those who love Him and serve Him faithfully despite the challenges they face (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10).

Others propose a monastery or mountain-top approach to being a Christian. They understand that the Lord does not want us to imitate the world or be contaminated by it (Romans 12:1,2; James 1:27). They conclude that the best thing to do is totally isolate yourself from the world. That way, the ways of the world will not creep into your life. The reality is, for a person to live alone or only around good people does not guarantee that he will not sin. Folks can have evil thoughts (Genesis 6:5) or blaspheme God, regardless of their surroundings. A second downfall of the total-isolation approach is that Jesus wants His disciples to act like the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). They

cannot set forth a good example and be a positive influence on others if they have no contact with them. A third consideration is the need for Christians to teach the gospel to lost people (Mark 16:15,16). If we were to totally barricade ourselves in a place far away from everyone else on the planet, we would be failing in our mission to help others learn the way of salvation.

There also are those who seem to think that being a Christian means one thing: you go to church on special days. Their reasoning is, as long as you do that, then you should be in good shape with the Lord. Many circle two days per year on their calendar as times when one “must” “go to church.” How interesting that the so-called “two biggest days” of the year (Easter and Christmas) are not even mentioned in the Bible! People sooth their conscience by making an appearance in a religious facility on those humanly-devised occasions and give no thought to the Savior the rest of the year. Such is not New Testament Christianity! Neither is attending the services of God’s church every first day of the week, then going out and living like a child of the devil the rest of the week. Jesus calls His disciples to take up their cross each day (Luke 9:23), pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and constantly exhort one another (Hebrews 3:13). Faithful attendance of the church’s assembling is part of what a child of God does (Hebrews 10:24,25), but that is not all there is to it.

Here is a final false idea to analyze: “It is so convenient to be a Christian. You do not need to worry about sinning. If you sin, you just say a little prayer and ask God to forgive you, and He will.” We sometimes hear such a concept from those who criticize the Bible and Christianity. We also observe that some members of the church apparently take such an approach to sin and confession of it.

The Bible plainly portrays Christians as people who commit sin, despite their efforts to avoid it (1 John 1:8,10). God’s promise is that He will forgive His children who walk in the light and confess their sins (1 John 1:7,9). We take comfort in these words: “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Is it possible for a person to abuse this privilege? It sure is. The Bible teaches us that God wants us to abhor and abstain from evil (Romans 12:9). When Christians confess their sins, it needs to come from a heart of repentance and a commitment to do their best to avoid such transgressions in the future (Acts 8:21,22).

Our closing appeal is simple: our concept of Christian living must be based solely on the Bible.

— Roger D. Campbell

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