CHRISTIANS ARE NOT EXEMPT

When one becomes a member of the Lord’s body, all past sins are forgiven and the God of heaven does not hold them against him anymore (Hebrews 8:12). He now enjoys all spiritual blessings in the Christ (Ephesians 1:3). He is a part of the greatest family in the world, which is God’s family, the church.

Being a Christian, however, does not mean that every aspect of a person’s life is different from the life of non-saved people. There are a number of things in life from which the disciples of Jesus are not exempt just because they belong to the Lord.

In general, Christians are not exempt from facing challenges in life. When we read the book of 1 Peter, in each chapter of that encouraging and enlightening epistle we find references to trials, suffering, or persecution which the early saints endured.

Christians are not exempt from what we call “the laws of nature.” Newton’s First Law of Motion (inertia) applies to our lives like it does to everyone else’s. The same is true of gravity. When a heavy object slips out of our hands, it can fall on and smash our foot just like it would with a non- Christian.

Christians and those whom they love dearly are not exempt from accidents. Just like unbelievers, if we are using tools or power equipment, it is possible that we might accidently cut off a finger.

Christians are not exempt from paying taxes. As a follower of the Christ, I cannot pull out an identification card and say, “Because I serve the Lord, I do not have to pay taxes.” It does not work that way. The Bible says, “Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs . . .” (Romans 13:7).

Christians are not exempt from the need to show kindness just because those around us fail to do so. God expects us to be kind and tenderhearted, regardless of how others treat us (Ephesians 4:32).

Christians are not exempt from facing the consequences of unwise financial decisions. If I invest a large sum of money in a company which crashes, I will have to face that unpleasant outcome, just like a non-Christian would.

Christians are not exempt from the reality set forth in Galatians 6:7: “. . . for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” If it has been confirmed that I have been telling lies, I should not be surprised when other people no longer trust me, even though I continue to label myself “a Christian.”

Christians are not exempt from sickness and disease. The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a heavy, heavy toll on humanity in a number of ways. If we focus only on what it has done to the human body, including death in some cases, we might wonder why Christians have to face bodily infirmities. After all, we are servants of the Great Healer, correct? Paul had to deal with a thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-9), a brother Trophimus was left behind as a sick man (2 Timothy 4:20), and Timothy’s body had stomach issues and frequent infirmities (1 Timothy 5:23). Getting sick is part of the experience of being a human. In contrast to life on earth, heaven, without pain or sorrow, sounds very appealing, does it not?!

Christians are not exempt from the possibility of losing their job. When a nation or area’s economy takes a severe downturn, even as the Covid-19 has played havoc on international markets and local industries, many people, including God’s children, have faced reduced wages or lost their jobs entirely. It does not mean that God has stopped caring about any of us (1 Peter 5:7), but the same things befall Christians which also happen to other humans.

Christians are not exempt from the possibility of being led astray by religious error. Peter foretold that many would follow the destructive ways of false teachers (2 Peter 2:1,2). Over and over, the people of God are warned, “Do not be deceived.”

Christians are not exempt from relationship challenges. “If I love the Lord, why are my husband and I going through such a rough time? We seem to argue all the time.” Being a Christian does not automatically make us masters at controlling our tongue. We still have to work diligently to imitate a virtuous person and make certain that “the law of kindness” is on our tongue (Proverbs 31:26). To Christian couples who are struggling, we would say, hang in there. Others have been in your shoes and not only survived, but thrived in their marriage.

“Well, if Christians are not exempt from pain, tragedy, and heartache, what benefit is there in being a Christian?” “Much in every way” (Romans 3:2). Christians have the abundant life in Jesus (John 10:10). Our sins are forgiven (Colossians 1:14). We have a caring heavenly Father and loving brotherhood. And, we also have the hope of heaven (1 Peter 1:3,4).

The world in which we live is not a perfect one. I am reminded of that each time I look in the mirror, because the image I see in the mirror is that of an imperfect person. Beyond the imperfections of humanity is the reality that not everything which occurs in the world is pleasant to see or experience personally. No human, including a Christian, totally escapes painful experiences in which they suffer physical or mental pain. No, Christians are not exempt.

— Roger D. Campbell

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