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Would Jesus Approve Of Modern Christianity?

Would Jesus Approve Of Modern Christianity?

Check out this very thought-provoking article by Wes McAdams.  If you or your church consider yourselves Christian, that’s great.  However, would JESUS consider you to be Christian?  That’s a very important question.

How will you answer it?  Will you go by your feelings?

Or will you go by the Bible?

I Appeal To You…

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2 – Scripture Of The Day (January 10, 2014)

What first jumps out at me is the “appeal.”  Paul (and therefore God, since Paul was writing under inspiration – 1 Cor. 14:37) is appealing to us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice and be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  God doesn’t force us to do anything (Josh. 24:15).  Rather, happeals to us.  What love!  What consideration!

What next gets me thinking is that Paul is making this appeal to us “by the mercies of God.”  That tells me that not only are we forgiven by the mercy of God, but even our obedience of God, our spiritual growth and progress, our walk with him, only happens due to his mercy.  That makes sense, when you stop and think about it.  We all have sinned, after all (1 John 1:8), and we deserve death for our sins (Rom. 6:23)…not the opportunity to serve and glorify the One whom we have wronged.  Again, what love!  What consideration!

What is the appeal?  To present our “bodies” as “a living sacrifice.”  In other words, All To Jesus I SurrenderNone of Self and All of Thee.  Christianity is not just a weekend activity or an extra-curricular activity.  Our Christianity is not our alter-ego, and it does not revolve around our lives.  No, our lives revolve around our Christianity.  The kingdom and the righteousness of God come first, above everyone and everything else (Matt. 6:33; 22:35).  Christian, is your life like that?  Do you want to be “holy and acceptable to God”?  Guess what you have to do?

What is our “spiritual worship”?  He was just talking about dedicating our entire lives to God.  Does that mean all of our lives consists of worship to God?  No, because the Greek word translated “worship” here could also be translated “service.”  (Plus, consider this.  Are we worshiping God while we’re sinning?  While we’re sleeping?  While we’re eating?  There’s no biblical example of anyone doing that, and the more examples we think of the more absurd the notion becomes.  Worship in spirit and truth [John 4:24] consists of purposeful actions which he has commanded us to do in praise and honor to him [Col. 3:16; 4:2; Acts 2:42]).  So here’s what God’s really telling us.  Do you want to really be “spiritual”?  Do you really want to serve God?  Dedicate your entire life to obeying his revealed will in the Word of God.  That’s true spiritual service.

In order to do that, we can’t be “conformed to the world.”  Ask yourselves this, Christians.  How different from the world are you, really?  God’s not talking about not liking tacos because your non-Christian neighbor likes tacos.  God’s talking about not watching porn like the majority of this country does.  God’s talking about not cussing or gossiping like the majority of the people around us do.  God’s talking about dressing modestly at all times when you’re in public…unlike most people in our society.  God’s talking about your Facebook “About” page having “Christian” under the “Religion” section…and not having dirty jokes, foul language, and immodest pictures in the “Status” section…get the picture?  Would the people you work with, go to school with, and hang out with be surprised to see you with a Bible in your hand, or if they got an invite to come to church with you, or to see you with bowed head in prayer?  If so…why is that?

In order for us to not be conformed to the world, we have to “be transformed.”  How?  “By the renewing of our mind.”  We have to change the way we think.  We have to change our worldview, our priorities.  How do we do that?  Read Psalm 1.  Want to be like the man described in verses 1 and 3?  Want to not be like the people described in verses 4 and 5?  You have to be like the man described in verse 2…every single day.  Do that…with an open and honest heart (Luke 8:15)…and you’d be surprised at how quickly the transformation starts to occur.  Don’t, and you’ll just keep on being a Christian-In-Name-Only…and you won’t like what happens to you on the Day of Judgment (Matt. 7:21-27; Heb. 10:26-31).

(Here’s a test.  If you’re truly interested in transforming your mind and are unfamiliar with Psalm 1 and the other scriptures I’ve cited thus far, you will have already turned to them in your Bible or looked them up on the Internet by now.  If you just nodded your head and moved on, you have a ways to go before you’ll start to look different from the rest of the world.  This is real, people.  It’s not going to happen to you by accident, and not without dedication and hard work.  Just sayin’…)

If you work very hard at transforming your mind (cf. 2 Pet. 1:5-11), guess what you’re doing?  You’re “discerning what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  You won’t have to wonder about where God stands on things, or what would Jesus do.  You’ll know, because you are storing up God’s will in your heart in order to avoid sin (Ps. 119:11; Heb. 5:12-14).  Not only that, but you will be finding out what Proverbs brings out time and time again…that doing things God’s way really is the good way, the acceptable way, the perfect way.

This is what Christianity is all about, folks…

Are We Saved By Works?

Saved by grace through faith“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).  From this passage we see that we are saved by God’s grace through our faith, and that we did not save ourselves, but rather our salvation is a gift from God (Rom. 6:23).

However, the Bible also has more to say about this question, and we must not ignore what its entirety says (Ps. 119:160).  Notice that Paul said that we are saved not only “by grace,” but also “through faith.”  What is faith?

The Bible has a lot to say about faith.  It is necessary for salvation (Mark 16:16), it is necessary to please God (Heb. 11:6), and it is defined both as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence for things not seen” (Heb. 11:1) and believing that “(God) is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6).

Faith without works is deadDoes faith have anything to do with works?  The Bible asks, “What does it profit…if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can faith save him?…Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14, 17).  So we see that in order to have a living faith, a faith that pleases God, we must have works.  Otherwise, our faith is dead.

So what does the Ephesians passage mean when it says that we are saved by grace through faith and not of works?  If you go back to that passage and skip down to verse 10, you’ll see that we were created for good works, works of obedience (cf. Eccl. 12:13).  When we do “works,” i.e., obey God, we are only doing what we were supposed to be doing in the first place (Luke 17:5-10).

However, we all sin (Rom. 3:23; 1 John 1:8, 10).  When we sin, our just God requires a penalty for that sin (Rom. 2:8-9).  It is through his love and grace that Christ paid that debt on the cross (John 3:16).  We could not pay it because of our sin that requires the debt to be paid in the first place (Rom. 3:23).  Therefore, no works that we do could save us because our sin cancels out those works.  That’s where God’s grace comes in.

Jesus saves those who obey himNevertheless, God still requires us to obey him if we want salvation (Heb. 5:9), even though he has offered us his grace (Rom. 6:1).  If we truly believe that he “is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6), then our faith will prompt us to obey him (James 2:14-26).  Thus, we are saved through faith (Eph. 2:8).

Think about it.  The last time you gave into a temptation to do something that you know the Bible says is a sin, did you truly believe God’s Word at that moment in time when you gave in and committed the sin anyway?  If you had, then you would not have committed the sin.  Your faith was weak.

Grace does not give us license to sinGod’s grace saves us, but that grace teaches us to live righteously (Tit. 2:11-12).  We will do so if we have faith.  If we don’t have faith, we will live unrighteously and thus will not be saved by His grace in the end (Rev. 21:8).  Will grace save us if we don’t follow grace’s teachings?  God very explicitly says, “No.”  (Rom. 6:1-2)

We must not continue unrepentantly in sinAre you allowing the grace of God to bring salvation to your soul?  Obey God’s Word and become a Christian through penitent, confessed faith in the Son of God and his kingdom (Matt. 10:32-33; Acts 8:12; Rom. 10:9-10; 2 Cor. 7:9-11; 1 Cor. 6:9-11) and baptism into his body for salvation and the forgiveness of sins (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:21).  Remain faithfully obedient by walking in the light of fellowship with God by continually confessing and repenting of your sins (Matt. 7:21-27; Rev. 2:10; 1 John 1:7-9; Heb. 10:26-31; Luke 13:3, 5).Baptize

Don’t receive the grace of God in vain.