A post to all my Christian Brothers and Sisters!
What if Christianity wasn't as mainstream and popular as it is today in America?
Okay, let me give a premise to this question: In the Western world, it is normal for anyone to say, “Yes, I am a Christian,” without a real fear of persecution.
What if we would suffer persecution for our faith? How many people would still believe? Would there be as many people calling themselves Christians?
What if Christianity was illegal?
Where would you stand if you were faced with prison or even death?
The Church started under persecution and it flourished. However, what happens to the Church when it starts passing laws to quell sin and become the governing authority? Do we think that we can stop people from sinning by passing laws? If Rome was the first "Christian" nation or empire and then England and maybe at some point America, what has happened to them? Is it a Christian's responsibility to vote to impact government or is it to pray and submit?
These questions were ones I was posing in my head as I listened to some real guys talk about Christianity in America. I have felt for some time now that Christianity in America has become a religion of politics rather than truth, grace and love. It begs the question, “Is it the law that saves, or is it grace?”
Laws do not save people; they condemn them.
What if we invited the people who did not know Jesus and taught them in "truth and love?” What if we taught them Jesus' ways instead of ours, understanding that Jesus bought us at a price! (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
The nagging thought that keeps coming to mind is that people are hiding behind these man-made systems instead of letting God be God. It appears to me that many people do not have a real belief in Jesus. This makes me think about a question my wife posed to me when she was discussing her devotional reading, Gracious Uncertainty (which you should read.)
"Do people really believe in Jesus or do they believe in their belief about Jesus?"
That question has plagued me for a couple of days. When it comes down to the brass tax, do you really believe Jesus? If we can say yes, then the questions that start this blog are not so offensive, scary, or any other emotion you care to put here. See, the idea is if I believe in Jesus, then I love Jesus and therefore obey him. I think that is how it works, right? (John 14:15 to a point) We should come to the conclusion that following Jesus as Lord, Master, and Owner of our life is something that is required of us at His word.
I think a lot of "Christians" believe in the belief of Jesus. (This is not to offend but to offer insight to our lives about how we actually know Jesus.) Okay, so you may be asking, “How so? What do you mean by this statement?”
Well, if one truly believes in Jesus, the words that Jesus spoke would be more than guidelines and suggestions. Jesus meant what He said and this is how we "Christians" should live. Also, if we believe Jesus, then the call that we receive would be of the highest priority to fulfill without hesitation or excuse. If we really believed in Jesus we would eat with the "sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes" (you can use any label that offends you here) and hold accountable the "righteous and pious” (“church-going pew-filler” might work here as well). If we really believed in Jesus, we would know His word and what it really means. We would read it with expectation of revelation and purpose in living our lives.
If we believed in Jesus, we would be driven to conviction of our sins and seek repentance. If we really believed in Jesus, we would welcome persecution because Jesus said it would happen. We would welcome hatred because He was hated.
Or would we?
The Bible is so clear on things. However, we muddy the waters by stirring up issues that are not even in the Scriptures. You know, like trying to push agendas and politics from the pulpit. The thought that seems popular is to grab all of those who are from the same camp and put them in one building and call it a “church.” That is not what we are called to do! Or are we so comfortable in America that we have forgotten what our calling God has given us?
GO! TEACH! BAPTIZE!
Yet instead, we yearn to vote in a law to stop a sin instead of loving someone to Jesus. Of course, the law never stopped anyone from sinning; it is just the lens through which we see our sin. Our priority tends to be less about what our stinky house looks like and more on how we can change someone else to be like the person we are not. This is not just a case of self-righteousness, but I feel it is an indicator of where one’s belief lies. The question presented earlier about one’s belief is answered. You may see a common pattern at ForgettingWalls when we speak the statement:
“It really all comes down to one’s belief and the object of that belief!”
So maybe what we need to do is grab a hold of Jesus’ words and see how following Him could cost us everything (Luke 9:57-62; 10:3; 14:25-33). So, in part, we could focus on what is really important, which is Jesus himself!
As I say all these things, I ponder them myself. I ask myself the questions to see if I am a true follower of Christ. Some days I am the one who should be reconciling and repenting. I have gotten it wrong and from the looks of things, that is okay. I look to the Bible and see how the disciples at times got it wrong. However, with love, compassion, and discipline, Jesus corrected them.
Through the Holy Spirit, he does the same for us.
This post is to open our eyes to ask the questions that sometimes we don't want to ask. It is not to condemn. If that was the case then I didn't listen to one single thing that I have written. I hope and pray that we all can become the person that Jesus calls us to be! I hope we can be real people, who do not live out a fake faith!