By: Jason Swedeen, Pastor
It concerns me to hear how often people are offended or turned off by the phrase ‘Christian’. I will stand in the offense and the defense in this article and hope to bring truth, understanding and challenge to all affected. Christian, simply put, means a follower of Christ. It means to think, act, talk, see like Christ.
As God instructs in His Word that judgment starts with His house/people, I will first begin there. I commend highly those of you who truly are what you say you are whether Christian or not. You live/practice what you say. With that said, it grieves my spirit to see, and hear about, so many people who just warm the seat of a church, thinking it’s their duty, and call themselves ‘Christians’ and yet their life does not represent the life of Christ Jesus. The Bible warns those who deceive themselves. Who said you would benefit by believing a lie or causing someone else to believe a lie about you? Being in church or calling yourself a ‘Christian’ doesn’t make you a Christian. Those unjustly using the term ‘Christian’ as a label to make them look good or feel good will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of God’s law—Hell…Eternity!! If you are really trying to do what’s right, but you’re not getting it right, then quit trying to act perfect and be real and humble with people. Quit making people feel condemned by your oh-so, self-righteous attitude. You live your life the way God commands in His Word and God’s Spirit will convict others of their sin and their own conscience will condemn them self.
What also grieves my spirit is that others of you out there have neglected and rejected anything that has ‘Christian’ in it because you’ve had first hand experience with those who either say their Christians, but really aren’t or they haven’t grown up enough to know how to act. The truth is right there. They really aren’t a follower of Christ or they are just ignorant of how to live. You don’t kick a 7 year-old off a baseball team just because they don’t know all the rules or how to play right. They may be ignorant, but their doing the best they know how. They will grow up, but only if you let them and encourage them. The focus of the term ‘Christian’ is on Christ, not people. Christ is perfect, people are imperfect. There will always be people who will misrepresent Christ Jesus. Therefore, don’t reject the truth and love of God just because people are imperfect and have faults. Look beyond the person and see the truth of Jesus Christ that is working to transform their life so that they do live what they say. You don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Not every car mechanic knows what their doing, but you don’t conclude that their all bad just because some are or else, you’ll never get your car fixed. Matthew 7:17, 20 says, “…every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit…Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” You don’t throw out a whole bucket of strawberries just because you find one bad one.
Testing the fruits in people’s lives will help you know who speaks the truth by living it and who does not. Hence the title, ‘Who’s who”. This will put a demand upon people to actually live what they say. Also, saying you’re a Christian doesn’t make you one nor does it make you saved. Being a Christian isn’t about a denomination. It’s about trusting and following Christ Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God. God didn’t create hell for any human. It is for those, though including humans, who choose to rebel against God and not follow His Son Jesus, the Christ.