By John Miltenberger
The Christians I know are all….humans, and as such are subject to most of the things that dog all humans, like comfort zones, sloth and laziness. Those three evil brothers hunt each of us every day. But as we hear good teaching, receive it and analyze it, we naturally keep these evil things at bay. All ‘good’ teaching has one purpose – to draw us closer to Christ and facilitate our becoming like Him. Teaching that ultimately does not aim for this target is simply off target, no matter how good it may sound. Remember, long after the emotions are over, good teaching remains.
What we are striving for as Christians is the procurement of the Family lifestyle of God; lifestyles that display the righteousness we’ve been given because of our faith in Jesus. What we are not striving for, or should not be striving for, are successful acting careers. But often, acting like Christians is what we acquire. These ‘acting careers’ are correctly and accurately labeled: hypocritical.
Successful hypocrites strive to fit in. They strive for the comfort zone of being like everyone else in the crowd, and thus avoid being ostracized. This is highly political, and we’re good at it; every crowd has its politics. I chose to do this once upon a time, and I lost twenty five years and two days I’ll never get back. As successful hypocrites, the meaning of evangelism is to find those who are not members of the acting guild and convert them to full membership – so they can be like….us.
With those credentials in our spiritual wallets, we can boast about being “good Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics”, etc., while we comfortably surround ourselves with the perceived security of our particular group. This avoids the uncomfortable truth that there are no Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics, etc., in heaven – or eventually in God’s coming Kingdom on the earth. Our failure is in making these religious designations an end, rather than a means to an end. And the end has always and only been Christ.
All real Christians belong to God, through Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Who will introduce His Bride to His Father, not anyone else. No clergyman, no “sainted” person, no super religious relative will usurp this honor. I don’t have an issue with denominations other than that they too often appear to misrepresent themselves as the exclusive Church of God, which they are not.
The universal Church of God is denominationally transcendent, and is entirely composed of those individuals who have heard God’s call on their lives, have consequently heeded His call, and in response, have given over to Jesus Christ the complete title-deed to their personal lives. That statement is a perfect example of “irreducible complexity”.
If being a good Baptist, Presbyterian, Catholic, etc. is the lens you use to focus exclusively on Christ, and that particular lens is pulling you irresistibly into Him, then I say, “Good”. But I’ve noticed one thing about lenses…they need to be changed every so often because what worked last year, may not work this year.
Nobody that wears glasses focuses on the lenses – they focus on the road ahead, and for Christians, the road ahead is Jesus Christ.
Viewpoints expressed herein are of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted or linked therein, and do not necessarily represent those of The Olive Branch Report
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John Miltenberger is a Christian blogger, visit John on his site: The Trip So Far
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