Live the Gospel

When reading through the NT letters, one can encounter numerous exhortations from the authors that their readers should live in a manner that validates their claim to be followers of Jesus. These include passages such as:

27 Only let your way of life be worthy of the Good News of Christ, that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your state, that you stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the Good News (Philippians 1:27 WEB)

That the Apostles should be so concerned with the way Christians conducted their lives reflects the teachings of Jesus who challenged many of the religious leaders of his day for focusing on legalistic compliance with their perception of law and ritual while neglecting goodness and humility, and failing to treat others as they ought.

If we, as Christians, really believe in the crucified and risen Christ, and taken seriously the Scriptural warning of the consequences in this life for bad behavior, improper conduct, and unrestrained passions and compulsions, as well as a Final Judgment to come, then this should be reflected in the way we genuinely endeavor to live our lives. Furthermore, if those who are outside the Church encounter professing Christians who are chronically struggling with self-destructive behavior, anxiety over life, or are just uptight and arrogant jerks who think they got it all together and are so much better than everyone else, they are going to be neither inspired nor impressed.

Of course, we all need grace and mercy. When believers are buried with Christ in the waters of baptism, they are not going to be raised from the water in a state of absolute peace and perfection–as is evident in the writings of the New Testament. We are all works in progress. This is why regular fellowship and communion with other believers is so important (this can include other Christ-centered ministries and fellowships as well such as Celebrate Recovery)–not as a legalistic requirement but as a regular source of strength, reassurance, mutual encouragement, and reminders of our mission as Christians to serve as salt and light in an often dark world as well as our calling to live in victory over sin through the inspiring power of the Gospel. Certainly, if we are able to conduct our lives with grace, peace, joy, humility, and strength, others will recognize this and understandably seek to live this way as well.

A while back I came across a compelling point made by a theologian (sorry, I cannot remember who it was, and I do not want to take credit for it). It was something like this: Skeptics may reject what we believe, but they cannot deny our goodness.

Grace and peace,

Chris

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