Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Label Me Christian (Wait, What Does That Mean?)

What above all else characterizes a Christian? The Republican party? Opposition to abortion and gay marriage? Is it creationism vs. evolution(ism)? Is it morality? The 10 commandments? The location of the 10 commandments in public places? Is it boycotts of offensive/immoral movies? Is it 7 steps to how to live life to its fullest? Is it don't drink, don't smoke, don't chew (or go with girls who do)? If one were to take a poll of non-Christians—heck, if a poll were taken of Christians themselves—what would be said to be the defining characteristic of a Christian? What would be that sine qua non of Christianity?

Dare I venture to say, it's the Gospel that sets Christians apart? Call me “Captain Obvious” if you want, but this is a point I feel more and more compelled to spread. Christians ultimately are not set apart by their political or moral views or by their personalities, they are set apart by the salvation accomplished on their behalf by the Son of God dying on the cross. They are set apart by their Savior, who rose from the grave, conquering death and paving the way for all those who believe in him to follow thereafter. They are set apart by realizing once and for all that they themselves bring nothing to the table, their only hope is the grace by which God saves them, through the faith that he gives them as well.

If you could see yourself through the eyes of all those who know you, those who interact with you day in and day out, what do you think would stand out? Would you find out that people see you chiefly as a Republican? A social conservative? A creationist? A moral and principled person? Or would they see you as a sinner, saved by a glorious Gospel of grace?

Or from a different angle: If you had only five minutes to talk with an unbeliever of radically different views than you (maybe take a second and envision what that would look like in your case), what would you ideally want to spend that time talking about? If you amazingly managed to change their minds on every view they had but they leave knowing nothing of the Savior who can save them from their sin and wretchedness, how much has really been gained?

So what's the point? My point is not to denigrate politics or morality, nor is my point that it is wrong to talk about anything besides the Gospel. My point is that the most important thing about Christians is that which truly sets them apart, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Shouldn't that be what people know us for?

2 comments:

  1. That's the way it's supposed to be. Now if only there could be some universal consensus on what the Gospel is so we didn't have to correct people who go off the reservation. -B

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well put Jason! I couldn't agree more THAT really is what defines a Christian. Unfortunately so much of American Christianity is either defined or defines it's self in those terms. Keep up the good fight!

    ReplyDelete