THE BIBLICAL CHRISTIAN LIFE
By Michael McPherson
What is the normal Christian life? How is a Christian supposed to live? What makes a person a Christian? To find an answer one might have to sift through a muddle of signs, steeples and places. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia there are over 33,000 various denominations or branches of church organizations worldwide claiming to be Christian.
There are the Roman Catholics, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s’ Witness, Baptists, Evangelicals, Episcopalians, Pentecostals and many more.
Generally, these denominations differ either on religious doctrines (e.g., salvation, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit); on the practice of Christianity –rites, rituals, ceremonies, worship, observances, spiritual manifestations; or they differ on Christian behavior – what a member should believe, eat, drink, wear, lifestyle, and various dos and don’ts.
In the Scriptures it is clear that some of these denominations are antichrists. “They went out from us, but they did not belong to us.” (1 John 2:19) They are called deceivers and seducers whose end purpose is to lead man astray, and seal his condemnation. (Matthew 7:15) Then there are others that seek to capture a following based on the traditions and doctrines of men. (Matthew 15:9, Colossians 2:22) Others yet are led by false teachers and preachers who seek to fulfill their greed (Isaiah 56:11, 2 Peter 2:1-3). And others practice a form of godliness, to satisfy those who seek religion without the dictates of a holy God. (2 Timothy 4:3)
Definition of a Christian
A Christian by Biblical definition is one who follows Jesus Christ. It is not a person who makes a profession of faith or a “decision for Christ,” or is a member of a particular church organization. To follow Christ means we must abide in Christ; you must be in union in His death, His burial and His resurrection.
Our minds had to be renewed and this involved reckoning, or seeing ourselves on the back of the Cross with Jesus. When he died so did we, to our dispositions and desires. When he was buried so were we, to the lusts of the world. And when he was resurrected to the right hand of the Father, so were we, to take authority over principalities and powers.
Beware of Contradictions
Any church or denomination that seeks to dethrone the sovereignty of Jesus Christ as the King, Master and Lord of the life of the believer, and final authority in all matters, should be suspect. (1 John 2:22)
Any loyalty, adherence, commitment, adulation, exaltation or devotion to a religious leader, preacher, a denomination, a doctrine, a practice, a church organization or worship and prayers to anyone not Jehovah God Almighty is called idolatry in the Scriptures; an offence against the Lord thy God. (Exodus 34:14)
Any practice or doctrine which contradicts the Word of God, that adds to or takes away from the written Scriptures should be cause for alarm (Deuteronomy 12:32, Revelation 22:18-19)
In Agreement with the Word of God
The Biblical Christian Life, according to the Scriptures, starts with the acknowledgement of who a Christian is. It is the one who has agreed with the Word of God. He has seen himself as a sinner, under condemnation. He has been convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit, repented, pleaded for mercy, believed on the Lord Jesus and surrendered his life to be a bondservant, to serve Christ all the days of his life.
The Lord Jesus has said if you will not love him more than anything and anyone else in this world, you cannot claim to be a Christian. (Luke 14:26) If you cannot get past this statement, you should examine yourself to see if you are truly in the faith.
And if you are not a follower of Christ, the Scriptures say you are a child of the Devil and under condemnation. The situation is completely black and white. There is no grey area, middle ground or other category of persons. He, who is not a follower of Jesus Christ and has given his life to serve Christ and him alone, is a servant of Satan. You are either in the Kingdom of God or in the kingdom of darkness, sentenced to eternal punishment. (1 John 3:9-10)
A Change in Heart
The one so committed to the Lord then has had a miracle happen. The Lord Himself touched his heart and gave him a new spirit so he could love God and obey God. (Ezekiel 36:26) The Spirit of God witnessed to him, in his soul, that he was forgiven and is now a child of the Most High. He now has an unquenchable desire to know God, to love God, and to please God. Notice we said a desire for God, not for church ceremonies and choirs and preaching, but a desire to have a relationship with the Lord.
The Christian finds out that another change has happened. He no longer desires the things that previously gave him pleasure that grieve the Lord. To this new born Christian, God has given a purpose. It is to grow into the fullness of knowledge of God Almighty and to be conformed to the likeness of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The Christian is called a joint heir with Christ, an adopted son, and is granted the privilege of sitting with Christ on His throne. (Revelation 3:21)
The Biblical Christian Life
The Biblical Christian life is not characterized by dos and don’ts or rites and rituals. The Christian is guided by the indwelling Christ, the Spirit of God himself, which has come into the souls of the redeemed. This is a supernatural thing that has happened. It is the only way a person can grow into the fullness of Christ to fulfill the purposes of God. The Spirit illuminates the Word of God, the Scriptures, so the Christian can understand and grow in the knowledge of God.
This same occurrence happens to the Christian in Africa, China, America or Russia. In the city, the countryside, on the fields of the Serengeti, or in the villages of Peru. All born again Christians are united by the Spirit of God. For God is one. The Church of Jesus Christ is the Body of Christ and the only separation should be geographic.
Priests unto God
Then the Christian is called to be a minister unto God, to imitate the ministry of Jesus Christ. This does not mean he or she is called to be a pastor, evangelist or hold office in a church. To be a priest or minister unto God, and to perform the works of Christ means the Christian is called, as God leads, to intercede for the lost, to rebuke the forces of evil that keep men in bondage, to be a witness for God Almighty and to live Christ, a life pleasing to the Lord.
Stories abound of grandmothers rebuking the Devil and saving their granddaughters from destruction and death. Fathers save rebellious sons through intercessory prayer, and men rescue their neighbors from damnation through their witness of the living God. These are ordinary Christians, living a normal Christian life.
A Witness for Christ
A witness is someone who has experienced the transformative power of God in their lives. Not someone who has read about the lives and experiences of others, or who knows theology and can read verses in a Bible. This witness for Christ out of reverence, awe and fear of God will seek to be holy as God is holy, because that is what the Lord demands from all His children.
And the one growing in holiness and in the fullness of Christ, and knowledge of God will be a light in a world of darkness. (Mathew 5:14) He will love his brother in Christ, regardless of what church he attends, love his neighbors as himself, and will pray for his enemies. He will hate sin in his life, and will not love the world. For all that is in the world is of the Devil: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.
The desire of the Christian to love his neighbor and to do God’s will transcends politics, race, ethnicity, fear, prejudice, religion and nationalism. How can one be a Biblical Christian and despise his neighbor but say he loves God? It can’t be. (1 John 4:20) And who is your neighbor? Everyone you come into contact with.
Thus God is glorified. He is honored, praised, held high by these that glorify His name through Christ in them, the hope of glory. These Christians are becoming the mouth, hands and feet of the Lord Jesus, as they grow into the fullness of Christ.
Glorification of God
The Biblical Christian life is a life purposed to please and glorify God according to the measure of faith each is given (Romans 12:2-3). It is not characterized by spiritual manifestations, rites, rituals, practices, doctrines or church membership. For the children of the Devil can do all these things. (2 Peter 2:15)
These genuine Christians will be persecuted. (Matthew 5:11) And persecution may come from the very church they attend. But God commands them to stand. Stand for Christ and the Word of God, not for the doctrines of men or the lies of the evil one.
He commands you to be faithful to Christ, even unto death. (Revelation 2:10) This, dear friend, is the Biblical Christian life.