Saturday, June 4, 2011

"That doesn't change who I am as a Christian"

"That doesn't change who I am as a Christian." This quote is usually preceded by someone who is stating their defense of why they make certain choices.

The assertion is simple "I can do _______" and "________" doesn't change "who I am as a Christian." They are saying they can use profanity, or watch the latest raunch fest at the theater, and that in no way affects, changes, or says anything about their Christian faith. Years ago I remember a pop starlet saying "my sexuality has nothing to do with my (Christian) faith." Taken to it's logical conclusion, it's a complete separation of behavior and "faith." What's more disturbing is that many of these people are not only making these choices themselves, but are vocally promoting what they are doing and encouraging others to do the same.

I realize that we are all sick of Christians who pass themselves off as morally pure, yet are treasuring profanity, lust, hate, violence, and addictions in secret. But can't there be some sort of balance struck here? Does loathing hypocrisy mean that we should throw aside any association of faith and behavior? Is such a thing even possible (see James 2)?

Why can't we be people who are not yet perfect (and won't be this side of heaven) but are still pressing on towards the goal (Phil 3:12)? Can we both admit sins, faults, flaws, weaknesses, but at the same time not endorse or celebrate them?

Part of my overall struggle with genuineness has always been this: The tension between passing myself off as something I'm not for the sake of self-righteous pride, or just giving in and letting my sinful flesh rule and be evident to all. Of course, the option between these two fleshly extremes is Jesus Christ. He makes me positionally righteous, gives me the Holy Spirit so I can walk by the Spirit, and if I offer my body to him as a slave to obey, He will be at work eradicating my flesh and conforming me to His image (Rom 6:12-14; 8:29).

It's time we go back to admitting we are sinners saved by grace, and that grace is designed not just to get us into heaven, or be our "faith." God's grace is designed to invade our lives and take them over, so when people see us, they don't see us, but see Jesus Christ. If Christ is our life (Col. 3:4) it is impossible for our faith and outward behavior to be kept separate.