Vol.XIX No.XI Pg.1
January 1983

Christ In Christianity

Robert F. Turner

When an alcoholic quits drinking and a fornicator quits his past type of life does this mean each has become a follower of Christ? We certainly welcome these changes for the better, and admire the strength of character they show; but turning from certain worldly traits does not mean one has turned to the true and living God. It is very possible to make drastic and needed changes to a better life, without taking up the life our Lord would have us live, or obtaining the blessings a Christian life offers. We may serve SELF with a religious zeal.

Sometimes it seems the reformed person is more concerned about living a clean moral life than is some professed follower of Christ; and that leads people to ridicule the church. Unless "the church" condones an impenitent life the ridicule should be reserved for those hypocrites who bring shame upon the name of God (Rom. 2:24). No church is any more than imperfect people who are trying to serve God, and hence must constantly seek forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Yes, trying has ceased, and criticism justified, when we condone ungodliness. But God's revelation of His will and the true meaning of Christianity is negated when we equate a clean moral life, by man's standards, with being a Christian. Jesus of Nazareth is more than an ancient philosopher; He is the manifestation of eternal being and power, the key to our eternal destiny. He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Through Him, Christianity becomes unique in its compelling proof of life beyond the grave. Through faith in Him, man is given purpose, and hope. Loving obedience takes on new meaning in Him.

The man is a fool who mires himself in a life of dissipation — so self-centered he robs himself of love for his surroundings; robs himself of the blessings of this life. He does not see that clean moral living is the "best policy" for earthly happiness. But seeing this does not make him a Christian. This wonderful privilege is reserved for those who lose self in service to Christ, who allow the Creator to direct the creature's journey homeward. Like Cornelius, we must heed God's word and live for Him. (Acts 11:14; Rom. 6:1-11; Phil. 3:7-16)