Culture is changing rapidly. It used to be that the technology we use was the fastest thing changing in our culture, but I see that the ways we talk and act are keeping in step with the pace of technological change.
Churches, too are changing, though most church leaderships do not want to admit it or do what it takes to address the change.
The thing that alarms me most, however is that the culture of the lives of Christians looks almost exactly like the culture of the lives of non-Christians.
I spend a lot of time on social media and talking to people of various Christian faiths throughout my week. As I interact in those various places I hear and read as much profanity as I would expect from the world. I see the same negative attitudes. There is just as much alcohol abuse and drug addiction. The divorce rate is the same as that of the world. Disrespect is just as rampant.
Why is this? I think it has to do with a couple of definitions that have been skewed over the years.
The first is “Christian”. It is a word that has come to mean anyone who professed a belief that Jesus is the savior. This is NOT the biblical case. A Christian is supposed to be a Christ-follower. The scripture says that even the demons “believe”, and they even tremble at the thought. We claim belief, and so many of us don’t even give it a second though much less have any emotional or intellectual feeling about it.
The next definition that has been morphed over time is the word “grace”. Grace is a gift given to someone who doesn’t deserve that gift. It is paired with “mercy” which is not getting the negative consequences that we deserve. Our society has taken this idea and soaked it in to the point that it has become a license to live just like the world. This is completely different than the idea that Jesus presented. He wanted to make sure that we lived in the world, but he wanted us to look nothing like the world. Jesus never promised you happiness. He never promised you peace. In fact, he said he didn’t come to bring peace.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul makes a statement that is mentioned twice in that book: “everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial” (6:12; 10:23). The idea behind this is that we can do all those things, and we will be able to be forgiven of those deeds, but that doesn’t mean they are good nor should we do them.
I can cuss a blue streak, and I can probably be forgiven of that sin, but the path of destruction left in the wake of my tirade is a much longer lasting consequence than I should have caused.
In the book of Hebrews, the writer reminds us that anyone who knows the good he or she ought to do, and doesn’t do it sins.
We are called in Romans 6 to be done with the life of sin. Completely. Totally. Holistically. Done.
What the culture of the church has done, however, is cuddle up with sin as its marriage partner. Jesus made it pretty clear that you must choose your bridegroom. Jesus is not willing to be in a relationship with us where we are living as his bride on Sunday morning and Wednesday night, but we are cheating on him with our girlfriends Selfishness and Sin.
Church, it’s time for a wake-up call. It’s time for the church to rise up and show the world what it means to truly be forgiven for good. We need to show the world the saving grace of Jesus that heals us of our hang-ups and addictions. We need to show the world that Jesus truly is the Master of our lives.
It has been said that the whole world is a slave of sin, but we who are in Christ have been set free from slavery to sin. It’s time to stop living like we are still slaves. You are free! Live in the freedom that comes from living the life God has called you to.
There is much work to be done. Would you join with me In praying that this church culture can change so that the world can be turned upside-down? Would you also pray, as I do, that the change would begin in each one of us?
Thanks. God bless you. And if you need anything, as always, you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the office at 245-1611.