So, once upon a time you “asked Jesus into your heart.” You are good for heaven, but I am supposedly hell-bound if I haven’t done the same.
Yet after years of “being a Christian” you :
- Cheat on your taxes.
- Steal supplies from work.
- Get to work late and leave early.
- Do as little as possible at work and try to get paid as much as you can for it.
- Lie, manipulate, gossip, and slander
- Pursue more and more and more money. Making money is the center of your life.
- Are stingy with your time, talents, and money. Your goal in life is the American dream, not Jesus’s kingdom.
- Are not generous with your finances.
- Oppress your employees by paying them as little as you can.
- Don’t fulfill contractual obligations. You hire lawyers to get out of your commitments.
- Are a racist or a misogynist or homophobe.
- Do not keep your word. Your promises and commitments are meaningless.
- Are hateful to those who are different.
- Are exclusive, elitist, separatist.
- Are indifferent toward the poor and the oppressed. You think they just need to “get over it” or “get a job.”
- Are contentious, combative and discordant in the assembly of the saints.
- Are contentious, combative and discordant on the job.
- Are contentious, combative, discordant and self-centered in your marriage and in the home.
- Are unmoved by others suffering.
- Are angry, embittered, and unforgiving, quick to take offense.
- Are vindictive and vengeful.
- Are lazy, irresponsible, immature, and self-centered.
- Are unloving toward people in your church and in the world (1 John says you do not know God if that is the case, regardless of whatever “saving prayer” you muttered years ago).
- Justify the egregious behaviors of your self, your friends, and your political heroes, but demand behavioral consistency in others and your enemies. You want and expect grace for yourself, but dish out condemnation and performance expectations on others–thus, not understanding grace at all.
- Are confident in your Bible knowledge and are over-bearing with others about it.
- Rejoice at others pains and sorrows as “judgments from God.”
- Do not ask for forgiveness nor repent for anything. It is always the other person’s fault. You are a victim.
. . . but you are “saved” and “going to heaven when you die.”
Well, you are not doing much good for anyone but yourself while you are still here.
The world and our culture are fed up with this kind of hypocritical “Christianity.” Ethic-less Christianity is a humanist myth.
If any one is in Christ, that person is a qualitatively new creation.
The new birth starts with a transformative act, the new creation. It continues in transformation every day, so that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal body (2 Cor. 4:11 – Note: not in heaven in the sweet by and by when we die. )
A typical gospel presentation in a Western Evangelical church today is so out of balance with over-emphasis on spiritual metaphysics of what happens in the invisible realm regarding salvation, that the matter of being a new kind of human while we are on this planet is not only ignored in some brands of hyper-Protestantism, but also taught against as “irrelevant.”
I have had scores of Evangelical and Fundamentalist “believers” tell me that our behavior is allegedly irrelevant because Jesus was “God in disguise” (an egregious and inaccurate cliché) and that we cannot expect to be like Him. He is supposedly not our example in our behavior because “He was God and we are not.” In that line of thinking, He is only relevant for what He has done for us as “God.” I have heard these type of things over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.
Jesus said: You will know who is His by their behavior (fruit) . . . not by their faith confession.
This is not about moralism and perfectionism. Both are bondages. This is not about works righteousness, earning favor with God by behavior, or policing each other. Anathema on all that sort of thing. This is about living in relational reality and integrity with one another on planet earth. The issue is one of authenticity before an observing world, not our “forensic status before God.” When our failures are evident–and they will be for all of us– God has made a way not only to be right with Him, but also with our fellow human beings. It is called contrition, repentance, sorrow, asking forgiveness . . . and moving on.
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