<Before you fear I’m caught in a time-warp and I’m posting an article for the Christmas season…or…for the resurrection season, I’m in full faculty of mind. This is May 30, 2011> 🙂
Although I wouldn’t disagree with that sentiment, I believe it is much more important to be concerned and active about putting “Christ back into Christianity.”
In a world that desperately needs hope, a Christ-less Christianity is not the answer. The Christ of the Bible is the answer! The former is a hallow echo. The latter is the penetrating, full bodied voice of life and hope.
I’d like us to consider 3 (of many) areas in this article that makes Christianity truly Christ like:
- Jesus re-presented in resurrection power as daily life. (Yep, that’s right. As daily life). 2 Timothy 3:5, “…having an outward form of godliness but denying His power…” The religion of Christianity has often watered down the current vitality of His life with doctrines that have explained away Godly expectations that are exampled by Jesus in the Scriptures. Thereby a Christ-less Christianity has lost much daily relevance. Christ in Christianity is power over natural obstacles.
- Jesus re-presented in good works. Ephesians 2:10, “We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works.” Christ-less Christianity attempts to do good works with natural capacity and planning. The word workmanship in Greek is where English gets the word, poem. God has artfully written into each of His loved ones a unique capacity of expression. The purpose of the poem is, in it’s unique way, to bring peace, hope, joy, and courage to the receiver. It’s a purpose that must be linked to the power lest it be only as fast and effective as a Lamborghini without an engine. Ephesians 3:20, “He is able to do exceeding, abundantly above anything we can ask or think according to the power that is at work (activated) within us.” And John 6:39 Jesus said, “The work of God is this. To believe in the One whom He sent.” Believing is joining in partnership. Your God-given capacity partnered with the energy of His life.
- Jesus re-presented in His attitude toward righteousness and sin. The last thing Jesus uttered from His Cross was, “It is Finished!” He completed the standards of the Law on our behalf. To experience it, we only need to believe it.The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin. He convicts the blood bought sons and daughters of God of true righteousness. Christ-less Christianity makes life about the techniques of behavior modification. Christ makes eternal life (that begins in the nasty now and now) about being born again into a new sinless blood line. In Romans 7, Paul was frustrated with the toxic drag of sins. But, he victoriously concluded his argument in Romans 7:25 with, “But thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” He went on in Chapter 8 to say, “There is therefore now no condemnation…” Focus on and fellowship with Christ in us activates the law of life. We then live from Christ not for Christ. Whenever we focus on living up to Christian standards of behavior, we will always fall short. This ever cycling “short fall” will drain the hope right out of us. Focusing on His finished work for us – that is activated in us by our faith in His continual Presence and Promises – will flavor our lives with brilliant hope.
So, I conclude with this thought once again:
The most important consideration is putting Christ back in Christianity!