Thursday, February 26, 2015

No Room for Pious Christians

               Feeling like you don’t measure up is an awful feeling.  At times one can wonder if they should just give up trying to measure up altogether. The desire for approval, acceptance, and to be loved comes natural and yet can be very frustrating if not experienced.  Once that feeling of being accepted and loved is experienced, it creates a special warmth inside of us all.  The danger is that we can then become an exclusive group of people, rejecting others until they reach the same standards that we have “attained” in order to accept them. 
                  Most people feel that their perspective on life, religious beliefs, and personal preferences is the only one that matters, although it may never be said.  Many people would consider themselves perfectly balanced and represent the center point around which everyone and everything else should be measured.  However, if I understand Scripture correctly, the only center point that matters is Jesus Christ and His righteousness for each of us, and we all fall far short of that standard (Rom. 3:23).
                  The apostle Paul wants believers to understand that the mystery of the Gospel is that Christ loves all men and women equally.  There is no preference or preferred standing when it comes to His love for our souls (Gal. 3:27-28).  No sinner comes more stained with sin than another or is harder to save.  Every sinner who comes to know Christ and puts his or her belief in Him alone is dressed in Christ’s righteousness.  There is no advanced standing for Jews over Gentiles.  God gives equal peace and righteousness to all men through Christ.  This is the mystery of the Gospel that believers are equal, and that they are united as one person through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  The payment required was His blood.
                  The problem is that believers can and do at times represent a religious elitism that hinders and misrepresents the Gospel message.  This type of spirit actually preaches another Gospel (a false gospel) that is not Biblical.  God reached equal distance to save us as He does the worst of sinners, for which the apostle Paul called himself (Eph. 3:8).  Some Christians are ashamed of the Gospel and never share it with others, but are grateful that they have been blessed with it.  Paul said that he would not be ashamed of the Gospel because it was the necessary message (the power of God unto salvation) that sinners needed to hear for the sake of the salvation of their souls (Rom. 1:16). 
                  There is no room for pious Christianity in the church or outside of the church.  Rather, a life and spirit of humility that drives believers to want to share the transformational Gospel should be our focus each day.  Imagine what could happen if we as Christians welcomed people the way Christ welcomed and valued others.  There is no room for an exclusive, proud, or pious spirit in the Body of Christ.

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