I keep hearing the question, “Can you be a Christian and…be pro-choice/ be in a gay relationship/ be transgender/ have sex before marriage/ do drugs/ curse like a sailor/ cheat on your taxes/ lie to your spouse/ steal from your constituents…?” The variations on this are endless, but at the root, they’re all asking the same question—and they’re asking for themselves: “Can I be a Christian and still do what I want?”
You never hear someone ask, “Can I be a Christian and serve God faithfully and obediently?” I mean, that’s a silly question since serving God is a core tenant of being a Christian.
Those who ask the question, “Can I be a Christian and…?,” are acting like toddlers testing their boundaries. They want to know how far away from God they can get, how bad they can act, and still go to Heaven. They want the end results without actually loving or serving God to the fullest.
And I get it. It’s hard to serve God and be fully obedient, especially when the entire world tells you to do the opposite of what the Bible says. We all know the various sins listed in the Bible and the warnings that accompany those sins. But the world would have us believe those words don’t apply to us in our current position, that they’re outdated, that God didn’t really mean what He said, or that He didn’t really say that at all.
How do we respond to such arguments on behalf of sin? We turn to the Bible! Here are four key points from God’s Word:
1. Sin is real and it’s destructive
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34 NAS)
“Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is good will” (Proverbs 14:9 NAS).
“…they display their sin like Sodom; they do not even conceal it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves” (Isaiah 3:9b NAS).
“Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin’” (John 8:34 NAS).
2. We can’t trust our own hearts or minds
“There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12 NAS).
“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God” (1 Corinthians 3:19a NAS).
“O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’—which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith…” (1 Timothy 6:20-21 NAS).
“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8 NAS).
3. True knowledge and wisdom come from God
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7 NAS).
“There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against the LORD” (Proverbs 21:30 NAS).
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (James 3:8 NAS).
4. There is no place for ungodliness in the Church—which is why Jesus came!
“But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:8-16 NAS)
Christmas is around the corner, a time when we revel in messages of hope, peace, and love. But the world is now using our desire for peace and love against us—to coerce us into being more inclusive, more tolerant, more forgiving, more accepting of sinful behaviors, which dilute the message of God and our very need for a Savior. Let us not get caught up in the jargon or feel ashamed of God’s Word.
“Can you be a Christian and…?” The truth is that God is holy, and He requires His Church to be holy, too. And the only way that can happen is for us to be saved through Jesus and to live a life that honors God and His Word. Let us rejoice as we celebrate the birth of Jesus and lovingly share His message of redemption with the world around us.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16a NAS).Let us not be ashamed of the Gospel! Click To Tweet
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