“He Claims to be Christian – but…”
I’m not sure what his name is, where he comes from or what values he holds dear to his heart, but I know what people say about him. They say, “He claims to be a Christian – but…!” The reason I know this is because I heard it said yet again a few days ago.
Oh, I’ve heard it before, many times… and so have you. Of course it’s not about the same person, but it’s about some person. Somebody sees somebody behaving in an unsavory manner or hears him speaking words considered unacceptable to “decent” folk… or perhaps he’s just downright living in open sin. And then you hear it… “He claims to be a Christian – but…!”
Perhaps you’ve even heard it coming out of your own mouth, as have I.
We all know what it takes to become a Christian, and we all know what it takes to remain a Christian. The problem is – what we all know… is different for each of us. We apply our standards of living - that unique combination of the experiences of our past, the sermons we’ve heard, the mistakes for which we have felt conviction – as the very path to eternal life. And “he’s” just not keeping it on the straight and narrow.
Don’t get me wrong here. I believe in living a righteous and upright lifestyle, bringing honor to the Lord Jesus Christ who purchased our salvation. But that’s the point, isn’t it…He purchased our salvation! And then he gave it to us as a gift to be freely received, not to be earned by a certain standard of living.
It was Saul of Tarsus; later known as the Apostle Paul to whom God chose to unveil the truths of this new covenant we call Christianity. And he wrote that if a man will believe it in his heart and confess it with his mouth ("it" being that Jesus Christ is his Lord) the he “shall” be saved.
I heard a story once about a guy that just kept going to the police station and confessing to every crime that had been written about in the newspaper. He’d claim to be the guy that robbed the bank, and he’d claim to be the guy that committed the murder. See, confessing something and claiming something… well, that’s the same thing.
So next time you hear somebody snarling about a guy that “claims to be a Christian – but…! You might want to point out to him that the guy that’s doing the claiming… well… the fact that he’s doing the claiming means he’s half way there already!
No buts about it!