|Volume 19 Number 1 January 2017||
Everyone wants to be loved. A person wants to know that someone cares. God loves everyone. God is the God of love. He gave us the Bible so that we could learn about His love. God’s love is great. Paul told the Ephesians (2:4) that God’s great love was manifested in His rich mercy.
His love is a giving love. In John 3:16, we are told that God so loved us that He gave us His only begotten Son. It is because of this that we have hope of everlasting life.
His love is an everlasting love. It will never cease. In Jeremiah 31:3, the Lord told Jeremiah that He had loved Israel with an everlasting love. Because of this love, we are drawn to Him by His loving kindness.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Paul, in Romans 8:35, said that no tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword could separate us from the love of Christ.
If we are in contact with the love of God, we have no fear of the Judgment Day. The perfect love of being in Christ casts all fear of that Day away (1 John 4:16-18).
Study your Bible. Learn what God wants you to do to be in contact with His love. Obey Him. If any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.
Christianity and Christ
You may or may not have heard the expression of a video “going viral.” On the Internet, when something goes viral, it means a video is viewed by a very high number of people in just a short period of time. Six people on a BuzzFeed video went viral by expressing their answer to the statement, “I am a Christian, but I am not…” Some answers were “I am not homophobic,” “I am not unaccepting,” “I am not conservative,” “I am not ignorant,” and such like. What they are was expressed by terms like queer, gay and feminist. In answering what they wanted others to know about Christianity, they offered various traits, such as they were not crazy, that it’s about love, acceptance and being a good neighbor, and that just because some terrible people call themselves Christians doesn’t make them terrible people (https://www.denisonforum.org/cultural-commentary/1906-controversial-buzzfeed-video-goes-viral).
Through the years, I’ve seen surveys or people express what being a Christian means to them. It is amazing that, in all of the answers, Christ is typically left out. It is more than ironic that Christ has been left out of Christianity, as the term Christian means “a follower of Christ,” which reveals one must turn to Christ to find out what a Christian should be. That seems to be a novel concept anymore, as being a Christian seems to mean being whatever one wants to be. That belief, however, does not coincide with Scripture, which is where we actually learn about Christ and being a Christian.
To be a Christian, one must imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), which is seen in various ways. We are to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5), which means our focus is to serve with humility, as did Christ in becoming human and taking the role of a slave (2:7-8). It means loving one another, as Christ loved us enough to die for us (John 15:12; 1 John 3:16). It means loving Christ, seen in obeying His will (John 14:15). It means putting Him before any other relationship in life, as He did regarding the Father (Luke 14:26). It means getting doctrine right, as He did by obeying the will of the Father (John 8:31-32). It means wearing His name is more than just calling Him Lord, but doing the will of the Father ourselves (Matthew 7:21). As Jesus walked a narrow path defined by God in submission to the Father, so should we (Matthew 7:13-14). As He was in the world, but did not live a worldly lifestyle, so we must live exemplary lives ourselves (John 17:16). As He denied Himself to die on the cross (Luke 21:42), so we are to deny ourselves (Matthew 16:24). He lived to fulfill God’s will in His life and return to the Father, and we must live in God’s will to have the hope of being in God’s presence eternally (John 14:1-6).
Obviously, there is a real difference in calling oneself a Christian and in truly living as one. You can’t live the Christian life without spending time in the Word of Christ, as it’s the source of faith, grace and knowledge of Him (Romans 10:17; 2 Peter 3:18). The world wants a Christianity divorced from Christ and the Bible, but without Christ and His Word, there is no real Christianity, real life or real hope for eternity. Satan doesn’t care if you call yourself a Christian, just as long as you don’t imitate Christ and as long as you don’t live for Christ.
What I want others to know about Christianity, before anything else, is that it is to follow Christ as He has revealed Himself and His way in Scripture for us to live. It is then we can open the pages of the Bible and study together what He says in it, for life today and for eternity. Apart from this, it’s nothing but feelings and opinions; with it, Christ speaks to us, and we can listen, learn and live. “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28).