If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Does the question make you feel a bit uneasy? After all, you say you have the true faith and you thank God for it. You believe in His son and your redemption through his death on the cross. Then why are you uneasy and feel somewhat guilty? Perhaps because you are not serene. You are not in ecstacy. You donít go around professing your faith and witnessing to the good news. You donít read the Bible enough. You seem to have lost your commitment; you donít visit the sick, or the fatherless and widows in their affliction. Some of these things concern you, some donít, but the point is, we have different perceptions of what weíre supposed to feel, be and do. But something has got to be different. After all you are a new creature. If any man be in Christ he is a new creature. What does that mean?
We live in the age of ďSensaroundĒ,- mammoth congregations of 10,000 people full of joy ; some evangelists will transport you to Nirvana and a person-to-person connection with the Lord. Is a Christian revival taking hold in America? The philosophy of humanism isnít working and life for many cannot be faced, so they turn themselves over to the Lord hoping he will put life on automatic pilot. "Then Iíll feel good," they say.
The trick is to see through the fads and the man-made rules and get to the nub of the issue. What, after all, is a Christian?
* He is a sinner who has been forgiven. He wants to do better even though he continues to sin.
* There is hope from the scriptures that he may do better.
* whether he does or not, he wants to
* knows he wonít ever do better on a permanent basis
* he recognizes the the unique blessing that is his; his sins are forgiven
* he therefore merits eternal life for reasons he canít comprehend
* he has compassion without condescension for the sinners all around him that are like he is, not just like he used to be
We are admonished to grow and there is a theory of gradualism leading to perfection or near perfection that we might embrace, though it is unsure if the actions of the ancients justify this. Take, for example Barnabas, a Cypriot Jew, who sold his land and laid his money at the feet of the apostles. Because of persecution in Jerusalem after Stephenís death, Christians went to Antioch where Barnabas was dispatched to help grow the church. He sought Paulís help (Acts 9. 26) Earlier he had stood by Paul in Jerusalem but later, at Antioch, joined with Peter against Paul over their variance in the sanctioning of Jewish error. They fell out after the first missionary journey because Barnabas wanted to take his nephew John Mark along and Paul didnít think the boy could be depended upon. The contention was so sharp between them that they departed from one another. And they had the holy spirit. It is not in the nature of things to go smoothly, even among the best intentioned men
Back to the original question. Is there enough evidence to convict you as a Christian? Probably not, as a jury of humans might view you. They think Christians are Christlike, pious, righteous. Christians for the most part are not and never will be Christlike. Christian means "of Christ"; his follower; saved by him; dependant on him to supply his mercy. In microcosm, here is one Christian I have known:
Brilliance. He was rather larger than life, appetites bigger. He had the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life, perhaps to a greater degree than most.
He tried to make Christís teachings a part of his life, sometimes succeeded, sometimes failed. But you could see him trying.
He had a sharp tongue and could lose his temper, but always sought forgiveness
He could be sympathetic with sinners because he reckoned himself one
People could have his time and they could have his money
He never gave up the struggle. And thatís what being a Christian is about; not doing what somebody tells you to do, but struggling with a conscience molded by the word of God.
There may not be enough evidence to convict you, but you are a Christian in the eyes of the master. He sees your heart. He sees your struggle. By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourself. It is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.
Remember, we shall be like him.