March 2, 2024

The Church and the Outside World

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Part of the problem that we have being Christians and knowing what God expects of us is that we often time project our knowledge on to other people.  We project it onto other Christians—comparing what we believe to others, and then we compare how we act with the unbelievers around us.

Both of these are wrong.

Comparing Ourselves With Other Believers

First, we should not be comparing ourselves with other believers.  Galatians 6 admonishes us that whoever thinks he is something when he is nothing deceives his own self.  To me, that tells me that I need to be careful when I think that I have done something that’s worthy of honor—for all honor comes from God.  He deserves all praise.

Romans 14 talks about how each person is in a relationship with Christ, and they should do that which they believe honors God—even if it’s not something that I agree with or an extra-biblical standard that hold.

When the Bible says that they (the outside world) will know that we are Christians by our love for one another, it means it.  Instead, I fear that the outside world often sees infighting and unloving more than it sees loving.  This is partially  because people on the outside rarely see what happens on the inside, and all too often see what spills into the community.

This is all the more reason to refrain from speaking ill about a brother—and tearing that brother down in the eyes of the community—but rather speak words that edify and build each other up.

Comparing Ourselves With the World

The World—or unbelievers—are not to be judged by God’s standards in that they do not have the light of these standards.  We cannot expect them to hold the weight of the Word of God when they are apart from God.

We can encourage them to do the will of God.  We can show them where it is the best thing for them.  We can encourage them in the reason of our hope, but condemning them is not something that we should do.

In John 3, we all know verse 16—that God so loved the world that He sent Jesus to die for us—but verse 17 is also very important.  In that we learn that Christ didn’t come to condemn the world—the world was already condemned.  He came so that the world might be saved.

Often we dwell more on the fact that those in sin around us stand condemned and that the Word of God says to do such and such, and we don’t spend enough time talking about how Christ came to solve that problem.

Yes, they need to know that they are sinners before they will recognize their need for a Savior, but the Holy Spirit will bring conviction.  It’s our job to be witnesses to what Christ has done in our lives and to be comfort where applicable.

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