Jumat, 13 Maret 2015
The Four F's of Being a Christian
The Four F's of Being a Christian
By Gordon Bailey, Special to ASSIST News Service (Writer’s Opinion)
BROMYARD, UNITED KINGDOM (ANS – March 13, 2015) -- What I mean by ‘being a Christian’ is the ways in which I express my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
In the word Christian Christ’s name comes first and comprises most of that word and, therefore, the word’s meaning.
I am not a Churchian, nor a Sectian, nor a Creedian, and nor do I put first and give most meaning of my faith to any religion. I am not even a Christianityian.
My faith is in and my relationship is with the living person of Jesus Christ and not with the religion called Christianity, many of the aspects of which I am deeply embarrassed and ashamed.
How ought I then to express this relationship?
That is: love for the Father; an attitude and acts that are often summed up in the single word worship. Attributing worth to God the Father, through Jesus Christ. I could not worship the Father if it were not for the fact that Jesus tells me that he lives in me, and that I exist in him. (John 14.20.) It is only because the Father sees me in Christ that I am given the privilege of loving him and finding ways of expressing that love. I cannot approach anywhere near the Father because of his holiness and my sinfulness. However, because I am in Christ and am therefore present within his righteousness, I can express my love for the Father through Christ in adoration, praise, honour, respect, reverence, appreciation, celebration, as well as my submission to his will in obedience.
That is: love expressed towards my fellow Christians.
Sadly, sitting in rows, perhaps not speaking with those alongside, and looking at the distant platform or pulpit, is too often called ‘fellowship’ and left at that; when what happens is a ‘church service’ when many synonyms of the word ‘service’ cannot be said to apply: provision, benefit, kindness, aid, restoration and
The love of the Christ who dwells within his disciples can be expressed to other disciples in so many ways: acceptance, forgiveness, honesty, hospitality, welcome, joy at seeing him or her, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, gentleness, friendship, peacefulness and, no doubt, you may be able to add other forms of love
expressed to one’s brothers and sisters in Christ.
That is: love expressed towards not-yet-Christians.
In Matthew 11.19. Jesus, who was eating and drinking with publicans and sinners, is accused of being a 'friend of sinners’. There are two words in the Greek New Testament that can be translated into the English word ‘friend’: hetairos and philos. The first means a colleague, a companion, a co-worker, someone I may call a friend simply because we sit next to one another at work, or happen to in the same class at school, or we travel on the same bus to the same destination every day. This was not the word the accusers used, even Though Jesus was being a companion to those alongside him. They wanted a stronger accusation. Philos is derived from the Greek verb ‘to love’.
They accused Jesus of being ‘a sinner lover’, their words intended as a powerful insult. I am delighted that Jesus remains a sinner lover because it was his love for me that drew me to him. It was just ten verses later (Matthew 11.29.) that Jesus said to his disciples “learn from me".
Just as there are many ways that the love of Jesus, through me, can be expressed towards my fellow Christians, so there are lots of ways Christ can love not-yet-Christians through me: friendship, care, compassion, acceptance, trust, forgiveness, comradeship, support, courtesy, warmth, hospitality, cordiality, sympathy, empathy, goodwill, giving, provision of needs, positivity, encouragement, and on and on. . .
A significant percentage of Christians initially experienced the love of Christ through a friend, being drawn into a personal relationship with Jesus as a result.
Faith is the ground, the foundation for all I have written above. All those expressions of love towards God, one’s fellow Christians, and not-yet-Christians are impossible without the faith in Christ that makes the impossible possible. Not the belief that many refer to as faith that is nothing more than a mental acceptance of the historical Christ and his value and importance in history and the Church. Many believe this type of belief makes them to be Christians, without any of the believing that is included in the word’s meaning in the
Bible’s original language. Let me pick a quote from the Amplified Bible where words that have a deeper meaning than the single word have those deeper meanings included in the text: ‘For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that he [even] gave up his only-begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts, clings to, relies upon) Him shall not perish—come to destruction, be lost—but have eternal (everlasting) life.’ John 3.16.
Did you notice the amplification of the word ‘believe’? ‘Trusts, clings to, relies on’. That is far, far more than a mental acceptance that someone lived and died and is important to many people today. That amplification of the word believe it what faith really is. So, do I believe in, trust (depend upon), cling to, rely upon the Lord Jesus Christ? If I do not, am I really a Christian? It is my faith in Christ that releases him to be active in me and through me in many of the expressions of love detailed above. For ‘without faith it is impossible to please God’. (Hebrews 11.6.)
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