What is required to be called a Christian? If by grace we have been saved, acquired by faith in Christ, is nothing required? No! We are required as followers of Christ to be rejectors of sin, remembering always the words of James 2:24 “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” We must not ignore what Scripture clearly teaches. We must be transformed by the Holy Spirit and born again.
I was not given the blessing of a faithful upbringing. I was born into a house where God was not revered and the Bible was not on the bookshelf. Since coming to Christ, I have been transformed by the Holy Spirit, but I am still deeply sinful. I am not under any impression that I am fully sanctified and free of sin. That being said, as one who was converted rather than brought up in the faith, I see many issues with the Christian community at Gordon.
These issues take many forms, not the least of which is the overlooking of unrepentant sin in the lives of professing Christians. I see people who walk and talk like the world. Who sleep around, who are drunkards, who use the Lord’s name in vain, and who do all manner of ungodly things. So many here love the world and seem to ignore the warning of 1 John 2:15-16:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.”
We must be careful not to sin in these times, especially as we work to witness to nonbelievers. If nonbelievers see a “Christian” sinning on end, claiming such things are unimportant, we should not be surprised when they reject the Gospel. Heed the words of 1 Peter 2:12:
“Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
I must humble myself here: again I am not perfect, and I am not pointing down from an ivory tower. All the same, conviction and repentance have helped me grow in the faith.
The second issue I see in many young people in the church is a lack of zeal for Christ and impotence in the face of challenges to our faith. The Gospel is controversial. That is an undeniable fact. Under Nero, Christians were thrown to lions for it. Daoist emperors in Japan would crucify Christian converts. And there exist all manner of other groups who brutally killed those professing Christ. Ultimately, it does become necessary to ask: are we willing to lose our jobs for Christ? Would we give up our reputations for his name? We must pray for the humility, and strength to stand up, and possibly sacrifice ourselves, for him.
I also see a lack of reverence for God. When was the last time we prayed just to praise God for his good works? When was the last time we did so in privacy, with no social pressure? When was the last time we knelt before God in supplication? I implore us to do so. Christians gain so much through prayer.
There are so many faithful, God-fearing, and God-loving Christians on campus. To those who may be faltering, to those who have not reaped the fruits of this Christian campus, and a Christian family: please, ponder the seriousness of sin. Think about standing up against worldly evil and prepare yourself. Kneel before God. When was the last time we prayed just to praise Him for his good works? When was the last time we did so in privacy, with no social pressure? When was the last time we knelt before God in supplication? I implore us to do so. Christians gain so much through prayer.
We are blessed to be in such a Christ-centered environment. Let us not squander what we have been given. Let us recommit to Jesus every day and strive to know him better.