Thursday, December 31, 2015

Something to Remember When Defending Your Christian Faith

   As believers in Christ Jesus as our Savior we are called to share our faith with others. We are not to be ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes as the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 1. However, how we treat those that do not agree with us says a lot about how we view our own position and how much we value the grace and mercy of God. 

   Being in the south and in the preverbal center of the buckle of the Bible belt we are proud Americans and more proud Christians. We will defend our guns, our flag, our children and our freedom ferociously and if anyone says or does the slightest thing to encroach upon those sacred values, we bare our teeth and are ready to strike back with ten times the force. And maybe rightly so. I do agree that there are many things in this world that are well worth entering the octagon and fighting MMA style for but our Faith is one I believe we should handle differently. I am not saying that we should not defend our faith but what I am saying is we need to go about it the right way with the right understanding and in a way that is most advantageous and honoring to God. To do so there are a couple of things we need to remember when defending our faith. 

1. Don't get angry. I see on social media all the time where a "Christian" posts something about daring other "Christians" to post pictures of burning a Koran or killing Muslims or hate talk about atheists. Many "Christians turn to anger when there is the slightest talk infringing upon Christianity. The result  that I see is name calling and demeaning of the one disagreeing. That is not the way to handle things and to my knowledge has never made a non-believer come to faith or even begin to understand the Gospel. What it does is confirm the non-believers convictions that Christians are foolish and arrogant.

   I don't understand why "christians" get so angry when our faith is disagreed with or when we are attacked because of what we believe. It only takes a little reading of the Bible that says that there are those that will disagree. Jesus tells us in Luke 6 that we are to rejoice when people hate us or revile us on account of our faith. He says again in Mark 13 that we will be hated for His name sake. But never once does the Bible tell us to respond in anger. In fact the Bible encourages us to respond in compassion towards the unbeliever. Jesus tells us over and over to love our enemies and those who persecute us. This is a difficult thing to do because so much of our flesh wants to respond in anger when we feel attacked because of our faith.  

   I am reminded of Romans 5:10 that says For while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.  Let that verse sink in. What Paul is saying is we too were enemies or hostile against faith and Christianity and God would be just to respond in anger because of our rebellion, but He doesn't. Instead He responds in great compassion. So much so that He willingly laid down His life so that you might be saved from your rebellion. See you, oh believer, were no different than that one that confronts you and disagrees with you. How you respond, in either anger or compassion, says a lot about how much you value who you are now from what you were and what Christ has done for you.

2. We must remember that we save no one. I firmly believe, and scripture supports that God is sovereign in all things, including salvation. This is clear in John 6:44 that says No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws Him. It is God who opens eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to receive  the truth of the Gospel. We are just called to share it and share it relentlessly. We are often frustrated and angered when people do not see the truth of the Gospel. They are still blinded by the god of this world and it is the God of all things that enables them and us to see. But He does this through believers sharing the Gospel. I tell people all the time that the Christian duty is to continue the unfinished work of Jesus by proclaiming the finished work of Jesus on the Cross. In other words we are to be the mouthpiece of the Gospel and trust in the Holy Spirit to convict, cut to the heart and bring about true belief. Salvation is not our job. It is God's job. Ours is to proclaim what God has done. This takes time and understanding and patience. We are called to make disciples, not converts. Disciple making takes time and commitment. It takes effort to listen and understand and share with others. It takes grace on your part and knowing that God is working in and through you. 

   So what should we do? How should we respond? We are to respond the same way Christ does. With compassion and not anger. With love not violence. With humility and not prideful rebellion. Be firm in your faith but also understanding. Not compromising the truth of the Gospel but open to dialogue. And pray. Pray hard that you would be gracefully firm and pray that their eyes would be opened to see, ears hear and hearts cut with the truth of the Gospel. Remember you were once in their same shoes, hostile toward God but yet He saved even you.