When Jesus describes His followers in Scripture, they are a people defined by compassion, grace, and love. Passionate about sharing the Good News of the Gospel with the lost, they are “salt and light” to every tribe, tongue, and nation. They’re individuals who, when insulted, extend forgiveness and turn the other cheek. They reflect the irresistibility, beauty, and affection of Jesus Christ Himself.
But far too often, Western Christianity bears little resemblance to Jesus’ vision for His church.
“There seems to be a significant gap between the Christianity of the New Testament and the early church and the Christianity that many of us experience today,” Scott Sauls, senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, told The Christian Post.
“In our part of the world, there is a reputation among Christians as being not very helpful as neighbors, sometimes condemning and judgmental, or just being removed and with our heads in the sand. There’s really no discernible difference between the way that we conduct our lives and the way that somebody who doesn’t have a relationship with Christ might conduct their lives.”
“I’m not sure that’s always a fair assessment,” he clarified, “but unfortunately, that is how many of us are perceived today.”
In his forthcoming book Irresistible Faith: Becoming the Kind of Christian the World Can’t Resist, Sauls identifies practical ways believers can live out biblical Christianity and pursue Jesus’ purpose for the Church. Drawing upon the life-changing truths of Scripture, Sauls calls on Christians to be difference-makers in society, transforming communities for the glory of God.
“It all starts with a simple return to the Gospel and observing what Christ came to do,” he told CP. “We can’t be an irresistible force in the world until we reconnect with how irresistible Jesus Christ is Himself; that He came in love on a rescue mission to comprehensively and fully save us from all that is wrong in the world and in ourselves and to bring us into His family. We’re loved to that degree because of the sacrifice of Christ.”
“Once we begin to connect with those realities again, we can start to look at how Christ led His disciples to live out the world,” he continued. “Their mission was one of grace and truth that made them unlike the world rather than more like the world, but in a way that the world took notice.”
Modern Christianity has deviated from biblical Christianity for a number of reasons, Sauls contended. One particularly glaring reason — heightened in recent years — is the “unfortunate conflation of partisan politics and faith, as if the two were one of the same.”
“There are Christians who would say, ‘I don’t know how you could be a Christian and be a Democrat,’ and there are other Christians who would say, ‘I don’t know how you can call yourself a Christian and be a Republican.’ That, I think, completely sidesteps the central issue,” he said.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett