Thursday, January 17, 2013

Transformation: Christlikeness – Why Condemn?

            Christlikeness for God’s people is God’s plan (Romans 8:29), God’s mandate (Philippians 2:5), and an obvious development (2 Corinthians 5:17) after our “born again experience.” A believer of Jesus Christ ought to be like Jesus Christ.

            However, the most difficult existential reality to encounter is questions relating to the hypocrisy of Christians. People may not read the four gospels in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), but they can surely read the fifth gospel - the Christian. But are we the gospel people read and give glory to God or are we the gospel people read and question the existence of the God and in some cases even lose faith in God?

            Someone said that Christians ought to be more redeemed before people believe in their redeemer. “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ,” is another famous quote against Christians.  Ravi Zacharias expresses his difficulty in answering questions of the likes, “Why is it that you as followers of Jesus Christ lay claim to a supernatural transformation, but there is very little evidence of it in your lives?” (Source: Marching to a Different Drummer)

            Just as how the Bible is the most critiqued document, we Christians are being observed by our brothers and sisters of the other worldviews. Within the safe precincts of our home and the church, we make life-size statements staking claim to our supernatural transformation. We also pray that the world is a dark world, and of course it is! But the question we need to ask of ourselves is if we are the light (Matt 5:14-16).

            Ravi Zacharias wrote a book titled, “Has Christianity failed you?” Would he have written that book if there was not a need? The need is a popular notion that Christians are ailing and failing. Many have suffered rejection in the hands of Christians. Even if one is convicted of a sinful act, does he merit that rejection (condemnation)? Is it what the Bible teaches?

            The good news is Christ came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10), and HE came to save the sinners, not the righteous (Luke 5:32). Christ saves by not condemning the sinner but by being gracious to him. Even when the woman was caught in the act of adultery the Lord’s response was, “When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:7-11, NIV).

            We focus so much on John 3:16 that we, for a moment, ignore the very next verse, John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (NIV)

            Why condemn when we can love like how Christ loved us? Are we not hypocrites when we stake claim to be Christ’s disciples yet betray HIM through our condemnation of our neighbor? We are not Christlike when we condemn our fellow neighbor!

            If you have suffered condemnation in the hands of Christians, do not worry, for the Lord Jesus Christ loves a repentant sinner. My prayer is that we, by the grace of God, will not condemn each other, but be Christlike through our love for our neighbors (Matthew 22:39; John 13:34). Amen. 


Anne Helena Devasahayam said...

Beautiful piece anna!! Sometimes, we 'Christians' do the ministry of Condemnation alone... :-(

Andrew's Walk said...

Amazing and inspirational piece, Pastor!

Adeline Isaac said...

You are blessed. We pray that u will continue to inspire many of us.

Raj Richard said...

Dear Helena, Andrew, and Leena, Thank you for reading and commenting. God bless.

Raj Richard said...

Helena, I do agree with what you said. Some of us are so preoccupied in condemning. May the good Lord liberate us from all evil. God bless.