There is a “murky” morality permeating the Christian church. Nothing new, you say? Just look at the Corinthian church and how direct and assertive the Apostle Paul had to be in his instruction to them and how he labored to help these young Christians make course corrections in their lives which would align them to live by the word of God. Today’s Christians are a closer parallel to that than we want to admit.
The Corinthian church, like other early churches, was primarily comprised with Jews who had to “re-learn” life to live by grace rather than by a strict (and strictly enforced) moral code. Also grateful to be grafted into the new church “family” were “garden variety” pagans who came in with no observable moral compass which had been reinforced over generations by their families or communities. These guys were basically uninformed as to how their new God would have them live and to a degree were a blank slate for Biblical teachers to write into them both the gospel as well as how to live a life pleasing to God.
Living now in the post-modern era, more “senior” believers and those who were fortunate to be raised in an environment where God’s word was communicated accurately and openly need to both appreciate the luxury of their biblical exposure as well as understand this is not the case for the generations that follow. With many people there is an indifference to spiritual matters. Not a hostility, just absence. God is not on their radar at all. This is not necessarily by evil intent, it’s just reality.
So how does an aspiring “believer” not “conform any longer to the pattern to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of (their)mind?” (Rom. 12:2) Paul asks in Rom. 10:14, “How can they hear without someone proclaiming (the scriptures) to them?” Certainly this passage emphasizes the need for believers to unpack the gospel to others, but once someone commits to Christ, they need to know the “whats” of what they are committing to. This is our responsibility as believers, the church.
Far too often today churches are being influenced by professing Christians who are pitifully illiterate when it comes to an awareness of Biblical teaching. They claim to have a relationship with Christ yet they continue walk in murky darkness (1 Jn. 1:6), often totally ignorant of the standards of purity and “right living”Christ calls us to. In many cases they have been so conditioned by what they see as “normal” in culture and through the lives of other “Christians” (and quite possibly passed over within their church), that they continue in life practices which are clearly sin yet they are literally ignorant of the fact. No-one ever instructed them, and the necessity of absorbing scripture eludes them. “No-one who lives in Him keeps on sinning.” (1 Jn. 3:6) Scary statement, isn’t it?
Let’s be clear. We all still sin probably more than we recognize. However, when we continue to engage in a pattern or lifestyle of sin one has to ask if this is deliberate or if the person is unaware. (Neither excuse is a long-term “pass”) Intentionality comes to bear here. One would expect new believers to still carry plentiful sin “baggage”. Following Jesus is a process of transformation. He does remarkable work with raw materials. But we are expected to be instruments of grace and truth along with the Holy Spirit to help illuminate these blind spots which reflect the beauty of living according to God’s precepts. As we attempt to disciple (not discipline) and differentiate between sin (which is deliberate) and mistakes (which are accidental), we run the risk of being perceived as critical or judgmental. Our motivation and method will be the litmus test.
This is why the practice of discipleship/mentoring is so crucial. Indeed, “iron sharpens iron.” The accountability, encouragement, affection, instruction and course correction we offer one another in the context of more intimate relationships is essential to our maturation process. Have you sought out one or two others with whom to experience this life-enriching journey? Think About It.