I am 42 years old. I have been saved for 27 years. I have been in pastoral ministry for 15 years. My experience in Christianity and ministry is such that the older I get, the more I realize my own need to grow in my Christianity. That need is true of every Christian. The gospel is not meant to just save a person from hell, but to change their lives from a life of darkness to light, from death to life, and from a rebel to a saint. Yet I wonder sometimes if we are losing sight of how deeply our Christianity is to permeate our lives?
Here in America, we have enjoyed over 200 years of religious freedom, allowing Christian principles to generally govern our nation. And yet, over the course of that same time period, our practices of Christianity itself have changed. I realize that times change, and I am not opposed to things changing. However, I am growing more and more hesitant about some of the kinds of changes I am seeing within American Christianity specifically.
For instance, there was a day in American history when Christians held the Lord’s Day in high esteem, and would reverence the day through corporate worship, fellowship with God’s people, and general rest. That mindset is waning today. More and more Christians are viewing the Lord’s Day as either a drudgery, or a non-essential in their Christian lives. Corporate worship has become optional, especially if there is a sporting event on TV, or if their children are involved in some kind of sporting event, or if there is some kind of family gathering.
Also, there was a day in American history when separation from sinful activities was natural and expected of Christians. Today, many of these activities are now viewed under the umbrellas of “personal preference,” “grace,” and “Christian liberty.” The lines of distinction between the Christian and the non-Christian are becoming more and more blurred over time, primarily because the activities of the two are becoming more and more similar.
I do not believe it is a far stretch to say that the more American Christianity progresses in its breadth, the more shallow it becomes in its depth. People are being converted to a “me-ism” Christianity, a licentious Christianity, a “go with the flow” Christianity.
Cultural trends are viewed with little discernment, and are therefore very nearly blindly embraced. As a result, we are now building a Christianity that is becoming more irrelevant and unnecessary. When the lines of sin are blurred or ignored, why is salvation necessary? If morality becomes more of a matter of choice than command, then what need is there for holiness?
Let’s commit ourselves to more than the five solas of the reformation and the core truths of the gospel, as good as those are.
Let’s commit ourselves to something different than a shallow, anemic Christianity.
Let’s commit ourselves to conserve a robust, theologically rich Christianity which emphasizes the glory of God as our ultimate chief end.
In this pursuit, let’s not waiver on the truth that we claim only Christ’s righteousness as our sole basis of acceptance before God for salvation.
Let’s commit ourselves to please God as our Father out of a heart of love and through a lifestyle of distinctive holiness in every part of our daily lives and culture.
And let’s never grow weary, knowing that this will mean an ongoing, unrelenting fight against sin for the rest of our days.
But God is worth it all!