If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I spend way too much time on Facebook! For the most part, I find it mindless escapism and a fun way to keep up with friends. But like all social media these days, it also is a very negative place where people who apparently had bad potty training or something spew a lot of garbage.
Christians take their fair share of beatings in social media. But today’s blog may surprise you because I’m not going to defend Christians. In fact, I may make a whole bunch of people who feel they are Christians mad at me. But if it spurs them to greater discipleship, I’m all for ticking them off!
You see, Christianity is more than just saying you believe that Jesus Christ is the messiah – the Son of God who died on the cross, was buried, and rose on the third day. Yes, scripture does say if you confess Jesus with your mouth you are saved (Romans 10:9). But scripture says a lot more than that.
In his conversation with the Pharisee Nicodemus, Jesus told the curious would-be follower that he needed to be “born again.” Nicodemus was rightly confused, and Jesus explained, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” (John 3:5-6) As believers we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit to whom we should submit and allow to do works in our lives!
Further, Paul tells us that when we believe we become a new creation in Christ – the old is gone and the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul confirms in Romans 12 that we are to no longer conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our mind, directing us to have the mind of Christ and think of heavenly things not worldly things!
Jesus tells us that if we love Him we will obey his commands. (John 14:15). Further, Jesus tells us that we will know that we are his disciples by the way we love one another (John 13:35) and by the fruit we bear (Matthew 7:15-20).
There are literally hundreds of verses like these in the New Testament that all mean the same thing: When you accept Jesus, you will change!
Now don’t get me wrong, I know that everyone is in a different place in their faith walk, but there are key pieces that all of us who are disciples of Jesus share in common. They include:
- Confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior
- Hate our sin and fight against it daily
- Confess our sins to God and seek forgiveness
- Forgive others as we have been forgiven
- Work diligently not to be judgmental
- Show grace and mercy to others
- Speak the truth in grace and love
- “Turn the other cheek” and not take offense
- Work hard to humble ourselves
- Work hard to love our enemies and pray for those who want to harm us
- Constantly working to improve and be more like Christ
- Are concerned for the eternity of those who do not believe and are compelled to share Jesus with them
Again, we are all in a different place in our walk in these points, but those of us who have been born again and transformed by the living God focus our lives on these points because Jesus has become the absolute most important thing to us.
Which brings us back to social media bashing Christians. My question is this: Are the people getting bashed really Christians or are they just people who think themselves Christians? There is a difference!
Many of the people on social media being bashed as Christians simply are not Christians. Let me point out why.
- They attack and hate other people based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or some other pretext. This violates 1 John 4:20
- They take offense routinely. This violates Matthew 5:38-40
- They seek revenge and retaliate in kind. This violates Romans 12:19
- They clearly don’t love their enemies. This violates Matthew 5:43-48
- They are arrogant and self-involved. This violates Philippians 2:3-4
- There is no evidence in their life of transformation. This violates Romans 12:1
- There is no evidence in their life that Jesus is the center of their life. This violates Matthew 10:37
Jesus warned us about claiming to follow Him when you’re really not. Hear His words from Matthew 7:21-23, “21Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name, drive out demons and in your name, perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
The church euphemistically calls these people “Nominal Christians” but I have to be real with you and tell you they are not Christians at all. They are the ones Jesus says He never knew – He never had a relationship with – so they will be left out of the promise. The gate is indeed narrow.
Let me ask you a heavy, deep, and real question: Are you truly born again? Are you a new creation in Christ? Does your life look any different now as a disciple than it did before you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you bear good fruit? Do people know you are a disciple of the risen Lord by the way you love others? Do people even know you are a believer in your work place, your grocery store, your barber shop/stylist, and other places you regularly frequent? Do you see what I’m driving at?
I fear for those who reject God openly, but they are making that choice with their eyes wide open because men are without excuse (Romans 1:20). I fear worse, however, for those who believe they are saved by Jesus when in fact they don’t even know Him and will fall into the Matthew 7:21 category. To those Christians I say this: Open your eyes and open your hearts – recommit yourself to Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to transform you into the person God has created you to be. Do that and I bet Facebook won’t have much to talk about.