Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Worldly Christian

This post is in response to a comment from the 17th: Please explain a worldly Christian.

The apostle Paul had to deal with worldly Christians. (I did not know if the use of worldly Christian, carnal Christian, and Christian living in the flesh are identical in the Greek, but they carry the same ideas.) Paul addressed the church at Corinth as, "people of the flesh, as infants."

The quote about a worldly Christian in my last post is from A.W. Tozer, and he used the same verse in Corinthians to write an entire chapter about who he described as carnal Christians. He said carnal Christians are: Self-centered, feelings oriented, dependent on the external (when worshiping God), without purpose, unproductive (they must be tricked into reading God's Word), shifts blame away from self, and eats a limited diet [of God's Word and spiritual disciplines]. This is a limited explanation of the chapter, and I would encourage you to get a hold of his book Reclaiming Christianity to read the rest, but you can start to see the types of characteristics that expose those who may be a worldly Christian.

The apostle Paul in Romans chapter 1 listed what is apparent in those who are of the world, whether Christian or not. He said in verses 29-32,

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Paul also said in 1 John 2:15-16, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world."

Ephesians 5:1-21 is too many verses to list here, but you should read them. It talks about how a Christian is to live and what to avoid. Ephesians 5 is the only passage I've listed that talks about sexual immorality, which is one of the greatest ways self-identified Christians reflect the world’s standard rather than God’s.

Pretty much all of this discussion can be summed up in Romans 12:2 where it says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your minds, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." I like the way The Message translation explains verses one and two from Romans 12,

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Worldly Christians are Christians who are characterized by anything from the above-mentioned.

The book Reclaiming Christianity by A. W. Tozer was written over 50 years ago, but it is astonishing how it reads as if it could have been written yesterday. One of the most startling chapters I read was one that talked about words that are now dead in the church. Here is another parting quote:

In the great campaigns of a former generation, [The word ‘accept’] became the catchword for evangelicalism, fundamentalism, full gospelism and world missions. [The word ‘accept’] contained a mighty truth that has long since died, but the word stays on. It stays on the theological spectrum and is producing a generation of Christians, or so-called Christians, that are [unrepentant] in their hearts, frivolous in their spirits and worldly in their conduct. Telling people who come to us to be converted, and "accept Jesus," and so they say, "all right, I'll accept Jesus." So they accept Jesus and that is all about there is to it. There is no transformation and no [unrepentant] root of their being that is ever cured. There is pride that has never been crucified, a worldliness they have never been able to deal with and a frivolity of spirit that is beyond description.


Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your blog. I have followed you from the beginning. It is wonderful to see what God is doing in your life. You did a great job explaining a "worldly christian". I am glad I checked in on dan today :)

Anonymous said...

you ever think of seminary instead of law? thanks for the words. I have been praying soooo hard lately to have the heart of Jesus. Reading this I feel conviction by the spirit I am a worldly Christian. Thanks for the challenge.
Connie Lukacs