I have a good friend. He doesn’t drink alcohol, thus has never been involved in any alcohol-related crimes or embarrassments. He doesn’t destroy his mind through the use of illicit drugs. I’ve never once heard my friend gossip or tell a single lie. He never wastes his time in night clubs, casinos, or questionable establishments. I can’t recall ever hearing him speak with profanity or vulgarity. And he has never cheated a soul in business.
Many people would call my friend a “good Christian.” Yet you need to know that I have just described my dog, Patches!
We need to learn what being a Christian is all about; that being a Christian involves more than merely not doing evil. Being a Christian concerns actually doing good, fully submitting to Christ and living by faith.
Christ taught, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Complete and total submission to Christ is essential if we would be called by His name. Like the brethren of Smyrna, all of us in Christ are expected to “be faithful until death” (Revelation 2:10).
The world holds many good and honest souls who are not maliciously engaged in the blackest of evils. Many of these good, moral citizens are our neighbors, our friends, our relatives. They may, in some cases, be more moral than some of the church’s more nominal members.
But they should not, by virtue of their upstanding lifestyles, be confused with “good Christians.” They may refrain from wrong; they may even be involved in promoting much that is right. But outside of Christ they cannot be considered Christians.
Not until one comes to Christ and obeys the gospel is one a Christian. No one can life a pure enough life to save himself, and there is still no other name to save us but the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).
Remember, there is a world of difference between my dog and a “good Christian.”
Broken Arrow, OK