What does genuine Christianity really look like?
Many people think that the gospel of Christ is something that is only pertinent when a person is on his deathbed. So they live their life, hoping they will get a chance to “get right with God” just before they die—as if God is the God of the dead, with a particular interest in those wretched corpses that are worn out through all kinds of sinning. They think a person’s youth with its strength is best used to serve Satan. But, if someone finally—after years of procrastination—does get converted, then God has tremendous difficulty getting them to quit their sinful habits—one by one—that cling so closely.
Generally, people’s fear of God brings them no further than dropping in now and then to some church or chapel to listen to a sermon. Like people up to their knees in mud, they cling to all their old sinful habits, grudgingly slogging along as if the Christian life is something from Satan himself. No wonder young people are afraid of this sort of Christianity and avoid it like the plague.
Christianity for young people
What does the apostle say about his Christianity? “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1. This is a goal worth striving for, one worth attaining in Christ. This Christianity suits young people exceptionally well. You don’t need to struggle your entire life to give up a certain sin. Cut it off with a swift sword-blow—because there are hundreds of other things in your life that also need to be cut off one by one. This is the way of sanctification, and all enemies of the cross hate it. This is also the way to strength, and young people thrive here, because they can set high goals for themselves, for this life and for the life to come.
The cross of Christ is profitable and His burden is light. The Christian life is an unshakable, fulfilling and genuine life. If you want to find trustworthy, reliable people, look for them on the way of the cross. Talking about the cross is not the cross; it is just chitchat. You find the cross by living a life of self-denial: by hating sin and consciously rejecting it in your life. Life is to be our doctrine, and the doctrine our life.
There are artists who are very gifted, yet they live immoral lives. There are also gifted preachers who have no idea what the cross of Christ really is—in spirit and truth. Gifts are not life itself; they are talents and abilities which can be used whether one lives according to the flesh or according to the Spirit. If you want a future and a hope, then follow Christ. Don’t just sit there sleeping in some meeting hall. Don’t believe that living a comfortable, religious life is Christianity. The obedience of faith is the only thing that has true and lasting value. Nothing else is worth considering.
A light for your generation
I want to exhort everyone who is walking on the way of the cross: Preach the Word in season and out of season, so that people’s eyes may be opened to all the empty and profane drivel about divine truths. Be a light for your generation by exposing folly that comes in the form of an angel of light. Jesus fought His whole life against those who, because of the way they lived, projected a distorted picture of God’s truths.
Use the time. Convince people one by one. It is not a person’s position that makes him valuable, but rather his ability to help others to become something for God and the Church. This is worth striving for because the others’ salvation will be our crown and reward on that Day.
Life is the light of men. (John 1:4) No one has more light than the life he has lived—even if he has a lot of good theories. Bible school cannot give students light. On the contrary, they are given a taste for the knowledge that puffs up. Jesus instructed His disciples in the school of life day and night, on land and on sea. This was the right kind of Bible school. Apart from this, the natural man can only grasp the Scriptures through his senses in the same way he comprehends history, geography, mathematics and language.
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Taken from an article first published in Norwegian in the BCC periodical “Skjulte Skatter” (“Hidden Treasures”) in 1924, under the title “Life is the light of man.”