What is a living faith? I look around me and wonder. In a country where many would be quick to claim the name Christian, in a land where few would condone violence, tyranny, or criminal acts, in a state where love is supposed to be embraced and proliferated, I am still seeking evidence of the faith we claim to have. “So what does it mean to have a living faith?” I ask myself.
A living Christian faith is one where Scripture is read and applied. This sounds quite simple, but in reality it is impossible to do in our own strength. Chapter one of Romans is just one of many biblical passages that emphasizes God’s standard for godly living. It is an impossible standard to meet unless we are closely walking with Him. I am certain that there are few people who would verbally disagree with living a godly life. We all can attest to the quality of living that comes from a clear conscience. We wouldn’t deny that a sexually pure lifestyle avoids great heartache. We would adamantly agree that life is something that should be cherished and respected. Who wouldn’t say that it’s wrong to demean others or to treat them cruelly? No one wants to be lied to and we all understand that speaking truth is a sign of good character. Yet we are living contradictions; on a daily basis we live the exact opposite of what we claim to believe, while expecting others to live what they claim. What is going on?
Our God is a god of absolutism. There are no shades of gray in His nature. He sees life in terms of light and dark, good and evil, truth and absence of truth. He has set these standards in order to purge evil from His presence. Our God desires to build a personal relationship with people, yet our sin separates us from Him. It is for our good and His glory that He has set His standard for holiness; understanding His standard and recognizing that we can’t meet them should drive us to know Him more. This should be the witness of the Christian community. But is it?
With disconcerting frequency I encounter an avoidance of God’s standard within the Christian community. Few people are willing to speak out against the atrocity of abortion or the acceptance of homosexuality in our society, and among Christians themselves. We have bought the slogan of tolerance, only to treat those who do testify to God’s truth with extreme intolerance. Anger and resentment are leveled at those who speak out against the hot issues of our time: abortion, homosexuality, individual responsibility, even the disappearance of religious liberty. All of this is done in the name of “separation of church and state.” It is as if we believe that the Bible should not be applied to anything that has made an appearance in Washington D.C. Do we think that if it has been talked about by politicians it should not be mentioned in the church?
I am not saying that the pulpit should become a soapbox. I do not think that the church should become political headquarters. What I would like to see is an honest application of biblical truths to every aspect of life, and that includes the moral issues affecting the society we live in. This doesn’t mean that I believe all Christians should sign-wave or walk in protest marches; it does mean that I think Christians should hold God’s truths close to their heart and actually live out what they believe. By doing so we can have a greater impact on our communities, and this impact can spread to Washington. Salt and light – two elements whose existence cannot be denied. May that be true of Bible-living Christians.