living the true Christian life

Christianity is marked by almost universal misunderstanding. Unbelievers understandably see it the wrong way, but within the world of Christianity itself there is remarkable distortion and misapprehension. 

The biggest problem is imposed by the idea of religion

At root, Religion is man’s attempt to explain and control the spiritual dimension of our existence. Religions are systems of behaviour and belief which human beings devise to channel their sense of the mystical dimension which lies beyond the physical world we see, feel and know. 

But Christianity does not fit this model. Why ? 

Because Christianity is given by God. It is God’s idea and God’s way of doing things. Not man’s. 

Christianity starts with God, not man. 

It starts with God’s plan and purpose for humanity. That purpose concerns the centrality of God in our lives. Without God our lives are incomplete and inadequate. With God they become what they are meant to be – what God intended. Life makes sense because we have the full picture instead of just a partial take on who we are and what this life is about. 

So starting with God, it means that God finds us – not the other way round. He is after all, God. The first cause and the end of all existence. The plan for our lives must by definition start with him – and end with him. Necessarily. 

That means that he awakens our awareness to him, and that he grants us the ability both to turn to him in the first place, and to believe in him thereafter. That word for believe in the Bible actually means to trust him with our lives

But it is more than that – more than initial repentance and faith, as the Bible terms it. It is the very life and nature of God which God grants us to live by. 

We are called to live our lives by God’s love and ability – by his Holy Spirit. That is, by his resources and his ideas – not according to our own human abilities, strengths and thinking. 

Which is why religion – and indeed ‘Christian’ religion – fails to represent the true meaning of Christianity.  

Which is why all man’s additions to the New Testament described faith are a waste of time. They are a distraction and an illusion, not the real thing. 

Ornate church buildings are just one of the distractions and additions. Church hierarchies, denominations, titles, honours, indeed particular doctrinal emphases – all these are superfluous and very often unhelpful too.  

Because God himself by the presence of the Holy Spirit is the cause, the means and the end of every aspect of the Christian life. 

Jesus Christ, Son of God, had to die on a cross because only God could be the perfect sacrifice sufficient to meet God’s perfect standard. 

Man cannot meet God’s standard in any way at all. Man is imperfect – manifestly so. God is not – God is perfect and faultless. Therefore only God’s plan, God’s purpose, God’s life and God’s means are acceptable. 

We can bring nothing of ourselves, but to respond by obedience. And for a key example of that we have the written record of the early converts to Christianity on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit moved. 

The true Holy Spirit is recorded in Acts chapter 2 as convincing people of their sin and unworthiness before God. That is why they cry out to the apostles, asking: 


And the reply of the apostles is very instructive. 

It is not to invite them to say the so-called “sinner’s prayer”. It is this:


Repent – that is, turn away from living this life according to your own selfish thoughts and desires, and turn towards God in order to live as he says and as he enables by the Holy Spirit. 

The true Holy Spirit to live this new life in Christ will only be given to those who are obedient and do what is required by God. 

What is required ?

To be baptised – that is to be plunged completely into water – and to do so in the Name of Jesus Christ. In other words, to undertake that physical act in obedience to Christ,  confessing Christ as your Saviour from your past selfish lifestyle. 

Only after taking the way which  God has ordained – ie water baptism – will God grant the power and presence of the Holy Spirit to an individual. And it is by the true Holy Spirit that the believer can now live in obedience to God. Not by observing religious rituals, nor by agreeing with what men may teach about God, but by learning to live the New Testament teaching, in the power supplied by the Holy Spirit.  

As the apostle Paul pointed out to the Romans in chapter 6 of his letter to them, by beoing baptised we are mystically associated with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And that event seals us as members of the universal but invisible body of Christ called ‘the church’. 

The true church is the assembly of believers. In Greek the word is ekklesia which means, called out – those called out of living according to this world’s ways in order to live as God commands by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. 

That being so, we must read the Bible accordingly. We read it to understand who God is and to understand how we are to live the godly life in the power of the Holy Spirit. Which brings me to the book of Judges in the Old Testament – the book to be studied in coming weeks. To be studied according to the New Testament interpretation of the Bible, and according to how we may be encouraged to live the new resurrection life of Christ, in Christ, for Christ. 

Our understanding of the book of Judges will not therefore be literal, but spiritual. We will take the literal struggles recorded there to learn spiritual lessons about the spiritual life we are called to live. A life of ‘warfare’ to conquer the enemies of Self and Satan in our hearts and minds – not physical enemies in a physical world. 

Christian Preacher

By Christianity

The personal icon photograph shows God's creation, the world. It reminds us that God is the Creator of all - the almighty, the all knowing and all present - the one who is most important of all. The one to whom we owe all, and the one to whom we will answer for all. The site's header image of the Bible [King James Authorised Version], a map, a light and a compass represent to us that God's word in the Bible is our spiritual map, illumination and guide through this life. Those who obey his teaching will know his presence and power - Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 23

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