When God sets the standard.

Breaking away from mediocre Christianity.

The Church finds itself in the midst of a tragic dilemma. In our attempt of running away from legalism, it seems that we have abandoned holiness altogether. Why should we allow the fear of being labeled “legalistic” to keep us from becoming holy? The Christian life is one of becoming more and more like Christ, or growing in holiness. The Bible clearly states that, “without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14b, NIV); yet how often is holiness preached from the pulpit of our churches? We know God is holy. We sing it in our worship songs over and over again, but do we really know what it means? The tendency of the Church is to think of God as loving because of His sacrifice for us but that’s about it. Yes, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is the epitome of God’s love for us, but the way we think of His sacrifice is extremely crucial. Today, many Christians don’t understand the depth of God’s love and they misunderstand the grace of God as a result. This misconception has its roots in the way Christians perceive God’s holiness. God is not just loving, He is also holy. The fact that God didn’t just forgive us without sending His only son to be punished for our sins attests to this truth. Because God is holy, He is not a God of cheap grace; His grace possesses the highest of value. The problem with today’s Christianity is that it takes God’s grace too lightly. I’m in no way suggesting that we can buy our own salvation; the only way to being saved is by faith alone and this is because of God’s undeserved grace. My point is that if believers truly understood God’s grace, they would be truly changed as a result. There’s a hidden lie floating around in the Church today and it goes something like this, “There’s no need to let go of your sin, God loves you anyways. So, go ahead, watch the same movies, listen to the same music, read the same magazines; do everything that the world does. Shouldn’t Christians try to be relevant anyways?” The danger caused by this subtle, yet powerful lie is more devastating than we could ever imagine! God’s love leads us to repentance; repentance leads us to experiencing His grace, which in turn produces real change in our lives. If someone’s heart has been changed by Christ, how can that person still love the things of this world? He/she simply can’t! My fear is that many so-called “Christians” are not really Christians because they haven’t experienced real change in their lives. In our modern churches, pastors often “water down” the Gospel in an attempt to grow in number; but the true message of the Gospel does not tickle the ears- it calls for complete surrender to Jesus Christ, which blossoms in a death to self. Today, people don’t want to hear this truth because they want to continue living in their sin. One cannot be a follower of Christ and be in love with sin at the same time. It’s either we take up our cross and follow Him or we don’t. There’s no such thing as partial-surrender. It’s so disappointing to see that so many churches (especially mega churches) have become like the world because their desire for attracting people is greater than their desire to stay true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How tragic it is when unbelievers come with thirsty hearts to our churches only to find that the “church” is just like the world they’re so weary of! We speak of leading people to Christ, yet how can we do so if we don’t give them the whole Gospel? God is not just loving, He is also holy, and He calls us to live holy lives by the power of His Spirit living in us. It’s time for Christians to live lives worthy of the calling they have received and to live by God’s standards, not the world’s. We are called to separate ourselves from the pollution of the world, but our churches are filled with Christians who are polluted by it. God is looking for people who are true to Him in a time when the Church is rapidly vanishing away into the darkness of this world. We simply cannot shine the light of God in this dark world if we partake in its darkness by indulging in sin. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the Christian life doesn’t require sacrifice. It does, but the life God intended for us is found when we lay down our lives as a sacrifice of love for the One who loved us first. Will you embrace the call of God to be radically, completely, and absolutely set-apart from the world?

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