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A So-Called Christian

I don't know what this means.

Okay, so I understand the intent, but I take issue with the appropriateness/accuracy of it. 

My favorite dictionary, Merriam-Webster, defines "so-called" this way:

Pronunciation: \ˈsō-ˈkld\
Function: adjective
Date: 15th century
1 : commonly named : popularly so termed
2 : falsely or improperly so named

Given the tone that typically accompanies the moniker "so-called Christian", I'm guessing the desired definition would be number 2.   
My real problem comes not with the term so-called, but with people's apparent perception of what it means to be a Christian.

Given the adjective-noun format of the phrase "so-called Christian", I will give you the Merriam-Webster definition for the noun form of Christian:

Pronunciation: \ˈkris-chən, ˈkrish-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin christianus, adjective & noun, from Greek christianos, from Christos
Date: 1526
1 : one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ

Well, Merriam and/or Webster, that is incredibly vague and incomplete.  That being said, I'll let the definition stand for the sake of illustrating my point.

The insinuation by the term "so-called Christian" is that the person claiming to be Christian is not acting as such.  By definition, they are not acting as though they profess belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

What has happened to the term "Christian" is that it has been dragged through the mud, spit on, and rebuked to the point that it's a dirty word.  To claim that you are a Christian, apparently means to non-Christians that you believe yourself to be perfect, without sin, self-righteous, superior, and in a position to judge everyone else.

As a Christian, I *try* to live my life according to the model that Jesus gave us.  I am not going to be perfect, nor can I expect perfection of others.  Jesus surrounded himself and built his nation not with the elite, but the common.  Given the choice, from the get-go Eve chose to disobey God.  Abraham didn't trust God to provide a child to him and Sarah, so took matters into his own hand and impregnated his concubine.  Moses was a murderer.  David was an adulterer and a murderer.  Rahab was a prostitute.  Solomon was a womanizer who ultimately turned away from God.  Peter denied Jesus.  The wonder of it all is that despite these shortcomings, we are the recipients of a great grace.  God knows we aren't perfect.  That's why he gave us Jesus.

In modern terms, this means that *even* avowed Christians are going to mess up.  It is the very nature of man.  When someone cheats on their spouse, suffers with addiction, drives recklessly, commits a white-collar crime, it doesn't mean they aren't a Christian.  It means they sinned, in a big, public way.  It means they have to confess that sin, turn away from the sinful behavior, and turn back towards Jesus.  This is the message of hope for us all.  There is redemption in Jesus.  He does not exclude anyone.  How wonderful is that!?

The following are teachings of Jesus Christ:

1.  There is not one single person (Jesus excepted) who is, ever was, or ever will be perfect.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23

2.  There is a just penalty for sin (death), but we have another choice (salvation through Jesus).

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

3.  The only way to salvation is through believing that Jesus accepted our penalty for sin as a  sacrifice, only to defeat death and rise again.

That if you confess with your mouth*, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:9

*Jennie's note - This is more then just "saying the words".  It is to believe and follow God's teachings, wholly and completely.

That is what it means to be a Christian.  I am trying to live a life that is pleasing to God, but I am not perfect.  I am going to mess up, no matter how hard I try.  I am not a so-called Christian.  I am a true Christian, just doing my best.

So, please, try not to be offended when I call myself one.

Smooches, hugs, and love.

P.S.- Please don't be offended if I tell you that I will pray for you.  I am doing it out of love.  It's the most powerful tool in my toolbox.

3 comments:

CLewis said...

Amen! Well said:)

Jada said...

Wonderfully written as always!! A great message that needs to be shared over and over.

Debbie said...

Joining in this AMEN corner. Very, very well said Jennie.

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