Placing Your Trust in Christ, not Christians

Christians are who they are, in reality, not by their own choice. I remember hearing someone say, “You may be the only Christ someone will meet, today.” Their thought was, “Be Christ-like.” I felt a heavy burden from their sentiment, which seemed correct at the time.

Christians are chosen by God to be vessels of mercy (Rom 9:23; 11:5). He is the Potter, and we are the clay (Jer 18; Rom 9:17–21). He causes us to be born again of God, by the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3). It is His work to make us new creatures (2 Cor 5:17), by giving us new life…His life (Jn 14:6). The new life is in Christ (Rom 6:4; 1 Cor 1:30), which means we have right standing before God, not by being good people nor by producing good works to gain that access.

The world looks at Christians (means: “anointed ones”), and it finds a peculiar people (Dt 14:2; Titus 2:14). Christians no longer run with the crowd, to do the parties and pleasures of the sinful world. In fact, what the people of the world observe is an “other-world” mind set and affection. With their mind set on Christ Jesus (Col 3:2), and their eyes focused on Him (Heb 12:2), who they have not seen in their flesh, they proclaim their love for Him (1 Pet 1:8; 1 Jn 4:19).

Christians, as they mature, spiritually, have an intensified allegiance to the One they refer to as “Lord” and “Master.” They are not ashamed to refer to themselves as, “slaves of Christ (Eph 6:6).” Their spiritual service is to be what God is crafting them into being. The mold is the image of God’s Son, Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:4).

The indwelling Spirit of Christ occupies the heart and mind of the Christian (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11; 1 Cor 2:16; Gal 2:20; Eph 3:17). The Spirit leads the Christian to walk in the manner of his or her calling to follow Christ (Eph 4:1). The Spirit is the agent of gathering God’s chosen people from every nation (Eph 4:4; Rev 5:9). Employing the Bible, the Word of God, the Spirit causes the Christian to bear witness of Christ Jesus to others (Acts 1:8). The love of Christ controls this labor of love for His elect (2 Cor 5:14).

When the good news about God saving His people reaches others, there is friction. It is startling at first for Christ’s sheep because the hostility of the people in the world is far more vicious than one imagined when he was saved and brought into the church (Mt 10:22; Jn 15:18–19, 24–25).

The world is at enmity with Christ, who is the Light of the world (Jn 8:12), exposing the rebellion in man’s heart against God (Eph 5:11). So, when the Spirit-filled Christian speaks of the One who loved her and who gave himself for her (Gal 2:20), in His death on the cross, the hatred for God is enraged (Jn 7:7; Rom 1:30). The unbeliever lashes out at the Christian (Jn 15:18–19, 24–25).

The response to the unbeliever’s malice is varied. New believers either cower in silence, or their feisty old nature fights back, in the way of their former sinful selves. It is a difficult balance that becomes more fluid with spiritual maturity, and of course, by His grace.

When Christ was publicly despised and mistreated by the religious leaders of the Jews, He was like a Lamb led to slaughter on the way to the Cross. Prior to that time, He engaged in some heated debates and arguments with His opponents, who were ready to kill Him before His appointed day of death. Being led by the Spirit, His Words and actions were fit for every occasion.

When the ambassador for Christ speaks the Word, in season, it is like a joust with the Sword of the Spirit (2 Cor 5:20; Eph 6:17). The Christian is aware that only the Holy Spirit can subdue the animosity toward Christ in a person, but the Christian experiences a taste of the scoffing her Master endured. In this, the Christian shares in the afflictions of the body of Christ (Col 1:24–25; 1 Peter).

The error of the opposition is a misguided trust in Christ’s messenger, “I want nothing to do with your Jesus, if that is what you say and do.” Christians labor to persuade people to trust Jesus Christ, for their desperately needed salvation from sin, death, judgment, and eternal punishment. The guile of the sons of disobedience belittles the representative of Christ, “Look at all these things in your life, you foul Christian! How can you call yourself a Christian?”

The Christian must be vigilant in these encounters, protected by the whole armor of God (Eph 6:10–20), remembering that our war is not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers in heavenly places (a.k.a. demons). The essential task is to wield the Sword of the Word, giving an apt reply to the hope that is within us. By continually removing the focus from oneself, the Christian makes Christ known from the Scriptures. For men to see Christ, they are seeing the one and only Savior of sinners (Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:4–6). Our hope is that some will move their misplaced focus on the Christian, and place their confidence in Christ Jesus, ultimately and entirely by His grace.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

December 27, 2021

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher