Faithful Christians live in harmony to the pattern given by Christ and the inspired writers. Peter said God’s people follow the Lord’s steps in suffering. (1 Peter 2:19-25) John wrote, “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:3-6) Paul encouraged Saints to “be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1)
When you consider the life of Christ or for that matter the apostles, they clearly stood out from other people. Our Lord lived sinless among sinners and did everything the Father wanted of Him. (1 John 3:5) There was something unique about His speech. As the officers said about Jesus, “No one ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:46) There was also something markedly different about His message. (Mark 1:22) He spoke of a kingdom and blessings not of this world. (Rev. 21:1-4)
While Christ’s life is the perfect pattern of goodness and no one can live up to Him, God’s people will stand out from non-Christians. (Titus 2:7-8) Paul encourages Christians to not conform to this world. (Rom. 12:1-2) This means do not think or act like the people this world turns out. Instead, we are transforming ourselves by renewing our mind. Our whole person changes from an earthly focus and character to one spiritually motivated. It begins in the mind or heart as we see “what is the will of God.”
We also read where Christians “renounce ungodliness and worldly passions,” and “live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age.” (Titus 2:11-12) The only reason we can make this change is because Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem us.” He purified “for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:14)
Christians are not like everyone else. For example, many people doubt or deny God. Judaism and Islam believe in a god, but they deny Jesus as the Son of God. Some pseudo-Christian faiths say Jesus was just a man or a prophet, and so they reject His Deity. Others say God is nature and nature is God or there are many gods to worship. Then some believe in an impersonal God who created in the beginning, but then worked through evolution or is no longer involved in the universe.
I do not believe any of these views because they all conflict with Bible teaching. The Genesis’ account of origin says that God made everything, and I believe it as a Christian. (Gen. 1) I also accept the Bible’s teaching about a personal God who created everything in six days. I reject the idea that God is nature and nature is God because He clearly created and upholds nature. (Heb. 1:3) I believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19) No Christian can believe Jesus was nothing more than a man or prophet. (Matt. 3:17) Neither can we accept as true the many gods of mythology or Hinduism.
There are so many ideas about the Bible it is hard to keep up with them all. Some simply dismiss it as fantasy and fiction. Others say Scriptures are a dangerous and hateful collection of rigid rules to control people. Many see a value in the Bible’s moral compass and reaching for a higher goal than ourselves. People also compare it with other “great” literary works, no better or no worse.
Most who say they are Christians accept it as God Word, at least in some respect. Among those, you have people who say the Bible is only a general guide or that we only have to follow the “red letter” words of Christ. Many believe it’s outdated in some ways and so we may change those parts we think no longer fits.
Even among those who recognize the Bible as God’s complete and sole guide, many do not agree on how to interpret its message. If Scripture does not condemn it then we can do it, many say. Others try to make the Bible’s teaching fit whatever they think man has proven to be right. For example, many want to believe the Bible, but they also believe in science and what they hear. The question is, when God’s Word and man’s wisdom conflict, which will we believe? Will we put more faith in man’s word or God’s Word? I am not going to let anything man thinks he has figured out override what God has clearly said. That means I choose to believe the Bible’s account of creation over any theory or guesswork. It also means I accept God’s Word on one man and one woman for life in marriage. I must understand and believe whatever He says about everything and never let man’s ideas get in the way. “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” (Rom. 3:4)
The unsaved may do much of what Christians do. They may care for their families, work hard, and be generous with their giving. Many might live moral lives, attend worship and be religious. Some could even attend a “church of Christ” and be consider a faithful member. None of these acts, by themselves, define who a Christian is.
What makes a faithful Christian stand apart from other people? It is the way they love and respect God’s whole message. We have a unique and defining life style that makes us distinct from everyone else. It is all about doing God’s Will and putting our faith and trust in Him. A Christian is not someone who does good part of the time or in a few ways. They want to be the complete package and faithful to God’s every Word. Are you a different breed as a Child of God or someone who looks the same as everyone else?