by, Nov 29th 2007 at 10:18 AM (517 Views)
As I was driving to work a few days ago, I thought about the Scripture I had read that morning. 1 John 3 had told me that those who practise righteousness are of God while those who practise sin are not of God. That startling statement produced a chain-reaction of thoughts about works, renewing the mind, the world, grace, and our information-saturated culture.
If you look at the world we live in today, you find that information is presented to us from every side. The internet, TV, billboards, newspapers, magazines, books...it's hard to escape so many words entering our minds. In the chaos of all that information inside my head, I find that reading my Bible can become another excercize of just adding information to my (already nearly exploding) brain.
But then I read a statement such as the one in 1 John 3 and I'm reminded that God wants to do more than add information; He wants to transform my thinking. So many movies, shows, articles, and opinions - whether I know it or not - affect and change my perspective on reality. The dangerous result may very well be a view of the world and of God that does not correspond with God's reality. These changes occur so subtly that we often don't see them until they've taken us way off course.
Our thinking about righteousness and righteous living is no different. Somehow, the thinking has seeped into the minds of many believers that as long as you believe in Jesus, you're ok. You're forgiveness, cleansed, sanctified, made righteous, and going to heaven, so why worry? Or perhaps we listen to psychology, the scientific take on things, and end up with a secular view on solving problems, merely covered with a religious sauce. We might even look at the average Joe in church, make the behavior of the crowd our standard, and think we're ok.
Mind you, all these things happen quite sub-consciously. I believe, however, that if we take the time to look at ourselves and our view of reality in the light of the Bible, we will see that we need a radical paradigm shift towards a Biblical way of thinking. A person who is righteous practices righteousness. So if a person structurally does not practice righteousness, what does that mean? Well, John's rather simple conclusion is that they must not be righteous then! Read 1 John 3 and judge for yourself!
What is this about then, about doing works and earning our righteousness? No. James does say, however, that faith without actions is dead. And what is more, John says in this same chapter 3 that the commandment we need to keep is to believe in the name of Jesus and love the brothers. But loving the brothers, he says in verse 16, means laying your life down for them! A daunting task indeed - for any saint!
What John is saying, then, is that Christianity is not vague, theoretical, and 'positional,' but that it is very practical. True faith produces visible and tangible results and fruit in the lives of believers, results in righteous practices, and causes a person to lay down their life for their brothers and sisters.
As I wrap up this chronicle of my mind, let me join with John and encourage us to 'not love in word or with talk, but to love in deed and in truth'. Or as Petra once sang:
"There's too much talk and not enough walk. Sometimes's God's children should be seen and not heard."