Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christian Life Different

Christians very different from the secular world

Paul thinks of the purpose of God's choice. God chose us that we should be holy and blameless. Here are two great words. Holy is the Greek word hagios (Greek #40), which always has in it the idea of difference and of separation. A temple is holy because it is different from other buildings; a priest is holy because he is different from ordinary men; a victim is holy because it is different from other animals; God is supremely holy because he is different from men; the Sabbath is holy because it is different from other days. So, then, God chose the Christian that he should be different from other men.

Here is the challenge that the modern Church has been very slow to face. In the early Church the Christian never had any doubt that he must be different from the world; he, in fact, knew that he must be so different that the probability was that the world would kill him and the certainty was that the world would hate him. But the tendency in the modern Church has been to play down the difference between the Church and the world. We have, in effect, often said to people: "So long as you live a decent, respectable life, it is quite all right to become a Church member and to call yourself a Christian. You don't need to be so very different from other people." In fact a Christian should be identifiable in the world.

It must always be remembered that this difference on which Christ insists is not one which takes a man out of the world; it makes him different within the world. It should be possible to identify the Christian in the school, the shop, the factory, the office, the hospital ward, everywhere. And the difference is that the Christian behaves not as any human laws compel him to do but as the law of Christ compels him to do. A Christian teacher is out to satisfy the regulations not of an education authority or a headmaster but of Christ; and that will almost certainly mean a very different attitude to the pupils under his charge. A Christian workman is out to satisfy the regulations not of a Trades Union but of Jesus Christ; and that will certainly make him a very different kind of workman, which may well end in him being so different that he is expelled from his union. A Christian doctor will never regard a sick person as a case, but always as a person. A Christian employer will be concerned with far more than the payment of minimum wages or the creation of minimum working conditions. It is the simple fact of the matter that if enough Christians became hagios (Greek #40), different, they would revolutionize society.

Blameless is the Greek word amomos (Greek #299). Its interest lies in the fact that it is a sacrificial word. Under Jewish law before an animal could be offered as a sacrifice it must be inspected, and if any blemish was found it must be rejected as unfit for an offering to God. Only the best was fit to offer to God. Amomos (Greek #299) thinks of the whole man as an offering to God. It thinks of taking every part of our life, work, pleasure, sport, home life, personal relationships, and making them all such that they can be offered to God. This word does not mean that the Christian must be respectable; it means that he must be perfect. To say that the Christian must be amomos (Greek #299) is to banish contentment with second bests; it means that the Christian standard is nothing less than perfection.

From William Barclay's Daily Study Bible
Ephesians 1

Above: Bible teacher  E.W.King responds to psychology.

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