The substance of the Christian faith is, of course, Jesus Christ. Not only has He saved and redeemed us, He has called us to live like Him. He is our sufficiency. We don’t need anything else.
For those of us who have placed our faith in Christ, He graciously supplies the Holy Spirit to help us, empowering us to live for Him. It is not odd for the Scriptures to call us to walk and live in the Spirit. Truth always leads to action. Our faith causes us to follow Christ. Our position in Christ will always lead us to our practice in Christ.
It is easy for some to call themselves Christians, but are they? Do their actions point to Christ-likeness? The Bible calls Christians to live in a way that points to the transforming, saving work of Christ.
Beloved, people don’t only need to hear that you have surrendered your life to Christ through faith and repentance, but they need to see your actions point to this wonderful redemption. They need to see that who you are in Christ leads you to live a certain way for Him. Not in your own power, but in the power that Christ supplies.
Without a saving relationship in Jesus Christ, you are fooling yourself to think that you can live according to the standard God has set. Because of that truth, your life is an indicator of whether you belong to Christ.
Every moral command in the New Testament presupposes faith in Christ. You cannot possibly live up to God’s standards without having Christ in your heart. But when Christ lives in you, you need to understand that true biblical faith demands true biblical living.
Jesus said it this way in Matthew 5:16 when He was preaching the great Sermon on the Mount: “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Notice that this verse tells us that it is your good works in Jesus Christ that the unbeliever sees, which then points them to Jesus Christ.
Alexander MacLaren, a famous nineteenth-century English preacher, said, “The world takes its notion of God, most of all, from the people who say they belong to God’s family. They read us a great deal more than they read the Bible. They see us; they only hear about Jesus Christ.” How true that statement is.
The unbelieving world is reading you like a book from cover to cover, and they are trying to figure you out. They want to know why you do what you do. Don’t we learn a great deal about someone by their actions over and against what they say?
I might tell you that I am a mechanic, and some of you might believe me. But if you bring your car to me to be fixed, you will see very quickly I have no clue how to repair cars (thank the Lord for YouTube!). You will find me out to be a fraud and a fake.
The same is true for those of us who call ourselves Christians. You will perceive that I am a Christian by my actions.
Beloved, people make their evaluations about God and Christ on the basis of our actions. Our lives must be a true reflection of our call in Christ Jesus. They must not be artificial or hypocritical. This is where the rubber meets the road. If we can’t apply in our lives what we know about the truth of Jesus Christ, then we are just a bunch of hypocrites who defame His name.
Jesus has never saved anyone just so that they could have head knowledge of who He is. Jesus saves people so that they can know in their head their heart exactly who He is, which leads to a changed life.
The Apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 2:15, “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.”
Peter is saying that you need to live so that no one can cast any doubt on Christ or Christianity by the kind of life that you’re living.
The Apostle Paul instructed His disciple Titus in Titus 2:7–8, “In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”
In other words, live in such a way that people can’t throw rocks at the way that you live for Christ. Don’t be a stumbling block. The Scriptures are not calling you to be perfect, but they are calling you to live for Christ.