Valid Christianity

by Bob Dasal

Bob DasalThe world teems with religion, as billions of people profess some type of religious belief. Is the world's religiosity good or bad? Some say good and point out positive influences religion has had. Others point out that history's most horrible atrocities were done in the name of religion.

A quick study in history illustrates the powerful impact religion has on the way people live. Make a list of all religions and you'll find countless varieties practiced around the world. Can they all be right? Should we believe that the cliche, "it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you're sincere" is right? A lot of people, and even some that claim to be Christian, will answer in the affirmative. For those seeking "Valid Christianity" the answer is NO!

In John 8:32 Jesus said, "You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free." The greatest need today is the proclamation of Absolute Truth. Jesus said in John 14:6 "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by Me." "Valid Christianity" is found only in the reality of John 14:6.

 How do you measure "Valid Christianity"? What's the standard for truth in our age of "Situational Christianity?" It has become the norm to base one's beliefs on experience or feelings. A belief of this kind is as dangerous as quicksand. "The Lord told me" is so easily said today. Don't get me wrong; I believe the Lord can and does speak today, but to be assured it's from Him we must have a standard.

The absolute standard of Truth is Christ. God's Spirit affirms the authenticity of Christ as "the Truth" in the Bible as revealed to the heart. The finished work of redemption by God's Son, as recorded in God's Word and made real and personal to us by God's Spirit, is the marker for all else.

The Apostle Paul learned from Epaphras that the Christians in Colossae were hearing the ideas and experiences of the people around them and were wondering if they were missing something. So he wrote to the Colossians: We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints-the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth" (1:3-5).

 Paul uses a familiar "shorthand" to describe valid Christianity. He said an authentic Christian is characterized by a faith in Christ and a love for others that is anchored in the hope of eternal life. A lot of people say they have faith and that it's very important in their lives. We live in a day when faith is quite in style. However, we must avoid the presumption that everyone uses the phrase the same way. To know our Christianity is valid, these three questions need to be answered:

What is the object of faith?Faith in and of itself has no intrinsic value and has no power. What's important is the object of your faith. Many claim faith, but the object of their faith is man's goodness, or an emotional experience, or some sort of theology, or humanistic philosophies, or human goodness, or organized religion, or a human spiritual leader. It must be clearly understood the genuine believer's faith is in Christ.

 What does it mean to have faith?When the Bible talks about faith in Christ, it means to believe Him, depend on Him, and follow Him. It means to believe what He says about God, about salvation, and about us.

 Where does this faith come from? Notice something interesting from the verse in Colossians-this faith is not the meansto salvation; it is the resultof our salvation. Paul tells us that this faith "springs from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven." Faith doesn't produce the hopeit comes from the hope.

A final thought from Christ in Flanders by Mrs. C. T. Whitemell: "In darkness there is no choice. It is light that enables us to see the differences between things; and it is Christ who gives us light." Valid Christianity exists only in Him who is the Light of the World.

Bob Dasal is editor-in-chief of Pulpit Helps.

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