by Richard Mansel
Discerning between a Christian and a faithful Christian may seem an unnecessary distinction. However, careful distinctions are necessary when dealing with imperfect beings. Human complexities negate the neat packaging of lazy minds. The minds of men act in concert only in broader cultural contexts while their personalities and manners are much more intricate. Accordingly, the hasty person who desires easy answers will never grasp the human mind. They will simply project their own prejudices onto the human canvas before them.
The delineation between being a Christian and a faithful Christian will become clear upon further examination.
A Christian is someone who has become a follower of Christ. They have faith in him, repented of their sins, confessed him as Lord, been baptized for the remission of their sins, and are being faithful until death (Hebrews 11:6; Luke 13:3-5; Romans 10:9,10; Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16; Revelation 2:10).
A faithful Christian adds the element of daily discipleship. Jesus said, “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me'” (Mark 8:34). Once we yield completely to Christ, we serve, worship, teach, live, and love to bring glory to the Lord (Ephesians 3:20,21). We commit to him for life and will persevere against all odds. What does this say about the first group? What characterizes them?
The faithful Christian lifts his cross daily and lives obediently while bringing glory to Christ. If we look at the disinterested Christian from this perspective, as opposed to a faithful one, what are these lackadaisical Christians doing? Are they taking up their cross weekly, monthly, yearly? Why do they inconsistently serve him? Each will have their own particular rationalizations.
What is required is a complete commitment within our human capabilities. No one can live faithfully enough to merit salvation. However, we are all to be seeking to live a life that, in all aspects, draws people to Christ (Ephesians 4:1). Disinterested Christians reach the point where they are no longer bearing fruit and will be cut off from the vine (John 15:1-8). Faithfulness indicates allegiance, attitude, and direction in a life filled and flooded with God (Ephesians 3:19). Unfaithfulness leads to apostasy.
Jesus told of men who received invitations to a great supper and all begged off with excuses (Luke 14:16-24). A man sought to follow Jesus and yet wanted to do other things first. Jesus told him to leave everything behind and follow him (Matthew 8:18-22). Some want to follow Jesus on their own time line and in their own way. However, Jesus expects we will die to self and live completely for him (Matthew 11:28-30). We will become tools for his purposes rather than negotiators for our time and talents.
When we face doing something for the Lord or for ourselves, we are judging which activity is more worthwhile. The Lord understands we have families, jobs, errands, a need for rest and relaxation, but we must not place the Lord’s work low on our list of priorities. He will be first or not at all. There will be a high price for spiritual indifference.
by Richard Mansel