Christian Life And The Modern World
What Is A True Christian
A Christian is a follower of Christ. To lead a true Christian life means to put into practice and apply to one's conduct the teachings of Christ. These teachings comprise truths to be believed a a code of behavior that depends on or flows from those truths. The primary truth taught by Christ was the fatherhood of God. If a man or woman believes that God is a father to all men or women, it follows that all men and women are brothers and sisters and must behave towards each other as brothers and sisters.
It is due to Christian principles that the civilizations of Europe and America has achieved greatness. The laws and institutions of Christianity, to which we are the heirs, were inspired by Christ's teachings. Today, however, the Christian principles upon which our social and family institutions were built are being questioned. The Christian finds him or herself at odds with much that goes on in this changing world, and the Christian way of life encounters great obstacles from those who reject Christ and His moral teachings.
When we speak of Christ's teachings, we mean that He claimed to bring to mankind a revelation of truths largely unknown. Some of these truths, indeed, are so far beyond knowledge that the only way to believe them is by Faith in Christ's authority to teach. So, to believe in Christ Himself precedes belief in His teachings. Christ made an extraordinary claim upon His followers: they must believe that He is the Son of God, and consequently that the truths He taught, even those that cannot be fully understood by human reason, must be accepted as coming from God Himself!
It is not surprising then that many today, while professing admiration for Christ, deny that He is the Son of God and though they may accept some of His teachings because they open a beautiful way of life, refuse to give Him the full allegiance He claims as Son of God. There are many people today who are Christian in name only. To lead a Christian life in the modern world is a challenge which the follower of Christ cannot escape.
NEGLECT OF CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES
Yet if so many ills afflict modern life, it is due directly to the neglect of Christian principles of justice and sincere fellowship among mankind. Christianity is a religion, not a code of laws. Christ gave us the general principles that should guide legislation of human affairs. It was His mission to give the basic ideas that would enable mankind to reach his destiny as a creation of the Father.
For example, we are not perhaps sufficiently aware that the great principles of democracy upon which our nation rests, are fundamentally Christian and were all but unknown to the nations of antiquity. The dignity of mankind is the reason for equality before the law and the freedoms he enjoys -- those of speech, assembly, religion and the pursuit of happiness. But the dignity of man can only be understood by one who sees man as one made in the image of God.
There are doubtless other reasons for respecting the rights of others. There is the GOLDEN RULE, known to ancient philosophers as, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." But when a man comes up against the malice of his fellow man, he cannot find any reasonable action other than to retaliate. Therein lies the reason for social or racial conflicts and wars among nations! Christ taught that the way to deal with enemies was to love them. He preached forgiveness of one's enemies. Of course, Christ did not reject repelling aggression. But in general, He taught that the divine Son-ship shared by all mankind should be the supreme motive for peace. "Do good to those who do you wrong, and you will be called the sons of the Father in Heaven." MATTHEW 5:44 "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God." MATTHEW 5:9
The Christian way of life, as can be seen, is not to be judged purely on the level of human reason. It is based on faith in Christ, in His Word, and upon His authority. The first step to renew modern man in Christian life is then to take up the Gospels and other Christian documents, and to assimilate their contents with a view to applying them to one's behavior. Moreover, prayer to Christ, must accompany the study of His Word, His Life and His teachings.
There are doubtless difficult passages in the Gospels. Some of these will not easily be understood and their applications into today's lifestyles will come with a great deal of effort. Christ spoke of His way of life as a way of the Cross. He demanded self-renunciation, a selflessness that requires heroism. But He assured His followers that His yoke is sweet and His burden is light.
Finally, Christians must understand that the world -- has its good points as well as it bad ones, its high ideals and its evil ones, and as such we must live in this world. Our destiny is wrapped in that of the people who are our neighbors, our friends, our opponents and our enemies. We have to find a way of life along the same pursuits of life as theirs. The truness of God's will for peace is a difficult pursuance for man, but only by following God's laws as closely as possible can God's will be achieved. The desire to achieve is brought about by the sincere attempts to follow and practice as the Bible teaches. To attempt through God's guidance to maintain as closely as possible the Christian way of life is key. God has placed us in this world to bear witness to Him and to Christ and to realize the desire of Christ for "ONE FOLD AND ONE SHEPHERD!. This is the way of God, AMEN!
God Bless and may His Peace be with you always.
Rev. Fr. Bob WIlson