Friday, July 15, 2011

The Curious Practice of Christian Transubstantiation

Today in the limited time that I have I want to share some thoughts I have been having lately.  As of 2008, 50.9% of all Americans reported themselves as protestant Christians.  With that many people claiming to be followers of Jesus, why is our nation in the condition that is in?  It is clear that many who call themselves Christian are not Christian at all.  Then again we have so-called Christian churches that support abortion or endorse leaders who work to keep it legal.  We have so-called Christian churches that endorse homosexuality and even perform the abomination known as homosexual marriage.  We have so-called Christians who are just as useless to God as any unsaved person.  Christians, by and large, live just like the rest of the world.  What we have is what I like to call Christian Transubstantiation.  For those who do not know, Transubstantiation is a Catholic belief that the elements of communion (the bread and the wine) literally become the body and blood of Jesus even though they still look and taste like bread and wine.  We can not perceive their change, but Catholics accept that no matter what their senses tell them, they are in fact the actual and literal body and blood of Jesus.  Protestants reject that idea when it comes to Communion, but they seem to have adopted it when it comes to their lives.  They believe that by calling themselves Christian, they are, in fact, Christians.  They believe that even though their lives are no different than before their purported conversion and that their lives are no different than any one else in the world, that they are Christian.  It is wrong when it comes to Communion and it is wrong when it comes to our lives. 
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be [in the likeness] of [His] resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with [Him], that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.  Romans 6:1-6 NKJV
Coming to Jesus means change.  It means we are a new creation in Christ.  It means we no longer live for ourselves.  It means we reject the ways of the world and not embrace them.  Over the past two days when doing my study on speech, I read time and again about putting off the old man and putting on the new man and the contrast between former and current conduct.  There is no way you can read the Bible and think that being a Christian and being worldly are in any way compatible.  The world rejects Christ and the Christian is called to not conform to the world.  There is no way to harmonize the two.  The whole meaning of the word "Christian" is something we have lost.  We use the world Christian to define what something is and not as a description reflecting the character of what something is.   We do not call things Christian as a result of what they actually are but we use it as a claim to what we want others to believe that it is.  To call something Christian, that something must be in the nature and character of Jesus Christ. 

Sadly, that is not the case.  In fact, we often use that word to justify something that is not in the nature and character of Jesus, including our own lives.  How else do you explain how many people call themselves Christian and how many actually live like it?  This comes down to a rejection of the authority of the Word of God.  We know the Word tells us to not get drunk, yet so many of us do regularly.  In fact, for many, Christians become drinking buddies.  I do not believe that is what was meant by iron sharpening iron as I do not think you can grow each other in knowledge of Jesus Christ by competing in sin.  We know the Bible tells us to flee from sexual immorality, yet there are many Christians who believe that as long as they are in "love" then it is just fine to have sex.  I would love to see where that is in the Bible, and I would also like to know how "loving" it is to lead someone into sin.  We know the Bible says to not be unequally yoked with a nonbeliever, yet so many believers date and even marry nonbelievers.  They even have a term for it.  It is called "Missionary Dating."  I would love to see the logic in how you can witness to someone to follow Jesus by living in rebellion to Jesus.  We have rejected the very notion of conforming to nature and character of Jesus Christ and being called a Christian by the virtue of our lives in Christ.  What we have now is flippantly calling ourselves Christian and expecting Him to conform to us.  We want Jesus, but what we really want is a Jesus of our own design who is just fine with our worldly lives. 

And this is the beginning of calling things Christian that are not really Christian at all.  This is where we get music groups that sing about some questionable things and talk about some very questionable doctrines, but they are a "Christian" band so they play at Christian festivals and share those questionable things with our children.  This is why we have "role models" like Miley Cyrus who spent a long time in a lot of questionable behavior before parents starting questioning her influence on the lives of their children because she was a "Christian."  This is where we have Christians playing a game of spiritual Twister to justify the faith of George W Bush despite his many unchristian statements and actions because he was a "Christian" president.  This is where we get two men or two women getting married in a "Christian" wedding or an unbeliever having a "Christian" funeral as though the label defines the action.  It is really the other way around. A Christian musical group is a group that points people to Jesus and worshiping Him.  A Christian role model is someone who's life and beliefs reflect the character and nature of Jesus Christ.  A Christian President would not compromise his faith for his position as president but would allow his faith to define his Presidency.  A Christian wedding would not be used to justify sin but to celebrate and memorialize the union created by God between two believers of the opposite sex and then to live as a model of our relationship to Jesus.  A Christian funeral is not to try to change the reality of someone's eternal destiny but to celebrate the homecoming of a beloved brother or sister in the Lord. 

If something is not in the character and nature of Jesus Christ, it can not rightfully be called Christian. This includes us.  Calling yourself a Christian does not make you one just as calling myself an Italian does not make me one.  If you are not living for Jesus or if you have no desire to then you have to really question whether or not you are really saved.  This whole doctrine of living however we want while calling ourselves a Christian is just as tragic and laughable as the belief that bread and wine that looks and tastes like any other kind of bread and wine is actually literally the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ.  Being saved is not an invisible thing, it is visible.  We are called the light and salt of earth.  We are told to let our light shine before men.  We are told to put on the new man.  We are told to walk as children of the light.  This is not something we just accept by faith and go on with our worldly lives, this is something we live and experience as we live our new lives in Christ.  If you call yourself a Christian, you have to actually be one.  When we stand before Jesus, He will have no interest in our label, but He will have great interest in our hearts.  That is what it will all come down to on that day. If that day were today, what would that mean for you?  Would Jesus Christ call you a Christian?
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.  Galatians 6:7-8 NKJV

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