When Jesus started his ministry, he had to start from scratch. What was left of Judaism at that time was essentially a lost cause. Recall that his ministry wasn’t a call to build a whole new religion; it was a call to witness the fulfillment of prophecy. It was a call to right all that was wrong with Judaism, to put faith back on the strait and narrow, so that Jesus’ followers could proceed along the right path, not along any number of wrong ones.
Christianity today is much like Judaism was 2000 years ago. It has essentially become a lost cause. Even as people claim to believe, they unapologetically live the life of the world (getting married, having kids, having a career, making investments, owning a home, etc., etc.) and still consider themselves to be “good Christians”. Many don’t even know the Commandments, let alone follow them. Most are easily deceived by their pastors into believing lies. God lets them believe lies because that’s what they want: They’re spiritually fat and lazy; they’ve become blind and deaf and dumb, and even as they claim to love with the love of the Lord, their words ring hollow. I have seen their dead eyes up close. They don’t follow Jesus; they follow tradition, just like the adherents of Judaism 2000 years ago, when Jesus came to tell them that following tradition wasn’t enough.
They rejected him for telling them that, and then they killed him.
There are 2 billion self-professed Christians in the world today. This, despite Jesus teaching us that the Way is narrow and few are on it. You would think that if the Way were narrow and few are on it, there would be far fewer Christians than 2 billion. I mean, if you take Jesus at his word (which we should). I mean, if you believe the Gospel (which I hope you do).
I would wager that nearly all of those 2 billion self-professed Christians believe they have a guaranteed place waiting for them in Heaven, because that’s what they’ve been taught by their pastors. The children of Israel were taught the same thing and believed with the same certainty that they had a place waiting for them. But when Jesus did them the profound courtesy of letting them know they were being misled by their assumption and it would take far more than just their genetics to get them into Heaven, instead of being grateful for the correction, they argued with him. Then they killed him.
I despise what mainstream Christianity has become. It is everything that Jesus hates – presumptuous, vacuous, ritualistic, hypocritical, and tired. I’ve been spending some time in an empty chapel over the past few weeks. It’s empty not because it isn’t stuffed with all manner of dusty iconography and moldering books that lay out in tedious detail how every hour of every day needs to proceed if God is to be worshiped properly, but it’s empty of believers, except for me. I’m the only human in the chapel, no matter what time I go. I’m not complaining about being the only human there (I like the peace and quiet), I’m just pointing out how sad it is that the chapel sits empty most of the time.
Jesus warned us that this day would come, that there would be a falling away. None of this is a surprise to him: Christianity has become what Judaism had become just before it was obliterated. There is no genuine worship left in the modern incarnation of Christianity. There are hollow words mumbled by a misled and distracted people; there is manic feel-goodism propped up by empty gestures of do-goodism and a frantic clutching at signs and symbols, as if wanting to believe something badly enough could somehow overcome a stubborn refusal to repent and believe the Gospel.
That’s all Jesus asks of us, that we repent and LIVE AS IF WE BELIEVE THE GOSPEL. That’s all he’s ever asked of us.
If you believe the Gospel, you live your life as if you do. If you believe the Gospel and live your life as if you do, your life looks nothing like the lives of those who embrace the world. It looks completely different. It looks different the way that the lives of Jesus and the disciples looked completely different from the lives of the people around them.
This is a call for you to take stock of your life. God holds born-again believers to the highest of standards. There is no excuse for you to be living a life that is indistinguishable from those living the life of the world. If you genuinely believe the Gospel, your life reflects that. Your life looks like Jesus’ life or the disciples’ lives or Paul’s life. It doesn’t look like Judas Iscariot’s life or the lives of the people Jesus whipped out of the temple.
It doesn’t look like the lives of the alleged 2 billion Christians.
If you genuinely believe the Gospel, then your entire focus is either on preparing to preach and teach the Word, or actually preaching and teaching it. There is no other option.
You either believe the Gospel and your life reflects that, or you say you believe the Gospel, and your life reflects the world.
I have been born-again for 23 years, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of genuine born-again Christians I’ve met in all that time. Jesus had to start his ministry from scratch because Judaism was full of phonies, just like Christianity today is full of phonies. I will be cheering the ultimate demise of Christianity, just as Jesus cheered the demise of Judaism. There is no place in God’s Kingdom on Earth or in Heaven for people who say they love God and live as if they don’t.
Hypocrites are not welcome here, either.
If you’re not genuinely born-again, this blog is not for you.