It’s not about being a good Christian
by John Fischer
Here’s one of the greatest things about being a Christian: You can accept yourself for who you are.
Here’s one of the most tragic things about being a Christian: You can be one for a long time without knowing this.
I was. I was what you might call a model Christian. I filled the bill. Any church or Christian school would have seen me as a poster child Christian. There was only one problem: I thought I was, too – when all the while I knew I wasn’t. I knew it was all pretty much a game.
All this was back when I thought a Christian was all about being a good person – someone who would rank high in relative goodness when compared to others more spiritually challenged.
This was before I realized that Christ died to save sinners, and to qualify for the free gift of salvation you have to realize you are desperately in need of being saved. You are drowning. You are dying. As a sinner, you are among the worst.
Once you make “being good” the criteria for being a Christian, out of necessity you become the judge of others because you have to judge others in order to remain good in your own eyes. So if you have not come to this, (i.e. you are still pretty good in your own eyes), and you preach the Gospel (many do, from this perspective), it becomes a Gospel for other people – not for you. And something doesn’t ring true.
You also remain aloof to just about everybody because you can’t really know anyone for fear they might come to know you and find out your secret, that you really are a scoundrel like everybody else. It’s a lonely life. Believe me. It’s much better to be a sinner whom Jesus Christ loves and for whom he died so you can spread the Good News about him to other sinners like you. Then you have nothing to hide, and only Christ – and a lot of friends – to gain by telling the truth.
I think this is one of the things that made Billy Graham such a good evangelist. When he preached about the Gospel, he never excluded himself from needing it. He knew the Gospel wouldn’t preach if it were not, first and foremost, for him.
Which brings us back to being a Christian and accepting yourself as who you are. That’s why Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:18 that we all have unveiled faces. We have nothing to hide because we are reflecting the face of Christ whom we worship in continual gratitude for our salvation.
Thank goodness. I never liked being a good Christian anyway.
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)