My former pastor used to tell us that when people would tell him that it doesn’t take all that, his response would be: “It takes all that and more.” I believe he was saying that being a Christian takes a life of obedience to Christ, not just in words, but in deed.
The video clip above of Dr. J. I. Packer, prominent theologian and author, proclaims that the church is in trouble because we are not taking God seriously. I agree with Dr. Packer that many people profess to be Christians, profess they love Jesus, but their lives do not resemble lives of devotion to Jesus and his teachings. This clip is an introduction to his book, Taking God Seriously: Vital Things We Need to Know.
My question is to all of us who profess to be Christians, Are You A Radical Christian? Let’s define radical using Merriam-Webster’s simple definition.
- Very new and different from what is traditional or ordinary
- Very basic and important
- Having extreme political or social views that are not shared by most people
For purposes of this discussion, I think the definitions provided above, highlighted in bold, fit what I am describing as radical-
Different from what is ordinary, which adopts the it doesn’t take all that mentality to it takes all that and more.
Returning to what the Bible actually teaches as the very basic and important, and advocating views not shared by most.
John Stott describes what it looks like in his book, Radical Disciple, “At the root, it means we let Jesus set the agenda for our lives. We aren’t selective. We don’t pick and choose what is congenial and stay away from what is costly. No. He is Lord of all of life.”
When the Apostle Paul speaks to the Corinthians he lets them know that the Bible, the gospel, impacts their whole life. It teaches Christians how to live, how to think, how to order their lives by the gospel because of Christ.
In I Corinthians 6:19 he explains why, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” KJV
He warns them later that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Who are the unrighteous? The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, those who practice homosexuality, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 1-6)
Being a radical Christian or disciple of Christ means we follow his teachings. Jesus tells us in Matthew 16:24 “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. He also says “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15
Jesus further tells us in Matthew 7:21 – “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
The term radical Christian, then is so used not because this is something new, but because we have departed from what the Word of God says, and yet consider ourselves Christian. So this term emphasizes the need to return to what the scriptures describe as followers of Christ, disciples or true believers, because it appears we have lost our way.
God is to be taken seriously. He has laid out his plan for salvation through his Son, and calls all men everywhere to repent and believe in his Son, Jesus Christ.
In one of my earlier blog posts, Love is Going to Cost You, I share that love is more than just words, that it comes with expectations. For a radical Christian, it comes with a life of complete devotion to Christ and obedience to his teachings.
Are you a radical Christian? Because the culture we live in seeks to squeeze us into its mold so that we look like them, think like them, believe like them and before we know it, we are them. Remember, God called us not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. We renew our minds by saturating ourselves in his Word. My pastor says that there are only two kinds of people, Christians or non-Christians in his sermon, The Cost of True Discipleship. So which one are you?