Why Are You a
Who is a Christian?
The vast majority of people in North America
identify themselves as Christians. Do you? Perhaps you are not
sure. Perhaps you are very sure and wonder about others who do.
For example, even the majority of criminals in the U.S. prison
system identify themselves as "Christians."
Just how far back in time can
"Christians" be identified? The name
"Christian" was coined in the First Century A.D.-about
five years after Pentecost. "And the disciples were called
Christians first at Antioch." In the "church at
Antioch" these Christians were also called
"disciples." Acts 11:26; 13:1, "Church" means
"called out ones" while "disciple" means
"learner or pupil" and/or "adherent and follower of
a teacher." Therefore, "Christians" are defined as
ones "called out" from the world to be followers and
pupils of Jesus Christ.
Can 200 million people in North America all be
true Christians? Jesus said, "I have chosen you out of the
world, therefore the world hateth you" (John 15:19). He
identified the quantity of his followers as a "little
flock" (Luke 12:32). Jesus placed very restrictive terms for
What Do Christians Do?
Jesus' disciples would know and obey the truth.
John 8:31,32, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my
disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall
make you free." Jesus' disciples would continue in his word,
that is, daily study the Bible. They would receive a knowledge of
his truth that would so enthrall them that they would forsake all
that they have (Luke 14:33) in materialism and goods to be his
disciples. In Mark 8:35 Jesus said, "For whosoever will save
his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my
sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it." This means
consecrating our all to the Lord and using it in his service as he
directs. Further stringent conditions of discipleship are found in
Luke 14:26: unless a man "hate" (love less) his father,
mother, wife, children, brethren, even his own life, "he
cannot be my disciple." Again in Luke 9:23: "If any will
come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,
and follow me."
Jesus' terms of discipleship for being a
Christian, indeed, are demanding. Is it any wonder he predicted
that only a "little flock" would qualify? Oh yes, many
would call themselves Christians as Jesus predicted in Matthew
7:22,23: "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have
we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name. . .done many
wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew
you. . ." (as Christians). Yes, the terms of discipleship are
demanding. The faithful Christian does not actively seek financial
and health blessings. But the compensating spiritual blessings are
a hundredfold in this life and then life eternal (Mark 10:30).
In western civilization "Christian"
denotes a culture to which the majority belong. In Scripture,
"Christian" denotes a lifestyle characteristic of an
extreme minority. Certainly 200 million people have not left all
to follow Christ. But have you left all to follow Christ?
Why Some Become Christians
Some become Christians for fear of eternal
judgment. After all, "The wages of sin is death but the gift
of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
(Romans 6:23) But God saves us and forgives our sins "for His
name's sake." (Psalm 25:11) Similarly, Paul observes in
Ephesians 1:7,12 that "we have redemption through his blood.
. .that we should be to the praise of His [God's] glory."
Then there are those who become Christians in
order to gain health and prosperity, believing that faith in a
"secret kingdom" and its power will grant their desires.
How sad! The height of Christian concern should not be "what
can God do for me" but rather "what can I do to glorify
God." Remember the words of Psalm 31:3, "For thy name's
sake lead me and guide me."
Self-Centered vs. Christ-Centered Christians
Evidently the church at Corinth included many
self-centered Christians. Paul had to chide them in 1 Corinthians
"You are already filled, you have
already become rich, you have become kings without us; and I
would, indeed that you had become kings so that we also might
reign with you. . . We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are
prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are
distinguished, but we are without honor. To this present hour we
are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are
roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our
own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are
persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to
conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs
of all things, even until now. I do not write these things to
shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children."
(New American Standard Translation - NAS)
Then Paul admonished these self-centered
Christians to be Christ-centered. "I exhort you therefore, be
imitators of me just as I also am of Christ." (1 Corinthians
4:16;11:1, NAS) Paul's economic poverty and persecution in the
Lord's service were merely results from following the example set
by Christ. Did Christ experience poverty in the Father's service?
"Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that
ye through his poverty might be rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9)
But, exponents of the idea, "God wants
Christians to be wealthy," are quick to reply that Jesus
experienced "relative poverty." Jesus was prosperous,
they say. Only by comparison with his previous heavenly glory, he
was poor. However, Jesus spelled out his poverty on earth in Luke
9:58. "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but
the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." This
statement of Jesus' poverty is all the more meaningful because it
was his reply to a person in the preceding verse who said,
"Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest."
Following Jesus does not mean automatically living in poverty, but
it does require sacrificing economic interests for his cause, yes,
committing all wealth to him. Have you committed all your means to
For those who would use Christianity for
financial gain, the Devil, who is the "god of this
world" (2 Corinthians 4:4), is anxious and able to give them
"the world on a silver platter" as long as they are
willing to live a self-centered lifestyle instead of a
Christ-centered lifestyle. Matthew 4:8-11
Actually Jesus' ministry was a life of
sacrificing all personal and earthly interests in doing the
Heavenly Father's will, as he "poured out his soul unto
death." (Hebrews 10:9; Isaiah 53:12) The Scriptures use
several symbols to illustrate this life of sacrifice. For example,
there is the sacrificial death of an animal in the tabernacle.
Also Jesus' water baptism (immersion) pictured his complete
submersion into his Father's will. Three years after his water
baptism Jesus said, "I have a baptism to be baptized with and
how am I straitened [stressed] till it be accomplished."
(Luke 12:50) Yes, Jesus' complete submersion into his Father's
will meant sacrificing self in the interest of others (Acts
20:35), suffering for truth and righteousness (Psalm 69:7-9) and
enduring the cross (Hebrews 12:2,3).
When James and John asked if they could sit on
his right hand and left hand in his glory, Jesus replied,
"Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of and be baptized with
the baptism I am baptized with?" (Mark 10:35-39) Like James
and John we must drink of Jesus' cup of suffering and share his
baptism of sacrificial death. Thus the Apostle Paul said, "If
we be dead with him, we shall also live with him. If we suffer, we
shall also reign with him" (2 Timothy 2:11,12). Becoming a
Christian does not mean preserving and prospering self, but
yielding self even to the point of suffering with Christ.
The Reason We Are Christians
In Romans 6:3, Paul speaking of our real
baptism said, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were
baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?"
Yes, we must follow Jesus' lifestyle of sacrificially dying to
self interest. This will mean sacrificing worldly pleasures and
interests that are not even sinful while serving the cause of the
Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:29 speaks of
Christians being "baptized for the dead." From God's
standpoint the whole human race, except Christians, are "dead
in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). That's why Jesus
said, "Let the dead bury their dead" (Matthew 8:22). Why
are you a Christian? Sharing in Christ's sacrificial death will
benefit the whole human race. If you suffer and die with Jesus
(being baptized for the dead) you will live and reign (2 Timothy
2:11,12) with him as king and priest a thousand years (Revelation
20:6) for the benefit of the dead (and dying) world of humankind.
In summary, thus far, the Scriptures reveal
True Christians will be numerically few, a
The terms of discipleship are stringent.
Christians reign with Christ in his 1,000-year
Kingdom on earth for the benefit of the dead world of mankind.
Is God Trying to
Convert the World Now?
Jesus promised, "This
gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a
witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come."
(Matthew 24:14) Does this promise mean that now is the only time
of salvation for all people? The common words ALL and EVERY are
two of the most important words in the Bible. In Luke 2:10 the
angel who announced the birth of Jesus said, "Behold I bring
you good tidings of great joy which shall be to ALL people."
Verses 30 and 31 speak of salvation for "ALL people." 1
Timothy 4:10 speaks of God as "the Saviour of ALL men."
The simple logic of Jesus dying
for ALL is found in 1 Corinthians 15:22: "As in Adam ALL die
even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive." Similarly, Romans
5:18 shows that "by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came
upon ALL men to condemnation: even so by the righteousness of one
[Christ] the free gift came upon ALL men." Father Adam sinned
with the unborn race yet in his loins. Therefore, ALL were born in
sin and shapen in iniquity (Psalm 51:5) and thus worthy of death.
God knew that Adam, due to a lack of experience would disobey.
Thus 1 Peter 1:19,20, speaks of the blood of Christ as being
foreordained for our redemption even before Adam was created.
Since ALL were lost in Adam, it was necessary that Jesus "by
the grace of God should taste death for EVERY man" (Hebrews
John 1:7 speaks of Jesus as
"the Light, that ALL men through him might believe."
Verse 9 says he is "the True Light, which lighteth EVERY man
that cometh into the world." How can this be? Countless
millions died before the time of Jesus. They never saw the True
Light! They never heard the name of Jesus. And since the death of
Jesus, millions died never hearing of the only "name under
heaven given among men whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
If you are a Bible-believing Christian, you know that no one is
saved through ignorance but only by believing in Jesus as his or
her saviour. This is a seeming contradiction. The answer is found
in 1 Timothy 2:5,6, ". . .Christ Jesus; who gave himself a
ransom for ALL, to be testified in due time"-a plain
statement that Jesus died for "ALL." If Jesus died for
"ALL," why is it that ALL do not have the opportunity to
hear this good news? The key of harmony is found in the phrase
"due time." The Greek word translated "time"
is plural; i.e., times (Thayer's Lexicon of the New Testament).
The knowledge that Jesus is a ransom for ALL will be testified
"in due times." The due time for those God is calling to
be of the Church is during the Christian Age. The due time for ALL
other people to understand is during the 1,000-year reign of
Now is not the time for ALL to
hear the name of Jesus. God is not trying to convert the world
between the first and second advents. If He was, then He has
obviously failed. For after nearly 2,000 years, less than one
third of the world's population even claims to be Christian. The
fact is Jesus predicted only that the gospel would be a witness to
the world, not that all would be converted before the end of the
Mark 4:11,12, specifically
states that God is not trying to convert the world now. Jesus said
to his disciples, "Unto you it is given to know the mystery
of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without all these
things are done in parables. That seeing they may see, and not
perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at
any time they should be converted, and their sins should be
forgiven them." Ponder well this scripture.
If Jesus died for ALL, why has
God arranged that many would not be able to understand the Bible
and, therefore, not be converted and have their sins forgiven? The
Bible is not written like a textbook system of logic. God
purposely had the Bible written in parables and symbols, so that
many would not be converted and have their sins forgiven. This is
why there are over 250 Christian denominations with so many
different interpretations of the Bible. God has not attempted to
convert the world, but is only calling a "little flock"
at this time. If man's eternal destiny was dependent upon
understanding the Bible now, our God of love (1 John 4:8) would
have surely made the Bible plain and simple for all to understand.
Acts 15:14-17 reveals that
"God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them
a people for His name [not to convert all]. And to this agree the
words of the prophets; as it is written, after this I will return
[Second Advent] and build again the tabernacle of David [set up
the kingdom of God]. . .that the residue [REMAINDER] of men might
seek after the Lord and ALL the Gentiles. . . ." God's work
since the death of Jesus has not been to convert all humankind,
but merely to take out or to call out a "people for his
name." In the Kingdom, all the REMAINDER of men, who are not
of these called out ones, will have their opportunity to seek the
The Christian Calling
The New Testament continually calls
Christians-the "church." Remember the Greek word
translated "church" means "called out ones."
In other words, a minority is called out from the majority of the
human race. Consequently, many scriptures use the words
"elect," "elected," "election," and
"elect's" (sometimes translated "chosen") to
denote God's dealing with Christians. Matthew 24:31; Romans 8:33;
Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:10 and 2 Timothy 2:10 are
a few examples of this usage. This word describes the special
selection of a smaller class ("little flock") from the
human race before all of humanity has its opportunity for
salvation in the Kingdom.
What is this special calling or selection of
the church? Christians are called to the multiple profession of
judges, priests and kings of mankind in Christ's Kingdom. What an
honor! At first our faith staggers. But the Scriptures are
explicit on this point. 1 Corinthians 6:2 states that "the
saints shall judge the world." 1 Peter 2:9 shows Christians
are called to be a "royal [kingly] priesthood."
Similarly, Revelation 1:6 and 5:10 states we are called of God to
be "kings and priests" and "we shall reign on the
earth." Revelation 20:6 states that Christians "shall be
priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand
Judges, priests, kings! What a profession
Christians have been called to! But what a rigorous training
course the Christian must pursue to attain this profession. Do you
as a Christian see God working in your life-preparing you for this
Christians will share with Christ in judging
the world (1 Corinthians 6:2; John 5:22). John 5:28, 29 states
that "ALL that are in the graves. . .shall come forth, they
[Christians] that have done good, unto the resurrection of life
[live and reign with Christ, Revelation 20:4]; and they that have
done evil [the remainder of men] to a resurrection by krisis
[Greek]." Many translations say, "resurrection of
judgment," but the Greek is literally "resurrection of
krisis." A doctor will speak of a patient reaching his
crisis. He doesn't mean the patient will die. Rather, the crisis
time is when the patient will take a turn for the better or the
worse. The "krisis" or probation time for the remainder
of men will be in Christ's Kingdom. Therefore, their trial will
not be based on the works of this life but their works during the
Kingdom. Thus, the risen Lord says in Revelation 22:12,
"Behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to
every man according as his work SHALL BE." Christians will
share with Christ in judging people according to their works in
the Kingdom, their probation time.
The word "krisis" has been
incorporated into many different languages. The Chinese write in
symbols. And they use two symbols to denote "krisis."
One symbol denotes danger, the other conveys opportunity.
Humanity's trial or "krisis" in the Kingdom will offer
the opportunity to attain eternal life. But it will also be a time
of danger. Those who fail to meet God's conditions for attaining
eternal life will be condemned to Second Death (Revelation
Priests and Kings
Christians will not only be judges, but also
merciful and sympathetic priests who will bless each member of the
world with every possible help and opportunity to attain eternal
life. Thus, the Scriptures show that Jesus and his church (1 Peter
2:9; Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6) will not only be rulers over the
remainder of men but also priests, blessers.
Hebrews 9:23 reveals that Israel's tabernacle
was a picture of better things to come. After Israel's high priest
provided sacrifices for reconciliation on the Day of Atonement,
the priests during the remainder of the year instructed, judged
and blessed the people. Hebrews 5:1,2, states that Israel's
priests could have "compassion on the ignorant, and on them
that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed
with infirmity." Jesus was perfect, but he is able to
sympathize with our infirmities as our High Priest because he was
tempted in all points like us yet without sin (Hebrews 2:17,18;
Being Made Christ-like
Unlike Jesus we have physical infirmities and
moral weakness. Additionally, every hardship and tragedy that
happens to the human race also happens to Christians (1
Corinthians 10:13). The word "temptation" would better
be rendered trial, actually a test permitted of God to instruct
us. But "God is faithful, Who will not suffer [permit] you to
be tried above that ye are able." If we are "babes in
Christ," God might remove the trial or hardship. But there is
"a way of escape" that our "faithful God"
would prefer to provide during our hardships and tragedies-that
His Holy Spirit would develop in us the spiritual maturity
"that ye may be able to bear [endure] it." But why
should we endure tragedies instead of having God remove them?
Remember God is training us to be sympathetic priests. Thus Peter
says in 1 Peter 1:7, "That the trial of your faith, being
much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried
with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the
appearing of Jesus Christ." Christians who are rightly
exercised by their difficulties are changed from glory to glory
into the character likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians
3:18). Their exercising the spirit of Christ while struggling with
their infirmities and hardships develops in them love, sympathy
and understanding for their fellowman.
Just as the firstborn of the nation of Israel
was representative of each family in Israel so the "church of
the firstborn" (Hebrews 12:23) will have experienced all the
problems, hardships, tragedies mankind has endured. This
preparation will qualify them to be merciful and sympathetic
priests, judges and rulers of mankind in the Kingdom. Are your
difficult experiences making you sympathetic and merciful to
There is much more to the Christian life than
accepting Jesus. Peter observed in 2 Peter 1:5-11, "And
besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and
to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to
temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness
brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness love. . .for if you
do these things, ye shall never fall. For so an entrance shall be
ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Only if we develop these
character qualities will we qualify to reign with Christ as kings
and priests in his Kingdom (Revelation 20:6).
With a hope like this we can only conclude as
Jesus did, that no suffering or tragedy is too great. Hebrews
12:2-4, ". . .who for the joy that was set before him,
endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the
right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured
such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied
and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood,
striving against sin."
With a hope like this let us follow in his
footsteps and "consider it all joy, my brethren, when you
encounter various trials" (James 1:2, NAS).
It has already been noted in 1 Timothy 4:10
that God provided salvation for ALL men. Similarly, 1 Timothy
2:3,4 states that God "will have ALL men to be saved and to
come unto the knowledge [Greek, accurate knowledge] of the
truth." This is a salvation that comes before knowledge.
Jesus' ransom for ALL (verse 6) guarantees that ALL who died in
Adam will be saved from Adamic death. That is ALL, not called to
be of the church, will be awakened from the sleep of death and
given an accurate knowledge of the truth. This is the
"evil" class of John 5:28,29, which comes forth from the
grave to a "resurrection of krisis" or trial.
In the Kingdom, Jesus and his church will
embark upon the greatest educational program in history. Isaiah
11:9 states, ". . .for the earth shall be full of the
knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Also
Jeremiah 31:34 says, ". . .for they shall ALL know me from
the least of them unto the greatest." Verses 29 and 30 show
that for the majority, the Kingdom will provide the first full,
fair opportunity for salvation. "In those days they shall say
no more, the fathers have eaten a sour grape and the children's
teeth are set on edge. But everyone shall die for his own
iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be
set on edge."
Why the Church is Called First
Why is the true church first selected to share
with Christ in the Kingdom work of blessing mankind? One reason
can be illustrated by the noble work of Alcoholics Anonymous. An
essential step of A.A. therapy is to assign a former alcoholic to
each alcoholic that comes for help. The victim being driven by
alcohol will not readily accept help or advice from just anyone.
How could anyone know his agony, his depression, his desperation
if he has not shared the same experience? But the alcoholic will
accept help from a former alcoholic because he knows that this
person can understand his agony. And this former alcoholic stands
ready at any time to come to his side to plead with him, encourage
him and make good suggestions for overcoming. It requires a former
alcoholic to rehabilitate an alcoholic.
When people come forth from the grave in
Christ's Kingdom, they will be informed that they have been
purchased with the precious blood of Christ and they will be made
aware of the fact that they are now under the reign of Jesus
Christ and his church (1 Corinthians 6:2). What confidence they
will have that the church will know just how to enter into their
problems! Why? Because the members of the church also were once
sinners. Further, humanity will realize that the church
representatively experienced all the problems, hardships, and
emotional and mental tragedies endured by humanity. Because
"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten
son" for them (John 3:16), the church will cherish each
individual of the human race. The personal experiences of true
Christians in overcoming sin and struggling with their own
emotional and psychological problems (2 Corinthians 10:4,5;
Hebrews 12:3,4) will give them an "understanding heart"
so that they will know when to show compassion on ignorance and
when to administer discipline where willfulness is involved
(Hebrews 5:2; Luke 12:48). This plan of rehabilitation will work.
The majority of humanity will gladly receive the instruction, the
disciplining and the nurturing necessary to pass their trial for
This plan is the great "restitution"
(restoration) project foretold by all the Old Testament prophets
(Acts 3:20,21). Does the prospect of participating in this Kingdom
work of blessing mankind inspire you to be a faithful Christian?
A Long Process
The restoration of the willing of the remainder
of men (Acts 15:17; Revelation 22:17) to mental, moral and
physical perfection of human life that was lost in Eden will not
be complete until the end of the 1,000-year Kingdom of Christ.
Revelation 20:5 states, "The rest of the
dead lived not again until the 1,000 years were finished."
Some ancient manuscripts do not contain these words. If these
words are authentic, they cannot refer to the awakening of the
dead because Revelation 11:15-18 reveals that the sounding of the
seventh trumpet, which denotes the time during Christ's Second
Advent, is also the time that the dead should be judged. Daniel
12:2 as John 5:28,29 speaks of two classes, good and evil, that
are raised from the dead. Verse 1 of Daniel 12 establishes the
time of the rising of these two classes from the dead as in close
proximity to the great tribulation. This tribulation is at the
beginning of the 1,000 years and not when the 1,000 years are
over. Daniel 12:2 speaks of the evil class experiencing
"age-lasting" (Hebrew) shame.
If the phrase in Revelation 20:5, "The
rest of the dead [the remainder of men of Acts 15:17] lived not
again until the 1,000 years were finished," is authentic-the
explanation is evident. All not mentally, morally and physically
perfect are dead in God's sight. Thus Jesus said, ". . .let
the dead bury their dead" (Matthew 8:22). The balance of the
1,000 years will be required to bring all the willing up the
"highway" of holiness (Isaiah 35:8) to perfect human
life. In this sense, mankind will not be truly alive until the end
of the thousand years.
The Blessings of the Kingdom
Isaiah 35 portrays some of the wondrous Kingdom
blessings. ". . .the desert shall rejoice and blossom as a
rose" (verse 1). The blind shall see, the deaf shall hear,
the lame shall walk, the dumb sing (verses 5 and 6). Verses 8 and
9, speaking of the Highway of Holiness, state that it will be for
the "unclean," but the unclean shall not pass over it.
This interesting phrase can be compared to an automatic car wash.
It is for dirty cars, but dirty cars don't pass over it, because
they are clean by the time they reach the end of the car wash.
Similarly, the Highway of Holiness is for the morally unclean. But
through the instruction and nurture of Christ and his church, they
will step by step be made morally clean. Verse 9 shows no lion
shall be there. Peter identified Satan as symbolized by the
"lion" (1 Peter 5:8) and Revelation 20:1-3 reveals Satan
will be bound (unable to tempt or hinder mankind) during the
1,000-year Kingdom. "But the redeemed shall walk there."
Verse 10 concludes, "And the ransomed [Jesus died a ransom
for ALL. 1 Timothy 2:6] of the Lord shall return and come to Zion
[the Kingdom] with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads.
They shall obtain joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing shall
flee away." The climax of the Kingdom work is described in
Revelation 21:4, "And God shall wipe away all tears from
their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor
crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former
things are passed away."
Jesus and his church will be the vessels God
will use in the Kingdom to pour these glorious blessings on the
remainder of men. And if you fulfill the terms of discipleship,
you will be one of these instruments of blessing!
You See Your Calling,
"For you see your calling,
brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many
mighty, not many noble, are called. But God hath chosen the
foolish things of the world to confound the wise; . . .and the
base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God
chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things
that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence." 1
For the most part, God is
bypassing the world's standards of greatness and calling the
ordinary of the human race to compose the "little
flock." How will this "bring to naught things that
are"? Down through history, man's wisdom has tried every
conceivable philosophy and political and/or economic ideology, but
man has failed to solve humanity's problems. Each page of history
is a record of man's inhumanity to man. The flaw is not so much
the ideology, but man's selfish heart. History confirms the
Biblical teaching that man is born in sin and "shapen in
iniquity" (Psalm 51:5). The twentieth century started with
great expectations. Through science and technology, utopia would
be attained! Alas, this century is closing in disillusionment.
Communism has failed.
Capitalism is on the verge of
bankruptcy. Unprecedented crime, vice, drugs and immorality are
the symptoms of a civilization self destructing. In the meantime,
the earth is becoming a wasteland of pollution. With over five
billion people thinking of self first, could it be otherwise?
Thus the Lord has "brought
to nought things that are." Human history has proven the
futility of man's efforts. "No flesh can glory in his [God's]
presence." No president, prime minister or statesman-or
anyone-can boast that he has the solution for all man's individual
or collective ills.
But there are a few who have
learned early not to trust in the arm of flesh for solutions.
Through faith in God's word they realize that only God's Kingdom
will completely solve man's ills. They have accepted Jesus as
their saviour and made a full consecration to do God's will. Their
calling is to be judges, priests and kings with Christ in God's
Kingdom. These Christians are not relieved of their share of the
tragedies common to man (1 Corinthians 10:13). Although many of
mankind become bitter or hardened by the tragedies of this life,
consecrated Christians have the peace of God which passeth all
understanding (Philippians 4:7). Their faith realizes that tragedy
provides the Lord an opportunity to develop in them a tender and
The loss of a loved one-husband,
wife, parent, child-can mentally scar. Physical tragedy such as
being crippled, blind or deaf can leave one a forgotten member of
the human family. Drug addicts, alcoholics, the mentally ill have
found that few can understand. Then there are the scars of mental
or physical abuse by a stranger or even a loved one. To those in
economic poverty, nothing could be worse. Then there is
loneliness. Some have experienced a darkness of loneliness that no
human hand could reach. To consecrated Christians these various
experiences provide a unique opportunity to patiently endure,
while the Spirit of God transforms them day by day into the
likeness of Christ (1 Peter 1:7; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Foremost is the struggle of
subduing sinful flesh and its interests. These are the "fightings
within" (2 Corinthians 7:5; 10:4-6; Hebrews 12:4). The
Christian's struggle against his own fallen flesh gives him
compassion and understanding concerning the sin ingrained in the
hearts of men. A priest is one "Who can have compassion on
the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he
himself also is compassed with infirmity." Hebrews 5:2
Finally the church will be
united with Christ during his return and share the glory of his
Kingdom. Like him (1 John 3:2) they shall be compassionate
priests, understanding judges, and benevolent kings (Revelation
20:6; 1 Corinthians 6:2). As a composite they will fully
understand the sin sick, mentally warped, emotionally scarred,
physically marred world of mankind.
Why are you a Christian? If you
yearn to glorify God-serving Him by blessing all-God will
certainly grant you this deepest prayerful desire.