“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:17
The civil rights movement in the US dreamt of a nation where people would be judged not by the colour of their skin “but by the content of their character”.
How we live matters. And it matters to God. It also affects our Christian witness – people will judge us by our character.
At the time there were those in the American South who professed the name of Christ yet who kept silent about its segregation laws. Some were fearful of going against prevailing opinion, others were muddled in their thinking and some thought the issue was a distraction from the Gospel.
Whatever the reason, a failure to speak out damaged Gospel witness.
Jesus taught we mustn’t be ashamed of him or his words (Luke 9:26).
We can do the right thing and get ridiculed, or be punished in our careers. But Jesus sees everything.
In this secular age, Jesus’ teaching about marriage being between a man and a woman has become controversial. It’s a view not tolerated by elites in public life.
The Northern Ireland Equality Commission sought to compel Ashers Baking Co. to produce a cake endorsing same-sex marriage. The McArthur family refused. For four years the Commission pursued them through the courts but the McArthurs didn’t buckle under the huge pressure of media scrutiny.
In the end Daniel and Amy walked out from the Supreme Court having won on every ground. No wonder they were smiling. They weren’t ashamed. They’d done the right thing and been vindicated. Truly amazing.
But in life that may not always happen to the Christian believer. It often doesn’t!
We can do the right thing and get ridiculed, or be punished in our careers. But Jesus sees everything. He’s pleased when we take a stand for him. And in the life to come there will be praise and vindication from King Jesus.
Through her tireless campaigning Josephine Butler raised the age of consent from 12 to 16. She worked not only in the UK, but networked with people in the USA and Europe. As a result many countries raised their age of consent to 16. Well ahead of her time, she also pioneered work to combat human trafficking.
A live Christian profession means a faith which is real and faces up to the problems of life.
While working to influence international policy, away from the public gaze she also showed great compassion for individuals. Seriously ill prostitutes accepted Christ while being nursed in her home. Today she is applauded by Christians and feminists alike, yet she never received any public honours for her work. She had upset too many people.
We need to remember that God is glorified and people come to faith through believers being salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) and by living good lives (1 Peter 2:12). Who knows, it might be our stand that provokes the conscience of someone to seek Christ.
Christians today face challenges to our faith, both old and new. We always need encouragement. That’s what we seek to provide through the work of The Christian Institute.
Our Living Christianity DVD series covers the key biblical principles of being made in the image of God, common grace, being a Christian citizen and giving glory to God in our work. It directly deals with gender, homosexuality and the sanctity of life from conception.
A live Christian profession means a faith which is real and faces up to the problems of life. It’s a faith which is zealous for the truth. It is a faith that acts.
We need to remember that God is glorified and people come to faith through believers being salt and light.
Yes, we are saved by faith alone; but genuine faith is never alone. It is always accompanied by works. It’s about how we relate to people. How we love our neighbours. Family life. How we do our work. Our hobbies and recreations. Our Christian witness in whatever we do, including what we do as Christian citizens. This is living Christianity.
This comment piece features in our Annual Review 2019.