The church of Christ as found in the scriptures was a living body made up of souls who had been converted to Jesus. Those who made up the first century church were redeemed from sin by being washed in the blood of the Lamb. God was real to these early Christians. Jesus Christ was literally their life. Paul wrote, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) These early Christians practiced Christianity. Today the church of Christ is plagued with "unpracticed Christianity."
Unpracticed Christianity displeases the Lord. "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46) When a person "professes" Christianity but does not "practice" Christianity the name of God is blasphemed. "You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." (Romans 2:23-24.
Unpracticed Christianity delivers damnation rather than salvation. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." (Matthew 7:24) If you only hear the word of God, but fail in your practice you cannot expect salvation. (James 1:22-25) A “do-nothing" Christianity is a curse to the church and heartache to God.
Unpracticed Christianity depletes spiritual strength. Spiritual strength comes to those who are hungry for it. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6) Spiritual strength comes to those who practice godliness. "For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come." (1 Timothy 4:8) Spiritual strength is a by-product of the practice of righteousness.
We should all be Christians. To be saved from sin hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (Mark 16:16), repent of sins (Luke 13:5), confess Jesus as Lord (Matthew 10:32), and be baptized into Christ. (Romans 6:3-4) In an immoral world those of us who make up the church of Christ must take a stand for right. This is done through the continual practice of New Testament Christianity in our daily living. Let the world see Christ in the lives of Christians as salt for a tasteless world and light for a world of darkness. (Matthew 5:13-16) It is time for Christians to put on God's armor and stand up and fight. (Ephesians 6:10-18) God will give the victory.
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street,
Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA