I was invited to a Christian event recently by someone I had randomly met at a supermarket and decided to go (this was the third event she was inviting me to and I felt a 3rd strike might be a bit unfair). The event was meant to start at 4pm and take about two hours, but it did not start at 4pm and took about 4 hours; not funny.
The topic discussed was ‘Justification!’ a term that seems to have been following me around recently. The preacher took his time to dissect the topic really well and I was pleased by what he had taught, not pleased by the time he took, but pleased overall. He was basically saying that all things are held in Christ (even what we might consider evil) and were made by Christ, backed up with scriptural references of course. All that is now required is an acceptance of the Lordship of Christ, something similar to the case of the thief crucified alongside Jesus that managed to ‘craft’ his way into salvation.
At the end of his teaching there was a question and answer session, and the third question is the prompt for this particular blog. At this point, a man stands up and in the most condemning tone says something like “How can people do all sorts of things and still be in Christ? To be carnally minded is death. So I disagree with what you have said.” Now, at this point I am annoyed at the fact that my hope that the event would be over soon had been shattered by this proposed argument. The preacher seemed shaken by it but his response was very good, but I also observed there was still a sense of doubt in the room. I would have added my opinion to the discussion but I wanted to go home and I imagined everyone else most probably wanted the same.
A lot of people quote scriptures like 1 Corinthians 5:17 which says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” I remember this particular man emphasising on the word ‘If’. Now the thing is a lot of us argue without looking at the big picture, or just argue on the English word used (I find this funny). Note that I am also guilty of this. The irony of using that passage to argue that viewpoint is that the actual chapter focuses on reconciliation through Christ. Paul begins to build an argument that “Christ died for all” from verse 14, and concludes that we have been given the ministry of reconciliation, not condemnation. And like the preacher said, Colossians 1:17 does say that all things exist in Him.
The fact is only God can condemn anyone, no matter what they have done! So why do we (Christians) love to condemn so much?
It’s probably because we fall for that prideful lie that says “ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5) and we try to play the role of God. We also feel that we are more special to God than those other guys, and that he loves us more than he loves those other people. Kinda like the cool kids in school. However it says somewhere “For God so loved the world…” He loves everyone equally.
In my beloved nation of Nigeria a lot of Christians condemn “witches” to their death on the daily lol. I’m touching very controversial issues here but oh well. We celebrate the death of the 75 year old aunty who we were told was the reason for all our failures because she kept eating all the money in the spiritual realm. She might have been truly evil but maybe she was totally innocent and died of old age. Actually, my question to that is if she was a “witch”, (and we believe spirits don’t die) then the spirit she was working with is still alive right? So the spirit could still do damage if it inhabited a different host right? Then the problems might still continue right? And you might have to kill a different witch? That must be a scary thought.
We are stuck in this Old Testament mentality that is not Christianity in its true form. In Exodus 23:7 God clearly states that he does not justify the wicked, however in Romans 4:5 it is also clearly stated that God does justify the wicked. What’s the difference? Jesus Christ! We have a lot of churches today who base their Christianity on Isaiah, Ezekiel, Deuteronomy, especially Isaiah. Meanwhile, there’s been an amendment made. God’s love is no longer just for the special people who are right to destroy anything in their path. Don’t get me wrong, the Bible contains the word of God and its entirety is still relevant and true, but we are to take a leaf out of Jesus’ book.
I think you’ll find Jesus was moved more by compassion than by anything else, even to the ones that nailed Him on the cross. He said to show love to your enemies (enemies must include “witches” lol). The one time He did condemn, it was because they “shut up the kingdom of heaven against men”. Like someone recently told me, you are allowed to condemn anything that will kill Christ in you.
So next time you see that person, try and see the potential instead. Apostle Paul started out by killing Christians. Remember, it’s all about love- loving God and loving others.