Archive for December, 2015

Jesus&ChinoWe’re not talkin’ ’bout pants here . . .

CHINOCHristian In Name Only — someone who calls themself a Christian but whose daily guiding beliefs and behavior are set against God and God’s purposes as seen in the life, teaching, and commandments of Jesus Christ.

While Christianity is not a faith measured strictly by performance of good works and holiness, it is far more than lip-service given to the idea of Jesus Christ as God’s Son, and our Lord and Savior. Talk is cheap and God wants more than talk from us. Remember, the first thing Jesus does when he begins his ministry is to proclaim, “Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!” (Mark1.14-15, see also Matthew 4.17) In Luke’s Gospel, his opening proclamation is a quote from Isaiah—“He has sent me to preach good news to the poor. . .” In other words, Jesus does not begin with “believe in me and be saved” but with “be transformed and do good.”

Note also that eschatological judgment does not consist of a filtering the saved from the damned by virtue of their claims of belief, but, as recorded in Matthew 25.31-46, whether we have attended to the needs of “the least of these,”: the hungry, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned (as a representative list).

And if we want to distill this down to a few guiding principles, Jesus offers those as well, in fact, he offers three.

(1)  The Great Commandment – “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all  your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt 22.37-39) In other words, Love God and Love Others, period!

(2) The New Love Commandment – “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” (John 13:34-35)

(3) The Great Commission – “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you.” (Matt 28.19-20)

Sure, belief in Jesus and who he says he is, is a necessity, but without attending to those things that Jesus wants from us (nos. 1-3 above), that belief is so shallow it may likely be aspirational rather than real. Put another way, one may claim to be a Christian but ignoring Jesus’ commands makes one CHINO.

Now… before anyone throws a fit about how we are not saved by works but saved by faith, consider this question: If the faith you claim has no outward expression that reflects the ministry, teaching, and commandments of Jesus Christ, then is your faith anything more than words?

Coming next—Is America a CHINO nation?

Regardless of the politics, an observation —