In the pursuit of being “real” and “relevant”, American Christianity has forgotten the value of righteousness. What I am seeing and hearing from our pulpits worries me. It is like the preaching and teachings being presented are struggling with the balance between being real, being relevant, and also being righteous. Please know that we cannot exchange carnality for righteousness while trying to maintain a sense of relevance. It is actually scary to watch the carnality that so many are embracing within our evangelical churches. It is as though modern Christians are so afraid of being legalistic that they have embraced a sense of carnality and making the excuse that they are just trying to be “real”. What if I told you that we can have all three of these, and we do not have to be legalistic while embracing these three principles. Here are some of my thoughts regarding this subject:
- We can be “real” without being carnal. Somewhere along the line we think that being “real” means we have to embrace the attitudes and actions of the world. I hear the phrase “I am just keeping it real…”. Well then…keep it real, but keep it right at the same time. We do not have to use foul language to keep it real. We do not have to be immodest in order to keep it real. We do not have to be social drinkers in order to keep it real. We do not have to listen and watch worldly things in order to keep it real. Remember, Christianity was not meant to be blended with carnality. Keep it real…but at the same time do not sacrifice doing it the right way.
- God’s Word will always be relevant. We do not have to twist the Scripture in order to make it relevant. We do not have to manipulate or even modernize it for the sake of being relevant. God’s Word is inspired, and when we read it from the perspective of God speaking to us then it will maintain its relevance. God’s Word presents us with timeless truths. This means the same sermon Jesus preached on Mt. Sinai is the same sermon that relates to us 2000 years later.
- Righteousness is a work of Christ. God imputed righteousness on our behalf the moment we trust Christ as our Savior. Disregarding righteousness means that we are disregarding the work of Christ in our lives. Righteousness is a matter of the heart. We are not righteous because we dress modestly, speak appropriately, or resist carnal lifestyles. We dress modestly, speak appropriately, and resist carnal lifestyles because we are righteous. We are not righteous because of what we have done, we are righteous because of the work of Christ.
It is time that Christians quit trying to be like the world in order to reach the world. We are new creatures. God did not save us from the bondage of sin so that we could go back to it. God does not want us to be conformed to the image of this world…he wants us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. We must quit exchanging carnality for righteousness at the expense of making sure we are “keeping it real”. I am going to “keep it real” with everyone reading this: God calls us to a life of holiness, purity, and piety. Christians must be “Christ-like” not “carnal-like”.