Almost from the beginning there were forces at work within Christianity that could have destroyed or sidetracked the movement. Of these, three created many problems then and have continued to reappear in other forms even today.
These three Distortions Of Christianity are contrasted in this post to True Christianity.
DISTORTION # 1: JUDAIZED CHRISTIANITY
1. Their Definition Of Christianity: Christians are Jews who have recognized Jesus as the promised Savior. Therefore, any Gentile desiring to become a Christian must first become a Jew.
2. Their Genuine Concern: Having a high regard for the Scriptures and God’s choice of Jews as His people, they did not want to see God’ s commands overlooked or broken.
3. The Danger: Tends to add human traditions and standards to God’s law. Also subtracts from the Scriptures God’s clear concern for all nations.
4. Application Question: Do you appreciate God’s choice of a unique people through whom He offered forgiveness and eternal life to all peoples?
DISTORTION # 2: LEGALIZED CHRISTIANITY
1. Their Definition Of Christianity: Christians are those who live by a long list of “Don’ts”. God’s favor is earned by good works and good behavior.
2. Their Genuine Concern: Recognized that real change brought about by God should lead to changes in behavior.
3. The Danger: Tends to make God’s love something to earn rather than to accept freely. Would reduce Christianity to a set of impossible rules and transform the Good News into bad news.
4. Application Question: As important as change in action is, can you see that God may be desiring different changes in you than in others?
DISTORTION # 3: LAWLESS CHRISTIANITY
1. Their Definition Of Christianity: Christians live above the law. They need no guidelines. God’s Word is not as important as our personal sense of God’s guidance.
2. Their Genuine Concern: Recognized that forgiveness from God cannot be based on our ability to live up to His perfect standards. It must be received by faith as a gift made possible by Christ’s death on the cross.
3. The Danger: Forgets that Christians are still human and fail consistently when trying to live by what they “feel” God wants.
4. Application Question: Do you recognize the ongoing need for God’s expressed commands as you live out your gratitude for His great salvation?
1. Their Definition Of Christianity: Christians are those who believe inwardly and outwardly that Jesus’ death has allowed God to offer them forgiveness and eternal life as a free gift. They have accepted that gift through faith and are seeking to live a life of obedient gratitude for what God has done for them.
2. Their Genuine Concern: Christianity is both private and public, with heart-belief and mouth confession. Our relationship to God and the power He provides result in obedience. Having received the gift of forgiveness and eternal life, we are now daily challenged to live that life with His help.
3. The Danger: Avoid the above dangers.
4. Application Question: How would those closest to you describe your Christianity? Do they think you live so that God will accept you or do they know that you live because God has accepted you in Christ? If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence in your life to convict you?
WHAT MUST YOU DO TO BE SAVED?
Romans 10:9-10 (NIV) says “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
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