Statistics tell us that 86.7 to 98 % (depending who you are reading) of the population in Zambia are professing Christians and the country itself was declared a Christian nation in 1991. And generally speaking a lot of people in Zambia are very religious and most people find their way to church every Sunday morning and consider themselves “Christians”. Is it possible however, that 90% of the population claim to have been radically transformed by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and yet the truth of God is still suppressed in ungodliness and righteousness? Is it possible that 90% of the people who once were dead in their trespasses and have miraculously been made alive in Christ Jesus but their lives remain unchanged? Is it possible that God can begin a work to change a people who are lost in sin and that people remain totally unchanged? Does salvation bring change? Can God transform a person and they remain the same? Does the gospel have power to transform a person? These are the questions that nag my mind whenever I reflect on our “Christianity”
When the bible talks about Disciples of Christ it talks in terms of a reckless abandonment to him and His cause. It teaches that Christians are slaves to Christ. Been a Christian is more than just making a decision to follow Jesus. While a one-time decision has to be made, it is followed by everyday decisions to follow and obey him. Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously claimed “when Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” (The cost of Discipleship pg 99). He in essence simply echoing the words of scripture.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me (Matthew 16:34)
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:15-18)
Biblical Christianity begins when people are convicted of their wretched sinfulness, which makes them enemies of God and they realize that they are totally unable to please God or be reconciled with Him. And in their misery and hopelessness trust in Jesus Christ’s perfect payment for their sins and totally turn away from their sins by pleading for forgiveness from God. When this happens such people daily fight sin in their lives so that there is a reducing pattern of sin in their lives, they daily put on Christ like virtues such that they become more like Jesus. It affects their attitude and ethics towards work. It affects all their relationships with spouses, children, parents, employees, employers and the opposite sex. It affects their commitment and involvement to Christ’s church and how they relate with non-believers. They also live knowing they are strangers on earth and this is not their home. They look forward to a home whose builder and maker is God. That dear reader is what it means to be a Christian.
So while many may claim the title “Christian”? One has to seriously ask “I’m I really a Christian?” Do all of us to who consider ourselves followers of Christ truly his followers? Has God actually done a work in us that the transformation is evident? Or are we still slaves of our sins doing it bidding and suppressing the truth of God’s word thus indulging in our fleshly desires? A Christianity that is not uprooting self from your heart is one devoid of salvation. Dear “Christian” I fear you might not be saved.
“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession...Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer