"God is the living God! Jesus is Lord and Christ, the only Savior! Forgiveness is only produced by the blood of Christ! God wants people worldwide to be Christians!"

I accept those facts. I accept that conclusion. My entire life and collective efforts have been (are) devoted to encouraging people on this and other continents to consider Christianity.

Even so, I ask this question, "Why? Why should people worldwide be Christian?"

"Because Jehovah God is the true and living God!" He is indeed. Do we teach people God before teaching them Christ? Will knowing God persuade them?

"Because the living God declared that Jesus is Lord and Christ!" That certainly is true. Israelites (first century and before) knew the significance of the Messiah/Lordship concepts. That significance was rooted in Israel's relationship with God. People of today's world do not comprehend that significance. Many of us non-Jewish Christians have a poor-to-inadequate understanding of the significance. Will these strange concepts persuade people?

"Because only the blood of Christ provides forgiveness!" That is definitely correct. Do people worldwide correctly identify evil? correctly understand the concept of sin? understand atonement and redemption? or the bond between blood, atonement, and redemption?

"Because God's grace, forgiveness, and new life in Christ progressively changes me. The change is obvious in the way I treat my family; the way I treat people; the way I accept responsibility; my different heart, attitudes and emotions; my real relationship with God and Jesus; and the way I deal with my flaws, faults, and failures. It is obvious that I am a different, better person because I am a Christian." Everyone can relate to that! It moves people to ask, "What is this power that changes and sustains you?" Read 1 Peter 3:13-16 again.

And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled." But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.

People worldwide need to be Christians, not merely profess Christianity. God's purpose is to transform people in Christ, not to control people. Perhaps one reason many people reject Christianity is that they see no transformation in people who are Christians.

Becoming the light of the world is not a process of professing. It is allowing the Light of the world to transform us into "the children of daylight" (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11).

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 25 October 1998

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