If I were to ask your friends, family, and coworkers why you are the person you are, what would their answer be? Would it be because you are a "Christian" or because of what Christ has done in your life. Its very easy for us to fall into the trap of explaining our moral compass by our religious affiliation. The biblical explanation for a Christian lifestyle is not being a Christian, but having Christ!
It is easy for us, at times, to explain our actions by our Christianity. Why don't we indulge in the sinful lifestyles of the world? Well, because we are a Christian and Christian's don't do that! We often explain our abstinence from wickedness in these terms. While it is true that Christians should not go after the world in their pursuit of sin, that explanation is not enough! If we think that this simple explanation helps to proclaim the gospel (i.e. "lifestyle evangelism"), we are sorely mistaken.
The Christian's morals are not based on his Christianity. They originate from Christ! We do not follow the world in sin because Christ has saved us from that sin and is making us to be more like Him. This is the source of our difference from the world. Without Christ, Christianity is no different from any other moral religion.
Yet, I fear that we often explain our morals apart from Christ. We cling to "Christianity" as our religious affiliation. And so we act like a Christian. But those who hold to Judaism can act with the same morals and cling to their Judaism as the impetus for their moral life. The same can be said for the Buddhist or the Hindu. If the world understands us by our Christianity but have no concept of Christ, then we are not truly living and proclaiming the gospel.
The goal of the Christian life ought not to be a "good Christian" but as someone who has a good Christ! When people ask why we don't do the things they do, the answer must be because Christ is transforming our lives. Our religion has nothing to do with it. Our relationship with Christ is the difference.
The world knows that Christians are different. But do they know why? The Christian who truly lives to proclaim the gospel will not be satisfied in proclaiming his Christianity. He will want them to know the Christ of his Christianity. Lets show the world that we are the way we are, not because we are Christians, but because of Christ! This is how we keep Christ in Christianity.
The Quill and the Sword is the blog of Pastor Phil Golden Jr. The quill represents the writings of the author and the sword is the Word of God. This blog is committed to producing engaging articles that are biblically based. The painting above is Eugene Siberdt's Martin Luther Translating the Bible.