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Christian but Not Church-Going? Hmm…

July 14, 2014

Isn’t it funny how certain statements can be correct and wrong at the same time? Here’s a very common one, that I come across regularly: “You can be a Christian without going to church.”
Now, in a way, that’s perfectly true. When the Bible explains the way to salvation, it never includes “go to church”; it’s only “repent and believe”. Participation in certain meetings on certain days is certainly not a requirement for salvation!
Sometimes there are very good reasons why a Christian chooses not to go to church: there might not be a Bible-preaching church nearby; they might have been hurt and need to take some time out; and of course, health issues can keep any of us out of action!
However, I don’t think most people who give me that excuse actually mean it that way. Instead, it seems this is what they really mean: “I try to live a good life, and that’s what being a Christian really means.” Sadly, this is not what the Bible teaches about being a Christian!
Let’s be clear: Jesus did not come to give us a new moral code, or (as the Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy puts it) to tell us “how great it would be to be nice to people for a change”!). Jesus came to die on a cross to pay for our sins and open the way for us to be reunited with God our Father. Anyone who confesses their shortcomings and receives forgiveness from Jesus becomes a child of God; and that is what it means to be a Christian. Nothing more, nothing less.
Being a Christian isn’t about what you do and don’t do; it’s not about being nice or living a good life. It’s about being a child of God, living in the power of his Holy Spirit. Obviously, a Christian wants to make God happy by doing what he wants and avoiding things he doesn’t want; but that’s a consequence of being a Christian, not the definition.
One thing that makes God happy is worship – and I find that it’s quite hard to worship God properly on my own. I need other Christians: to provide prayers, insights, music… So even if I could serve God on my own (which is doubtful), I need the rest of the family of God to fully worship the Lord – and worship is clearly a main aspect of being a Christian!

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From → Christianity, Faith, Jesus

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