Distinguishing Factor

I recently read this quote by John MacArthur:

"I heard of a man who was fearful because he was starting a new job with a group of unbelievers whom he thought might give him a bad time if they found out he was a Christian. After his first day at work his wife asked him how he got along with them. "We got along just fine," he said. "They never found out I'm a Christian."
Silence is one way to avoid persecution. Some other ways are to approve of the world's standards, laugh at its jokes, enjoy its entertainment, and smile when it mocks God. If you never confront sin or tell people Jesus is the only way to heaven, or if your behavior is so worldly no one can distinguish you from unbelievers, you will probably be accepted and won't feel the heat of persecution. But beware!
Jesus said, "Woe to you when all men speak well of you. . . . Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory" (Luke 6:26; 9:26). The last thing anyone should want is for Christ to pronounce a curse on them or be ashamed of them. That's an enormous price to pay for popularity!"

I think most of what he said was agreeable for me, although, I am weary of at least one statement. "...no one can distinguish you from unbelievers...," I agree there should be a noticeable difference but I am cautious of what MacArthur suggests that difference should be.

In scripture it is made obvious to us that our command is “love,” understanding that there is much to be discussed within the concept, it is to be the defining mark, the distinguishing factor, so to speak, in the life of a Christ Follower.

It seems to me that “rebuke” is MacArthur’s suggested distinction, not laughing at certain jokes, not being entertained by certain things, “confronting sin.” Is that really a positive distinction? Could this view that our task as Christians is simply to rebuke “the world” be the reason that the beautiful message of the gospel has been distorted and twisted in a great many minds in our culture? The very word Christian does not bring to mind “love” as it should but to many it brings to mind a long list of things that are not consistent with a scriptural picture of the good news.

Love, Love is what we have been called to. We are called to genuine love, not love with an agenda, but love. Can we not be molded to be the sort of people who love? Rebuke (in love) when it is necessary but let not that be the perceived difference, let us be authentic.


Daniel said…
Good thoughts. Right on.