We call ourselves ‘bad Christians’ because that’s what we are. By ‘Christians’ we mean people in relationship to Christ and other believers. By ‘bad’ we mean, we do plenty of nasty things and leave a lot of good things undone.
God took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. In other words, the life we have now is not something we produce or sustain; it is given to us for Christ’s sake and maintained by the gift and ongoing work of the Holy Spirit. Any applause we might receive for doing good belongs to God alone. It’s his mercy alone that keeps us. We need him to forgive us every second of every day, while the blood of Jesus keeps on cleaning us from all our filthiness.
Also as ‘bad Christians’ we need the community of other Christians, the preaching of God’s Word, communion, the prayers of God’s people, and the very needful help they can, and often do, give us.
We’ve tried the books, the counseling, and the retreats, but success alluded us. What progress we make as Christians comes as a gift from God. We have no idea how or why God gives it to us except for the fact it gives him pleasure.
The truth lies elsewhere: to live successfully as a Christian we need to recognize that no matter how hard we try to manage our sin, the oil-spill of our pollution continues to spread. That’s because we cannot remove the source. The problem will not be fixed until that day when God exchanges our corruption with the incorruptible. Meanwhile, we live by faith. Daily we seek forgiveness and strength by looking away from ourselves to our Savior. Our faith rests in his completed work and trusts God to make us holy as he sees fit.
4 thoughts on “Why Do You Call Yourselves ‘Bad Christians’?”
A problem I’ve run into is that most Christians that I have met give lip service to the fact that they are sinners and yet either discount it in all their actions or expect perfection in others. In years past I have been guilty of the same thing. As new Christians I think we all get it in our minds that we are now going to be nice people to show our faith. But often Christians can be incredibly cruel. And I have met plenty of nice caring people that aren’t Christians at all. We try so hard and fail so badly. Short bursts are possible, even a reputation characterized by a faithful giving personality. But the problem still exists that we are containers of some of the ugliest stuff in the universe. Our problem is when we think that we are above it somehow or look down on others when they don’t measure up to our expectations. Personally my life has changed radically since I have learned that we are all going to sin. Also, since I have learned that all people have innate value, even people of other religions or sinful status, I tend to go easy on them and refrain from judgment or a harsh attitude toward them. Because I am just like them. I even recognize that there are many people nicer, more talented, happier, and just better than me. We are all in this world together just trying to make our way. So, as a Christian the only real good thing about me is that I am also a container of the loveliest thing in the universe…the Holy Spirit of God himself.
Carolyne, I can’t say it better than you have stated. You still show hope.
Roy, you’re right on! As Martin Luther said, a Christian is both a sinner and a saint. I wish the church were more like an AA meeting, where on Sundays (and now Saturdays) we all stand up, including the pastor, and say, “I’m a dirty, rotten sinner and my only hope is in Christ and His righteousness given to me as a gift from God. Praise be to God!” Imagine what that would do?
I remember once really noticing the scripture that says the early church “Confessed their sins to oneanother”. It seemed to be in a public setting. In fact now I remember that it was when they were being baptized…public confession of sin…it would not work in the American churches that I have attended.
The most realistic explanation I’ve heard, and the most inspiring too!