Why Do Those Raised in Evangelical Christianity Often Live Like Heathens?
If someone is told before a test that they will be given a passing grade even if they fail, then why would it be a surprise if they don’t really study and end up failing the test?
If someone is told that they will be paid for work if they don’t do it well, and even if they didn’t show up, then it is no wonder that they would do poor work or not even show up at all.
And when people are told that they will reap the benefits of Christian salvation even when they don’t live like faithful Christians, then don’t be surprised that they don’t live like faithful Christians (unless they are wise and analyze the truth and accuracy of that claim like they ought to and reject the claim).
Do ridiculous things like this really happen often among evangelical Christians in evangelical churches? Yes, it happens all of the time. It is actually the norm (and I went very much into the practical aspects of how that happens in our recent message “Isms Which Corrupt the Realm of Evangelical Christianity”).
It is common knowledge that there are plenty of people who spent their childhoods in evangelical Christian homes who turn on the good that they were taught and openly, flagrantly abandon Christianity. Yet at the core of their flagrant denial of Christ and their manifold sins which they flagrantly commit, there has been an emboldening towards those things which came in the name of Jesus Christ, and concepts that they were fed which were allegedly gospel truth right from the Bible. And that can all be summed up for now in that they were taught they would be saved forever if they said the prayer to accept Jesus or said yes to a few questions in relation to sin and Jesus. They were implicitly told (and maybe told explicitly), and they heard it reiterated thousands of times afterwards, that Jesus would save them even if they lived like heathens. So, many of these confused evangelical offspring continue to profess Jesus Christ while living like heathens, many profess to be heathens eventually while living like heathens, and many straddle the fence about what they profess while living like heathens (and by the way: no one who professes to be a heathen lives like a Christian- that’s impossible).
It has become common in evangelical churches to emphasize the grace of God in a way in which the Biblical context in which God offers grace to mankind has been neglected or rejected. This has resulted in a spiritual and moral situation which is remarkably similar to that of the Jewish nation under God’s wrath in Bible times (and to this very day really). As is the case with a multitude of the offspring of modern evangelical Christians, and even though religious Judaism is corrupted to accommodate Israel’s rejection of Jesus Christ, a multitude of ethnic Jews are irreligious altogether, forsaking Judaism as well as rejecting Christianity. But in spite of this, these openly godless Jewish people will, though they also typically won’t admit to it, and though they will often even deny the existence of God, they will still be offended at the thought that their ethnic Jewishness won’t deliver them from God’s wrath. Their Jewish upbringing has trained them to think they are immune from God’s judgment because of their natural heritage in spite of the vast multitude of warnings right from the Hebrew Scriptures that this is not the case.
Likewise, those raised up in evangelical Christianity, even if they’ve forsaken their evangelical upbringing and perhaps even deny God’s existence, still commonly consider themselves immune from God’s judgment because of a presumptuous trust and hope in Jesus Christ- a trust and hope which are unwarranted due to their disregard of Jesus Christ’s rightful Lordship over them in terms of how they actually think and live. They retain this presumptuous trust and hope in Jesus Christ in spite of the vast multitude of warnings right from both the Old and the New Testaments (which are perfectly united and consistent when all the evidence is duly examined), that judgment begins at the house of God and no one can dwell in the house of the Lord forever who does not actually follow His righteous ways unto death to self and suffering for His sake.
The chief lesson that Israel largely failed to learn is the chief lesson that Christendom (the realm of professing Christianity) largely has not learned either. The same devil who offered Eve the forbidden fruit, promising her no death would come to her by eating it, has repackaged the lie in a multitude of ways to mankind. Some of the devil’s greatest masterpieces in advancing the mystery of lawlessness have come in relation to where God has most directly worked, whether that be the nation of Israel or in segments of Christendom where a Christian testimony that might have been good and pure, or where a Christian testimony that was perhaps at one time good and pure, existed.
Jesus has purchased redemption on the cross for us so that it is possible that we can be saved from sin’s guilt and power. We can’t pay a price for that redemption. Only He could make an acceptable atonement to pay the price for man’s redemption. And by the grace of God, He did! We need to obey the terms and conditions of His kingdom by a living faith in Him, and walk therein, to obtain what Christ has purchased and freely offers us. In that context, we need to be found worthy of entering God’s kingdom, our works and our overall lives testifying that we have indeed exercised, and continued in, a living faith before God which strives from the heart to do what is right in His eyes and come in line with His authority through Jesus Christ. Cooperation with Christ’s grace to rescue us and redeem us from the guilt and power of sin makes one a fitting product for His eternal kingdom. And this truth in no way makes Christ’s salvation not a free gift. Something being freely offered does not necessarily mean that it is unconditionally offered. And the grace which Jesus Christ offers us is not offered on an unconditional basis.
Romans 15:8-12 says: “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias (Isaiah) saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.”
Many don’t consider that Jesus’ resurrection proved the validity of the Old Testament. And yet when the Apostles of Christ preached His resurrection, they spoke of it as the fulfillment of the Scriptures which existed at that point- the Hebrew Bible or, as we know it, the Old Testament. The Apostle John speaks of Jesus as the Word made flesh in chapter one of his Gospel- the Word who was with God and was God at the beginning; the One who made all things. The truths in the Scriptures, including the Old Testament, reflect Jesus’ character- since Jesus is the Word of God. The Old Testament Scriptures also testify of the Deliverer who would offer Himself to make an atonement for sin and offer redemption to man, thereby crushing the serpent’s head (the serpent deceiver who had seduced man into his service through sin). The Scriptures speak of this Deliverer as a King who would be descended from King David according to the flesh and reign forever on the throne of David in righteousness. The Father ultimately vindicated the Scriptures in their entirety in raising Jesus from the dead after He was crucified- the One who embodied the Scriptures, lived in perfect alignment with the Scriptures, upheld the Scriptures in His preaching, and who ultimately is the Saving King whom the Scriptures testify of constantly. Many want to disconnect Jesus Christ partially or totally from the Old Testament, yet not believing that the Old Testament is entirely true and inspired by the true God is logically a denial that Jesus was raised from the dead- since that is the very context of how His resurrection was preached by the very ones who were eyewitnesses of His resurrection.
Think of Christ’s resurrection as the ultimate road sign warning people to exit the broad road of sin and enter the narrow, tribulated way of dying to the pleasures of sin and living to God under His righteous authority. It was man’s lawlessness and choice to embrace darkness which opposed Jesus Christ and crucified Him. We see at the cross the true nature of sin on display. We see that those who transgress God at heart actually commit treason against Him and pour out bitter hatred against His holy and righteous Government. This contempt of God in the choice to live one’s own way by embracing sin is the ultimate reason people go to hell beyond the acts of sin in and of themselves. The cross was when the Father allowed that bitter enmity of people against Himself to be demonstrated in reality upon His Son. Sin was thus seen then for what it is in its essence. In Luke 22:53 Jesus said to His enemies who were about to deliver Him to be crucified, “When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
Christ’s resurrection above all validated the Scriptures themselves and His Ultimate Supreme Authority. This is how His Apostles, the very eyewitnesses of His resurrection, preached Him. And this is also the key thing which the “grace preachers”, the people who preach a false gospel by saying you just need to accept Christ’s death for your sins (the typical evangelical preacher now), do not tell people in their deceit and disregard of the whole counsel of God’s Word regarding the mercy which Jesus Christ offers. His resurrection vindicates His authority, demands that people repent of their sins and submit to His authority, and only offers man forgiveness of sins in the context of recognizing Him and obeying Him accordingly.
John 2:18-21: “Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things (Jesus had just forcefully cleansed the Temple, His Father’s house, at the Feast of Passover)? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.”
The resurrection proves that Jesus has the right to govern us, to tell us how to live by His Word, and to cleanse us according to His definition of clean. No one can refuse that except to their own damnation.
Romans 1:1-5 (the introduction to the Book of Romans): “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name.”
Matthew 28:18-20a: “And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”
Christian baptism is intended to be a declaration that one has come under Christ’s authority and is committed to keep all that He has commanded in His Word. From a Biblical lens there is no saving faith in Christ that does not submit to His authority and live by His Word. The grace of God in Christ is only actually given to those who do so. A proper Biblical Baptism is (essentially, basically) signing up to learn and observe whatsoever Christ has commanded. That is essentially the same as declaring oneself dead to sin and alive to God with Him.
It’s amazing to me then that so many professing Christians will contest the Christian’s obligation to keep God’s commandments (ironically, even many who are called Baptists). The “justification by faith alone” heresy is often foundational to their spiritual insanity. See what adding just one word (alone) to one Biblical phrase (‘justification by faith”) has the potential to do!
Deuteronomy 4:2 says: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought (any) from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”
And Proverbs 30:5-6 says: “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
The phrase “justified by faith alone” is a Protestant/Evangelical sacred cow. It is virtually all over the Evangelical and Protestant realms! Almost always, whenever anyone talks about forsaking sin, obeying God, being holy/worthy of God’s kingdom, etc. someone will say “Hey, salvation is by justification by faith alone. You’re speaking heresy.”
Yet it can be boldly said that justification by faith alone is not only never mentioned positively in the Bible, it is even spoken of negatively and directly rebuked. There is a universe of difference between justification by faith versus justification by faith alone. The Bible teaches justification by faith, not justification by faith alone. A true, living faith in Christ is never alone. It is always obedient to His authority. It is dead faith which doesn’t produce obedience to Jesus Christ.
Yet (and this may shock some) evangelical churches typically don’t teach the need to be obedient to Jesus Christ according to the Word of God, and the need to continue in Him, in order to inherit salvation through Him. And if they do at all, they do not do so consistently. And even if they seem to, they still often counter their own message by not exemplifying and enforcing Biblical righteousness within. And then they wonder why the youth in their churches turn out to be ungodly heathens (in a very open way)! And in many cases, those raised in evangelical churches are much more closed to Bible truth and careless about their state before God than just about every other segment of society. It is a shame of the highest degree. See what happens when the leaven of bad doctrine becomes accepted as truth. Wickedness prevails, bad examples are justified, and confusion reigns.
Do we need to wholeheartedly forsake sin and follow Jesus according to His Word to have His atoning blood applied to us? Or to put it another way: Do we need to walk worthy of His kingdom and prove ourselves to be faithful worshipers who are fitting subjects there? Or did Jesus do it all so that we can just accept Him and have our salvation thereby secured forever? While multitudes take and promote this latter view, the risen Jesus addressed actual Christian churches in the Book of Revelation chapters two and three, giving specific counsel and exhortation regarding the spiritual state of those in them. He proves in these messages to the seven churches that those who say you can just accept Him and have your salvation secured forever are twisting the other passages of His Word which they use to promote their lawless gospel. Our salvation indeed depends on whether we overcome sin and self in Him or not. All the gymnastics that men use to get around that truth will only destroy themselves and make them obstacles to others which need to be overcome as well. Let God be true and every man a liar.
Revelation 2:12-13: “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
Revelation 21:7-8: “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful (cowardly in regard to following truth and doing righteousness), and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Don’t be like the wicked Israelites who didn’t heed God’s warning to them that they actually needed to walk according to His Word and bring forth righteous fruit. You can be sure that God has not changed and that those who continue in what He calls sin in His Word call will face His wrath in eternity- and quite possibly get a foretaste of it on earth too- and that is magnified especially regarding those who take His name and profess to belong to Him, and those who rebelled against great Biblical light which they had the privilege to be exposed to. Greater light brings greater accountability due to the greater opportunity it brings- and hence results in greater damnation when not walked in.
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]