Many of the problems of the individual Christian, and of the Church, are brought about by failure to understand our position in the world.
Soon to be separated from his disciples our Lord prayed for them. In that prayer are some significant statements, only too often overlooked.
In John 17:9 we read, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.”
In verse 14 we read, “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”
Again, in verse 16 we read, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”
Arc we not foolish when we try to blur a distinction our Lord affirms, a distinction the validity of which is necessary if Christianity is to have real meaning?
Christ is unique and distinctive.
In like manner the distinctive status of the Christian makes him unique, and in a spiritual sense, apart from the world. As a new creature in Christ he is different from the unregenerate world in perspective, life and destination.
Then too, the Church as a spiritual organism is unique and distinctive. Composed of redeemed men and women it is entrusted with the message of salvation to those whom the Bible calls lost.
A God-revealed realism demands that these distinctions not only be recognized but maintained at all costs, for it was to this end that our Lord came. “Should not perish, but have everlasting life” depicts both the redeeming love of God in Christ and man’s lost condition without him.
When unregenerate and regenerate men are equated isn’t violence done to the redemptive work of our Lord? The new birth means nothing if it does not mean a supernatural change, newness of life in Christ.
This very difference ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more