The Church of the Ungodly

The words and behaviors of some Church people disappoint me.

How could they be so shallow and uncaring? Why do they act so little like Jesus? What an embarrassment they are to Christians everywhere.

These are the thoughts I feel after talking to some people on Sunday. Then the week comes, and I read some real trash on social media. Generally, I develop this feeling of shame for my fellow “so-called” believers.

The Bible calls me back to reality.

Romans 5:6-8 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. (7) Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. (8) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Paul writes to the Church at Rome, and he gives three images of the people who Jesus saves. He says we are “ungodly,” not good people, and sinners. Do you see it? If Jesus died for me and my sins that I might have a connection with God and the hope of heaven, then I am the person Paul is describing … and so are you … and so are they.

I need to be continually reminded that Jesus did not come to make good people better. He came to make ungodly, unworthy sinners into his people.

Unfortunately, that process doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes it takes years. Other times it takes dozens of years. God wants to change all of us into the image of Jesus, but the timeline does not match mine. I think that if you claim to be a Christian, then you should immediately act like Christ. It just doesn’t happen that way.

The Church, that collection of Jesus followers who call on his name for salvation are a mess. They are the worst ungodly people being transformed over a lifetime of teaching, encounters, and experience.

My encouragement to anyone who is a Christian is simply to be patient with people. Develop a thick skin. Practice grace. Show the love of Christ, especially to Christians who do not act like Jesus yet. God loves people who are far him, and so should his followers, especially if we attend the same Church.

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