What makes Christianity so glorious? If we are looking for evidence to show the majesty of Christianity where should we look? These are intriguing questions and the answers that we give reveal much about our thinking regarding what a Christian is.
For many, their answer would focus on the dramatic. In order to prove that Christianity is a glorious thing they look for outward evidences of power to justify their position. So they look for mighty healings. They look for masses of people collapsing in the, so-called, “presence of God”. They look for prophecies that come to pass and visions that are experienced. These are all brought forward as evidence that Christianity is a glorious thing. But is it right to be concentrating on the dramatic to establish how wonderful Christianity is?
Alternatively others, when they see great personal success and comfort in someone’s life, assert that this is the glory of Christianity. When through faith in God, church attendance and seeking to follow the LORD, people have comfortable circumstances it is observed that Christianity must be wonderful because it brings this to pass. If God is giving someone good health and plenty of money then people think Christianity must be great. But does this really show that Christianity is a glorious thing?
In many ways, when we are looking in the aforementioned directions, that of the dramatic and that of the comfortable, we are following the spirit of the world. This is because the world tends to glory in outward display. John says of the world, everything in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life comes not from the Father but from the world (1 John 2:16). Looking for the outward to justify Christianity is falling into the trap of seeking to justify ourselves according to the world’s agenda.
With this in mind, we have to be careful of looking for the glory of Christianity in times when there are vast numbers being converted. Now this is a glorious thing, but this is only the introductory phase of what is actually the true glory of Christianity. This glory is found in transformed lives. A changed life proves the reality of a person’s conversion. The emergence of a life with different desires from before conversion is a glorious thing to behold.
This transformation is derived from God’s Spirit entering into lives through the revelation of Jesus Christ. When the Spirit of the Lord comes into our lives He comes with the purpose of forming our characters after the image of Christ. In Romans 8:29a Paul says, ‘for those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son’. This is supernatural. This is the invasion of another world into the life of a person. This is the glorious work of the Holy Spirit and for every true Christian it is taking place now.
Moreover, the glory of the Christian experience is proven in the enduring transformation of lives. The greatest glory is seen, for example, in a housebound person in their nineties who enduringly greets you with warmth and sweetness. Such a person was Miss Breen whose life graced Feltham Evangelical Church until the Lord took her home in 2007. She relentlessly testified to the goodness of God in the midst of all her weakness. The essential glory of Christianity is not in seeing a person like Miss Breen healed. Healing from the Lord could happen and we would thank God thereby, but God is most interested in character transformation. All our bodily health or non-health is very much a secondary issue, in comparison to the Lord’s desire that we be found perfect in Christ Jesus.
Our God is interested in the glories of Christ being formed in His people. And where are those glories? They are manifested in the fruit of the Spirit being produced in a child of God by the Spirit of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law (Gal. 5:22-23) is what Paul tells us.
Moreover, the “marching orders” of the church are to produce disciples of Christ; not super-humans. Our Saviour said to the eleven gathered to meet Him in resurrection, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…‘ (Matt.: 28-18-19a) His universal authority means not that He wants to conquer all by dramatic powerful interventions. It means, rather, that he wants to conquer people through His power mightily working inside them to produce disciples. Such disciples, we remember, follow a master who did not come with “pomp and circumstance”. Rather he came in lowliness; He came in true godliness. And the disciple is not greater than his master, but his greatness is found in being like his master.
So ultimately and most profoundly the glory of Christianity is found in the forming of character in the likeness of Christ. And when we see that, we look on and say “This is the Lord’s doing and marvellous in our eyes.”
(Taken from the Feltham Evangelical Church newsletter of July 2014)