I have a natural desire to be liked by others and to fit into whatever group I am with.

But, the apostle Peter says in 1 Peter 2:11 says that we believers are “aliens and strangers in the world”. We’re different.

I have been thinking about this because I believe one of the great temptations of the church is to make the gospel of Christ as easy as possible for non-Christians to swallow. Indeed, some churches have abandoned any attempt to preach the message Christ preached.

It seems to me that Christians must reach out in love and friendship to those who are not believers along with standing firm on what we believe.

In other words, we should follow Christ’s example. Jesus was criticized by the religious elite of his day for eating and drinking with “sinners” and “drunkards”. But he was not afraid to point out to these people their need for God.

In his book The Crucified Life, A.W. Tozer lamented what he saw 50 years ago as an attempt to water down the gospel so that it was easy for people to call themselves Christians. Some call this “cheap grace” – God’s mercy and love without any demands on the believer.

God’s grace should bring noticeable change into my life. I am not living the life God wants me to live if I am the same today as I was when I first became a believer. I should be becoming more like Christ.

I am encouraged that some churches are placing a growing emphasis on a closer relationship with Jesus. I will draw nearer to Christ as I pray, reflect on God’s word, and obey the leading of the Spirit in the world around me.

But if Jesus is an afterthought in my mind and heart, no one will see that I am different. I will look like everyone else.

So Christians face a fundamental question: Are we aliens in the world today? If not, why not?


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