Why do so few become Christians
and live as Christians?

Jesus said: "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart: and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28, 29).

Living as a Christian means to have rest, peace with God. Do we have rest and peace? If not maybe we have not really gone to Jesus to learn how to live.

One must first become a Christian in order to live as a Christian.

One is not a Christian by birth. Personal commitment is required. Our parents cannot decide for us. Everyone must decide for himself to follow Christ.

What does this involve?

Becoming a Christian means being saved by God's grace on the basis of faith in Jesus. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned: but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:16-19).

Jesus did not come to condemn the world. The world was already condemned because of sin.

"For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law" (Romans 2:12).

Jesus brought salvation. He came "to give his life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). "For the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).

"He who believes in the Son has eternal life: but he who disobeys1 the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God rests upon him" (John 3:36).

An obedient faith is required to escape the wrath of God. One's faith must be confessed, "For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:10).

One must repent and be baptized: "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

People are faced with a choice. "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision" (Joel 3:14).

To live as a Christian we must make a personal decision. We must become a Christian by faith and obedience.

Why do so few live as Christians?

After Jesus has done so much to make salvation possible, why are so many lost anyway? Why do so few live as Christians? This has several causes.

Many do not live as Christians because of selfishness, self-centeredness.

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). "Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone: but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit" (John 12:24, 25).

"He who finds his life shall lose it: and he who loses his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 10:39).

"For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it: and whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it. For what does it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Matthew 16:25, 26).

"Whoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whoever shall lose his life shall preserve it" (Luke 17:33).

Since Jesus gave His life for us, He asks us to forfeit our lives to serve Him. Many do not want to do this.

Many do not live as Christians because of impenitence.

Most people refuse to repent. Referring to such people, Paul said: "But because of your hard and unrepentant heart you are storing up for yourself wrath on the day of wrath when the righteous judgment of God shall be revealed" (Romans 2:5).

Jesus made repentance a condition for salvation: "There were some present at that time who told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered, saying to them, Do you suppose these Galileans were greater sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, No: but, unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:1-3).

"The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some men count slowness; but is patient toward you, not wanting that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

"This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as other Gentiles walk, in the futility of their minds, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts: who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to licentiousness, greedy to practice all kinds of uncleanness" (Ephesians 4:17-19).

"Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

"Therefore, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up" (James 4:7-10).

Many do not live as Christians because they set their minds on earthly things.

Earthly-minded people scorn the sacrifice of Christ. "For many, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even with weeping, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, with minds set on earthly things" (Philippians 3:18, 19).

When people make this world their god, they are struck with spiritual blindness: "But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. For the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, lest they should see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4).

In their blindness they think God's word is foolishness: "For the preaching of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness; but to those of us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18).

They do not think very highly of Christians either. Even worse, to them we stink. If we want to live as Christians, we must be willing to endure the ridicule and persecution of people of the world.

"Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and makes manifest through us the fragrance of the knowledge of him in every place. For we are an aroma of Christ to God, among those who are being saved, and among those who are perishing: To the one we are the aroma of death to death; and to the other the aroma of life to life" (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).

Someone who loves money cannot live as a Christian: "But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil" (1 Timothy 6:8-10).

The waging of war is also an expression of earthly-mindedness because of which many are lost, as Jesus warned Peter: "Put your sword back in its place: for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword" (Matthew 26:52).

Earthly-mindedness leads to spiritual infertility: "And these are the ones who are like seed sown among thorns; they hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust for other things enter in, and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful" (Mark 4:18, 19).

Many do not live as Christians because of false doctrine.

Jesus warned: "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved" (Matthew 24:11-13).

Peter warned that ignorant and unstable people twist the Scriptures to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16). "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who secretly shall bring in destructive heresies" (2 Peter 2:1).

People accept false doctrine because they lack love for the truth: "And then shall the lawless one be revealed, whom the Lord shall slay with the breath of his mouth, and shall destroy by the brightness of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is through the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who perish; because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God shall send them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that all those might be condemned who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Tessalonicenzen 2:8-12).

Why are there so few who live as Christians even though Jesus died for them? Because they are self-centered and earthly-minded they refuse to repent. Because they reject love for truth they believe a lie by which they are lost.

Let us live as Christians.

Let us walk the narrow road: "Enter in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there are who enter in by it: but small is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there are who find it" (Matthew 7:13, 14).

Although it is not an easy road, Jesus will help us. As Paul said, "Persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:9).

The salvation of Christ extends beyond death: "And some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And you shall be hated by all for my name's sake. But not a hair of your head shall perish. By your perseverance you shall win your souls" (Luke 21:16-19).

Jesus takes good care of His sheep: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, nor shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:27, 28).

"Therefore be imitators of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice, a sweet smelling aroma to God" (Ephesians 5:1, 2).

"Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of our God and Father: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Galatians 1:3-5).

1 Some translators have interpreted απειθων in this verse as 'those not believing' but the word means 'those not obeying'.

Roy Davison

New Testament quotations are from the Revised King James New Testament
(RKJNT) and Old Testament quotations are from the translation of the Jewish Publication Society.

Published in The Old Paths Archive