Thursday, September 19, 2013

What It Really Means To Confess Christ Before Men?

Can A Christian Wish The Unbelievers For Their Occasional Festivities?

Question : I have a doubt whether a Christian can wish their non-christian friends for their celebration of special occasions that they celebrate like Deepavali, Onam, Pongal, Pooja, Ramazan, etc....I being a leader in our college who partakes in major occasions like these, should I restrain myself from this or it is OK to wish all the public when I speak? My Christian friends who work in big companies also face such situations and they asked me about it, I told them that I will clear their doubt soon? What do you think is right Biblically regarding these issues?

Answer : Greetings to you in Jesus name! I am so glad that you were able to ask a important question that many Christian face in our generation, as the world is calling itself secular to celebrate whatever brings them business and partying chance to indulge their taste bud in to something new. We as the children of God are not supposed to be conformed to the world system and its religious tradition that misleads millions and millions of people around the world to keep them caught in the eternal darkness of sin without God, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind through the word of God to fulfill His will for our lives
(Rom 8:17; 12:2).

See, each traditional festival of all the religions around the world have their own reason to celebrate each festival. Each festival is celebrated to declare that their wrong belief in a particular religion has achieved something for themselves. Most religions have myths and fables of old to celebrate their occasions. A good Spirit filled Christian who follows the Lord Jesus cannot wish a unbeliever for their festival. To wish them for their festival is like agreeing with their wrong belief and encouraging it without bothering about their eternal gloom that they are heading without Christ
(John 3:17-21; 8:24).

For example Paul the apostle said,
"27 If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness.” 29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? 30 But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks? 31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." (1 Cor 10:27-33). In the above verses, we can clearly see how a person like Apostle Paul who was so zealous for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to save people from sin and bring them in to friendship with God because of his love for God and people, was so careful with his attitude of godliness towards other people. Here he expresses four important things that can be taken and applied as principles for our own lives regarding our attitude towards festivals of the unbelievers of other religions who celebrate it,

1) If casually someone wishes you telling the name of the festival they celebrate, then say to them in reply, "Wish you a wonderful time....or something in general." If they specifically tell about their belief and the way they will celebrate it doing the custom or tradition that they hold, do not reply back or wish them anything. Just give them a loving smile! The above way we respond to unbelievers to show them that we do not agree with what they believe as the truth. The Scriptures tells us to,
"speak the truth in Love" (Eph 4:15). It is because of our love towards their soul, that we should act based on our belief. Because Christ has died for them, the Love of God should drive us to act madly like this for the sake of God to make them know that we do not believe what they believe to be true (2 Cor 5:13-15).

2) If they ask why we do not wish them for that particular festival that they celebrate, then give them the gospel with conviction that is within you
(1 Thess 1:5; 2 Cor 6:1-10). As Apostle Peter agrees with such belief and says, "15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil." (1 Peter 3:14-17). Some people may mock you for such a belief calling you names such as 'Holy Joe, Holy Priest, Holy Mother, etc..', still others may accept the gospel seeing how Christ is working out your good conduct and making you excel in all things, and still others may start to persecute you for your belief. If you stand for Christ and get persecuted, it is the will of God for your life that you are fulfilling, and that you are a blessed person because you are collecting for yourself great eternal reward.

3) Give thanks to God for the opportunity God gives to you to share the gospel through such occasions. We should not in any way give offence to the unbelievers by speaking against their tradition which they value it so highly because of their wrong belief, but wisely speak to them giving them the reason why we believe the gospel and do not agree with any belief other than what we believe to be the truth. We should try to pleasingly relate with these unbelievers through the gospel in whatever way we can, in order to connect to the unbelievers so that at least some of them might get saved by the truth they hear through our words and godly lives we demonstrate.

4) Ask yourself, whether what you are trying to exhibit about yourself is done to show to the unbelievers about your religious zeal towards God with pride or to save them from the wrong belief they are caught in? What you speak to the unbelievers was to win over them in debate for your eloquence and your great belief about the true God or to love them in such a way that you want them to be saved from the spiritual darkness that they are in? Why do you share the gospel? Is it done for the glory of God, or to glorify yourself for your true belief? Do you simply want to show that your religion is superior to them, or you want them to understand that they are believing sugar-coated religious lies that cannot save them from sin and give them eternal life? Tell them that Jesus is the only way and there is not other way to become friend with God
(John 14:6).

If you are a leader in a college or a staff in a company, and you are facing the same situation we have discussed above, you are positioned by God in a place of position for the sole purpose of glorifying God before all people. So when you have the choice to present a good speech regarding your subject, and welcome people, and do a master in ceremony type of leadership, and also have the need to finally wish the the people who heard you regarding any festival they celebrate, on such occasions you can present the speech regarding your subject of expertise and then voluntarily side-step and allow some other person to do the final wishing part with out creating any wrong impression of the agreement of our faith with theirs, which might affect their conscience to stay in darkness without seeing any light through our lives which might disturb and convict their conscience regarding their wrong belief
(John 3:19-21; 8:11-12; 12:35-36; Matt 5:14, 16). Or as we have seen in the first point, do a general type of wishing without getting to use any specific name of their festival.

When a Christian partakes in all celebrations of the unbelievers, without ever thinking of the belief that they hold dear to their heart, their lives will become a poor testimony for Christ and therefore will get themselves conformed to the religious trends of the world rather than get transformed by the belief of faith that renews their mind to inherit spiritual and eternal glory which is the reward that they are entitled to get
(Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; Matt 10:32). Would you be willing to confess to others that you believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God (Matt 16:16-17; Acts 8:36-37)? To confess Christ as unique, we should say why we do not believe all religion to be the same and what is unique with Christ who has saved us from sin and death. We will be rewarded according to our boldness to stand for Christ and spread the gospel on earth through proclaiming it and also living it which is the real work of God (John 6:28-29).

Much Blessings....


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pradeepa said...

much useful... anna

-Pradeepa, Usilampatti

Abraham Israel I said...

Dear Thangachi Pradeepa,

Greetings to you in Jesus name! So glad to hear that this post was very useful. GLORY TO GOD! If every you or your friends do have any more question related to these, feel free to ask. May the Lord bless you and yours in JESUS mighty name!

Much Blessings,

Abraham Israel

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