Sunday, March 15, 2009

Profession And Practice

A few weeks ago I read an excerpt from Legh Richmond's Domestic Portraiture written January 6,1825. As I read this there was one line that really stood out; Richmond wrote:
For the most part, we are a nation of Christians by profession--and a nation of heathens in practice.
As I thought about this line I thought of our nation (and our world) today, and I don't know that I would still say that we are a nation of Christians by profession as Legh Richmond wrote, but I think we can safely say that a good number of those who profess to be Christians today don't live out their profession on a day-to-day basis. Why is that? Why is it that many today feel that it is perfectly fine to go to church on Sunday but live just like everyone else around them the rest of the week?

The Bible tells us that we are to live as exiles in this world (1 Peter 1:17, 2:11) and that we are citizens of another kingdom (Ephesians 2:19, Hebrews 11:13). Like Abraham we are to be "looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God." (Hebrews 11:10).

We are to be like strangers living in a foreign land; we are ambassadors, we are pilgrims, and we are exiles here. But we don't live like we are. We have made this world our home. We can look at most of the people around us - both those who claim to be Christians and those who don't - and we will not see much of a difference. So again I ask, why is that?

Legh Richmond goes on to write:
There is to be found in the religious world - what may be termed - a pretty, cultured sort of evangelism, which too well combines luxurious ease, and serving of the world, and the flesh--not to say of the devil also. But such kind of religion will not prepare the soul for sickness, death, and eternity. At best, it will leave the soul a prey to the most fearful delusions of false peace. The way that leads to eternal life is much more narrow than many of our modern professors are aware of--the gate is too straight to allow all their trifling, and self-will, and worldliness, and carnal-mindedness, to press through it.

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
Matthew 7:13-14
Most Christians today would agree that in order to be saved we must enter through the narrow gate. But how many then skip right over the next part of what Jesus said here about the narrow road?

It all goes back to the fact that we are to live here as strangers and exiles; we are not to get so comfortable in this world that we become just like everyone else around us. We are to be different; we are to be people who are Christian not just by profession but also in practice; the apostle Peter wrote:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9
Notice in this verse that we are called a chosen race and a holy nation; we are people who belong to God. And the reason that we are to live like we belong to God and not to this world is clear - it is so we can proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us. How can we tell the world about the wonder and glory of God if we are no different than they are?

Examine your life (as I also examine my own) and see if there are areas where you may not be living in practice what you claim to be by profession, repent of those things, and draw near to God. As we read in the letter to the Colossians:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:1-2
As we do we will find that our witness will become more powerful and our walk with Christ will become more enjoyable.
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Deborah said...


I haven't been blogging a lot, but decided to visit you today. I can always count on both you and Isaiah (Word and Verse) to put out GOOD and relevant posts that glorify the LORD.

So glad you're faithful in ministering the LORD's truth!

God bless you and yours!

Chris said...

Hi Deborah,

It's nice to hear from you again, and thank you for the kind words. As you can see by looking at the dates on my last few posts I have not been blogging much lately either.

If you liked this post and you have the time to listen to or watch a sermon on line one of our pastors preached an outstanding sermon this weekend that goes right along with the subject of this post. If you are interested you can find it tomorrow (Monday, 3/23) at and click on "current sermon". The title of the sermon is Upside Down Way of Jesus and it is very convicting; Kyle is such a great preacher.

I hope things are going well with you, God bless.