Saints and Sinners

In my teen class last night we were discussing holiness. What is holiness? What things/people are holy? What’s the opposite of holy? Questions like that.

And then I asked, “Do you feel holy?”

As I looked around the room at all the shaking heads, it hit me. If we don’t buy it for ourselves, how can we possibly convince others of it??

If we don’t believe that we are holy and that we share in a holy experience through Jesus, how can we possibly take that message to others?

Peter reassures us that we are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

When Paul addressed his letters, he often addresses them to the “saints” in a certain place (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2). This word “saint” literally means holy one. These letters were written to the holy ones gathered in Ephesus, Collosae, Rome, etc.

The opposite of holy is common. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus came to pull us out of our common life, this common human experience plagued by sin, pain, rebellion, etc., and to catapult us into an existence unlike any other human experience. We have been taken out of the common and placed into the holy. We have been called “out of the darkness and into his wonderful light.”

But this doesn’t mean that we are free and clear when it comes to sin. I can testify that I have sinned WAY more after becoming and Christian than I did before. But that doesn’t mean we are sinners. That doesn’t mean we aren’t holy. That doesn’t mean we should give up, throw in the towel, and quit trying.

You are HOLY. I am HOLY. Even though we don’t always feel like it. That’s why Paul kept reminding them over and over that those Christians to whom he was writing were saints. They were holy. They were sanctified, set apart, called by God.

God has made us holy though the blood of Jesus. This is the truth to which we are trying to win people. So let’s start believing it. Let’s start living it.

You are holy.

Christianity and Technology

I may have blogged about this before, but it’s been on my mind again recently. It seems to me that the church is lagging behind in this technological age. There have been so many advancements, especially in the area of global communications (HELLO!), that it almost seems like many congregations choose not to keep up.

What worked in the ’50s and ’60s works today, right? Maybe to an extent. But we need to start doing a better job at reaching people where they are.

Facebook has over 400 million users. There are over 25 million on Blogger alone, not to mention WordPress, Tumbler, etc. Twitter has grown exponentially in the last 2 or 3 years.

And most churches can’t even figure out how to make a decent website.

Recent research has shown that more than 2/3 of first time visitors will visit a church’s website long before darkening the front doors. Wake up call, anyone?

But you may argue that the gospel message spread across the world centuries before the internet came along. You would be right about that.

But the first Christians did make use of the latest and greatest technologies available at the time. They used the fastest ships and the nicest roads. They adapted local customs and beliefs to be used in such a way that the gospel became more applicable and relevant.

Christians were even at the forefront of arguably the single greatest advancement in human history: the book. The earliest form of the book came on the scene in 1st century Rome. It was called a Codex, and it was to the scroll what the iPad is to the typewriter. It was cheaper to make, easier to use, and much, much more portable – which comes in handy when you are fleeing persecution.

So when churchgoers today argue that we don’t need all this technology in the church and that it’s not an important part of the Great Commission, just remember that the earliest Christians would beg to differ.

Maybe we should try harder at imitating the earliest Christians by using all available means of spreading the gospel to as many people as possible as quickly as possible.