What good is a Christian that claims to know and follow God yet does not act like it? That seems to be the number one complaint from non-Christians about Christians. The complaint is that they do not practice what they preach. Well in the Christians defense, Christians do not claim they can follow biblical teaching perfectly. That is why they and everyone else need Jesus so badly. The bible teaches: if you fail to be perfect, you suffer God’s wrath eternally. Praise God, Jesus was perfect and his sacrifice on the cross means we as believers can be counted as perfect through our faith in the perfect one, Jesus Christ.
Still, Christians should practice what is being preached. The Holy Spirit can enable us to do that. True believers are those who have the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13) and the Holy Spirit is our helper (John 15:26).
There are some tough words for those who do not practice what the bible teaches and it doesn’t come from those complaining about hypocritical Christians. It comes from the bible.
Titus chapter 1 contains some qualifications for church elders. These qualifications are standards every Christian should aspire to meet. We should all be hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined (v.8). We never want to be arrogant, quick-tempered, a drunkard, violent or greedy (v.7).
Titus 1 ends like this: Paul is talking about people who are like “liars, lazy gluttons and evil beasts” and adds:
They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. (v.16)
They say they know God and are unfit for any good work. Ouch.
To the Lazy Gluttons
Now here is my concern. Many Christians indulge in things just as the world does. They party, they drink, they smoke, they make crass jokes, dress in revealing clothes, they fornicate, cuss and lie. They look just like the world does. They are like “lazy gluttons”. They get defensive, say no one’s perfect and continue in their sin. I think by doing so much of this and so often, they are denying God by their works even though they would say they are Christians and love God. According to Paul, they are detestable and unfit for any good work.
I pray these hard words speak to all professing Christians. What we do matters. The good intentions of your “good” heart is simply not enough. The goodness of God should always shine though in your actions. Faith and repentance go together. God is good and that should get you to move! The Holy Spirit makes you fit for good work. Pray for God’s grace in this.