12.CHRISTIANITY WITHOUT ULCERS

BECAUSE THE Christian has died with Christ to the world, he now lives only through his resurrection with Christ (Colossians 3:1-3; Romans 6:3-5). This means that Christ now stands squarely between the Christian and the world. And this fact demands that the Christian view the world and everything in it through Christ. To put it another way, the person who is in Christ must view everything through Christ-colored glasses!

The true Christian finds that his attitudes toward life-relationships have been changed. The wife who is a Christian submits to her husband “as it is fit in the Lord” (Colossians 3:18). The husband who is in Christ loves and cares for his wife as “Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:25 Parents who are Christians are to rear their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). And the child who is in the Lord is to be obedient to his parents on this very basis (Ephesians 6:1).

The Christ-colored glasses through which the Christian looks change not only his way of living, but his way of looking at life itself. Now he no longer thinks of life and death solely in terms of this world and this body. Instead he may think in terms of his absence from or presence with the Lord (II Corinthians 5:1-8). And whether he lives or dies, the important thing for him is to be accepted by the Lord (v. 9). Paul literally said, “For me, living is Christ” (Philippians 1:21).

In Christ, one sees even his daily work to be work done for Christ (Colossians 3:23). Since he looks to Him for reward, he can work faithfully for his earthly “master,” regardless of the treatment he receives from him (3:23,24).

On the other hand the Christian who is a “master” is to remember that he also will face Payday one day, and is to deal with his workers now with that in mind (4:1). Here is God’s answer to the Labor-Management problem. Its workability requires only one person — submissive to God’s will. There is no need for negotiation and there will never be reason for a strike. Those who participate in the plan will enjoy the benefits of it whether others take part or not.

This does not mean that such “religious” work as preaching, singing or teaching are any less sacred. It means that in Christ everything can be sacred. If God is “over all” (Ephesians 4:6), and if Christ has “an authority” (Matthew 28:18), the Christian can have no realm, no area, no compartment of life where Christ is not Lord. Even living according to the rules is not enough. Good acts can be from the wrong motive and be worthless (I Corinthians 13:3). Each though and motive must be in line with the will of God (II Corinthians 10:5).

When one realizes the extent of obedience to Christ in the honest-to-God Christian life, it is quite possible that his immediate reaction might be panic. How can anyone reach such a goal? How can anyone be saved? But it is a part of New Testament Christianity, too, that these things come in response to salvation and along with it, not in order to get it. Perfection is called for, but grace is accessible.

This takes the burden out of such a life. This is Christianity without ulcers.