21 OCTOBER 2018   THE RELIGION OF JESUS— AN IDEAL OR PRACTICAL?  Part 2 of 2 As of now, the early twenty-first century, Christendom includes about one-third of the world's  population. God alone knows how many of these are Christian in name only. It is trusted that no  one will object when we say that the Bible is Christendom's book of definition. What other book  authoritatively defines what true Christianity is and what false profession is? It records the  immortal words of Jesus, including, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one  that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will  of my Father which is in heaven" Matthew 7:20--21. That has practical applications.  The Holy Scripture presents God's view of sin: what it is, its consequences, its judgment, and its  blessed remedy in Christ Jesus. The Bible outlines the Christian walk, telling us plainly of the strait  gate and narrow way that leads to heaven (Matthew 7:13-14). It says that the way is so contrary to  the flesh, and the flesh so perverse, that only a compara-tively few find it and enter therein. It tells  of an abundant spiritual life (John 10:10) and of joy in serving Jesus (Romans 14:17). All these are  not just ideals; they are practical points in the Christian faith.  That which is practical is sensible. The religion of Jesus is so applicable to everyday life that it  makes sense to reasonable people. The apostle Paul did pray "that we may be delivered from  unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith" (2 Thessalonians 3:2). But usually when  a disciple of Jesus lives in all sincerity and truth, walking consistently, even the world has no  charge against the Christian doctrine. Men see the cohesion of one's profession of faith and the  living thereof; in that degree it makes sense to them, even if they don't espouse it themselves.  When individuals or groups begin viewing the doctrines of the Word as not being practical, it is  often because of unwillingness to bear the cross of suffering in order to practice them. There is a  cross of suffering entailed in following Jesus (Matthew 16:24), and to many people this seems  impractical. It is then that the "ideal" thought presents itself: "Yes, ideally, that is the way it should  be, but..." This allows for paying a certain lip service to the Word, while permitting one to  minimize falling short of living the faith. A different mind-set, or conviction, is needed. The  apostle Peter said, "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves  likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin" (1 Peter  4:1). If the Christian way of self-denial and suffering in the flesh seems impractical, is heaven then only  an ideal?  "We seem to know what manner of persons we ought to be, but we do not seem to accomplish it.  Let the love of God rule in our hearts, and we will enjoy a  Holy Spirit controlled life.”    
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