By Stephen R. Bradd
A nineteenth-century German philosopher once said: “His disciples will have to look more saved if I am to believe in their Savior.” That’s a thought-provoking statement, isn’t it? The man obviously didn’t believe in Jesus, and the reason he cited was his unfavorable observations of Christians. He understood that disciples of Christ believe themselves to be saved. However, he didn’t see this truth manifested in their lives.
That should remind us all of the serious importance of our personal influence. That’s right, we all have influence over others in our lives--perhaps more influence than we even realize. Our decisions and actions impact others directly and indirectly. If people see me living a joy-filled, peaceful life as a Christian (even in the midst of adversity), if they see me doing good unto others (even when others aren't treating me well), if they notice that I'm living a godly, upright life (even though most people aren’t), they will be influenced for good and hopefully impressed by the genuineness of my faith. And if so, perhaps they will choose to further investigate my faith and adopt it for themselves. When we let our lights shine with a proper spirit, God will be glorified (cf. Matt. 5:16)!
If you are a Christian, what about your life? What kind of influence are you exercising for the Lord and His kingdom? Do the people you associate with (at school, at work, and at play) know that you are a Christian? Do they know that you’ve been saved as a penitent believer who has been baptized into Christ and received the remission of your sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38)? Do you look saved to your peers? If not, why not? Are you ashamed of the gospel message (cf. Rom. 1:16), afraid to share it through your speech and actions? Are you embarrassed by the Lord and His word--are you scared to truly live for Him or do anything for Him outside the walls of a church building?
Friends, the bottom line is this: if a Christian hasn’t adopted Paul’s philosophy of life recorded in Philippians 1:21, then, in many respects, he just won’t look very saved! If a Christian can’t genuinely say with the apostle, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain”, then his influence on others will certainly not be what it should be! If a self-proclaimed disciple of Jesus is living a selfish life--a life of sin--how will he look any different than the world from which he is supposed to be separate and called out (II Cor. 6:17)? How will he look saved?
A secondary point on this subject of looking saved pertains to Christians exuding confidence in their salvation. I John 5:13 reads, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” Christians who are faithfully serving the Lord in accordance with His inspired word have nothing to worry about regarding the Day of Judgment. We can know that we are saved, and that confidence should be seen in the way we humbly live for God. If we doubt our own eternal home, such will negatively affect our influence.
Dear friends, take a good look at your life. Do you know that you are saved? Do your actions and words exemplify one who looks saved?
- Stephen R. Bradd (slightly adapted); via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL. You may visit their website at http://www.harrisburgchurchofchrist.org