“But I’m the only Christian in their lives!”

This is often used as an excuse to engage in or remain in a sinful state. Sin is still sin. Being the only Christian in a person’s life is not a reason to sin. (In America, this is not meant as being the only Christian they have access to. Obviously, Americans have access to churches, Bibles, and Christians all over.) Staying in sin to stay in their life is actually the exact opposite of what will win them. The unsaved person will not understand you are staying in their life or in that situation in order to win them. They will see that the sin you are involved in doesn’t matter to you. They will see that there is not a difference between being a Christian and not.

God commands us to be separate. Be Holy. Be apart from the world. No where in the Bible does God say to do anything because you are the only Christian witness in someone’s life. We are to preach the Gospel to every creature. We are to make disciples. We are to teach. We are to live so that by our walk, countenance, and conversation, men may know that we are different. But no where does God say “You that are the only Christian in someone’s life, take special care to stay in their lives – even bending and breaking my rules if necessary.” God doesn’t say that.

God says we will win them by being holy. It will be our good works that bring glory to God. It will be our faithful witness.

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

1 Peter 2:12 “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

1 Peter 3:1-2 “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”

God makes several things very clear in the Bible: be holy, walk in the Spirit, pray, flee temptation, serve the Lord, praise Him, study His Word and the list goes on. It is certainly not wrong to be the only Christian in someone’s life. But it should never be the reason for something. It is not a litmus test about where you should work, or live. It is not a test of whether you should be someone’s friend, or build a relationship, or keep one. It is not a test at all. God uses His Word, prayer, and Godly counselors to direct us. Use those. Pursue after God. Talk to His people. Be wise.

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3 thoughts on ““But I’m the only Christian in their lives!”

  1. I agree that there is ZERO excuse for being in sin. Being in sin “in order to witness” is a ridiculous misuse of Biblical teaching, and an offense to the Holy Savior you claim to belong to and worship. I agree that if your only reason for doing something is “I’m the only Christian in their life” it is not enough. I agree that it shouldn’t be THE reason. I think, however, that there is Biblical room for it to be A reason, if other things are paired with it. Admittedly, if you feel God directing you to do something through prayer, that would be reason enough without even needing to address the whole “I’m the only Christian in their life” issue. I just thought you weren’t leaving any room for that to ever be appropriate, regardless of the circumstances, and regardless of any other possible reasons. A pretty weak reason? Yeah. Reason enough by itself? No. A reason that should always be erased from thought no matter what? I am not so sure.

    But I do want to ask you something. You said that we are specifically commanded to be holy, separate, and apart from the world, and by doing so, they will see our holiness and flee to Christ. Obviously I would not disagree… I don’t disagree with Scripture. But I wonder if we see eye to eye on what it means to be separate, holy, and apart from the world? I ask this because, contextually, it seemed to me that you might be suggesting that being friends with the unsaved in order to win them to Christ was sinning. I really don’t know if that was what you were saying or not – it may have just jumped at me that way because I have heard things like that, ad because you were giving a principle after a specific context that I didn’t separate from each other.

    But here is my question. Within the commands that you list the Bible giving, I see a passage that deals with how we relate to the unsaved left out of your list: that being 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.

    “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.”

    Now, certainly, that passage gets misused all the time. You are absolutely correct that sinning to witness is NEVER alright, and that verse does NOT condone it, no matter how many people try to make it do so. The parenthetical Paul gives in that passage makes it clear that we are always to be under Christ’s law, no matter what. But here is the big picture question. How do we become all things to all men (that we may by all means save some) AND YET be holy and separate.

    I wonder how you would answer that question. I will give you my answer:

    I think that every culture, every people group, every PERSON can be shown what a “sanctified version” of what they are looks like, if we are able to fit ourselves within that culture and yet remain under Christ’s law. Here is why. Being under Christ’s law IS what keeps us Holy. It IS what keeps us separate. I have not yet seen a culture that is so far gone that a Christian couldn’t enter in to that culture in a meaningful way, and yet remain under Christ’s law and therefore be different in a meaningful way. Specifics are really dependent on the culture, so I will live it general.

    But I do not think that there is one broad culture that is the “holy, separate” culture, and that therefore all other cultures are “of the world” and so should be pushed as far away from us as it can be.

    I see people using the “be holy and separate” argument to say just this. I think that is wrong, and I think it ignores what the Holy Spirit has to say to us through Paul in 1 Cor 9:19-23.

    I also see people use the “all things to all people” argument to say that we SHOULDN’T be separate… and I think that is EQUALLY wrong, and ignores what the Holy Spirit has to tell us in the passages you list.

    Anyway – that is the way I would answer that question – and I would save specifics for follow up questions or concerns from people. How would you answer it?

  2. I agree.

    I was not saying we have to be removed from the culture and society. I was trying to emphasize the commands we KNOW from Scripture as opposed to some man-made stipulation that Scripture never speaks of.

    I agree that we need to be all things to all men – its Bible, so, of course I agree. I don’t think that people saying “I’m the only Christian in their life” is a means of doing that. Being the only Christian in their life is not a form of being all things to all men.

    Good thoughts.

  3. Oh – I fully agree with you that “I’m the only Christian in their life” is not being all things to all men – that was a side issue. Probably means it was confusing since it was brought up in response to a blog on the “I’m the only Christian in their life” post. Sorry for any confusion.

    There seems to be this idea that Christians can bend rules, and as long as “the ends justify the means,” (Hah… you could do a whole sermon on how wrong that type of thinking is… I can already think of bullet points) we are OK. I appreciate your message – it is much needed.

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