I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous or extortioners or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. (I Corinthians 5:10)
They accuse me of stirring the pot, of introducing subjects sure to draw fire, of intentionally being controversial. Nothing I say convinces them otherwise, even when all I did was to state something God’s people hold dear.
Almost all the key doctrines of the Christian faith someone will find objectionable and some will take offense at.
We believe that this Man who walked the shores of the Galilee and broke bread for the five thousand was the Second Person of the Trinity. And yes, we do believe in the Trinity, One God eternally existing in three persons as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that this Man of Galilee was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, did miracles from healings to exorcisms to raising from the dead, that He died a vicarious death, and rose from the dead on the third day and is alive forevermore. We believe that at this moment He is in Heaven, seated on the right hand of the Father–although we can only imagine what that looks like–and yet is present with us and inside us through the Holy Spirit. We say all those things and yet there is not a one of us–not one–who can adequately understand or explain a single aspect of what I have just written. The Virgin Birth is a mystery, the sinless life of our Lord is mysterious, His miracles defied all laws and baffled all attempts at understanding or explaining, His substitutionary death is beyond us, the victory He achieved over death, sin, the grave, and Satan’s forces is something we believe with everything inside us but there is not a one who can explain it, and the resurrection!
I have said far more here than I understand.
It’s not that we have chosen to believe things we cannot understand. To use a phrase from the wonderful C. S. Lewis, we did not get up one morning and decide to start believing these amazing things, but we were dragged kicking and screaming into the Kingdom. We were captured by the evidence, make no mistake.
The evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ, for the authenticity of the Bible as the Word of God, and for the resurrection of Christ–just to name three–is overwhelming. We are not stupid. We did not, as someone said, choose to enter a dark room and believe there is a black cat inside.
So, the outside world–for want of a better term–does not know what to do with all this. It finds every aspect of this offensive. When the Apostle Paul said the Greeks seek after wisdom (I Corinthians 1:22), he did not necessarily mean only the residents of the nation of Greece, but the modern mind. Far moreso today. So, people accept and admire the portions of Jesus’ teachings which they find wise and impressive, but reject the miraculous. The problem is it’s all miraculous, every cotton-picking part of it. Even His teachings.
Speak of Jesus Christ being the Second Person of the Trinity and some will be offended. They want it simple.
Speak of there even being a Trinity–God in Three Persons–and many will be offended. They want it easy.
Speak of the Virgin Birth of Jesus and many will be offended. It just doesn’t happen, they will say.
Speak of the sinless life of Jesus and many will be offended. Yeah, right, they will say, and will roll their eyes. How gullible they will find you.
Speak of the vicarious, subtitutionary death of Jesus and many will be offended. To believe that one died for another is asking far too much, they will insist, and nothing about it seems just.
Speak of His bodily, physical resurrection from the dead–to be alive forevermore!–and many will be offended. They will dismiss His resurrection as being implausible but without considering the evidence. After all, many who have gone skeptically into an investigation of that evidence have ended up confirmed believers. Safer to stay away and scoff.
Some of those discounting the resurrection will claim to be Christians. They will speak of Jesus’ being raised in a spiritual fashion, but not actually bodily, not physically. However, the Lord Jesus did not leave this option open to them. He said to the disciples, Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have (Luke 24:39).
Speak of Jesus’ being alive forevermore, ascended into Heaven, seated at the right hand of Majesty where He makes intercession for us, and yet that He indwells every believer, and you will be written off as an unthinking mindless fundamentalist. Wear that as a badge, believer.
The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him (I Corinthians 2:14).
Get used to that, follower of Jesus.
People in their natural, i.e., unsaved, state will not appreciate or understand these amazing truths. You probably didn’t either before you came to Christ and prior to getting to know His Word.
They will not appreciate nor understand the truths nor will they respect you for believing them. You will be called a Bible thumper, narrow-minded, close-minded, no-minded.
If having the approval of the outside world is important to you, you’ll probably not want to start following Jesus. This is part of what Scripture means, If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (I John 2:15).
You will not be able to have it both ways.
If you wish to never do anything someone finds offensive, it is not enough that you keep quiet about your Christian faith. You will need to “go out of the world” (I Corinthians 5:10).
How to be a Christian who never offends anyone? Cannot be done. Even if you do nothing more than love others and live like Jesus, you run the risk of being crucified.