Wednesday, August 29, 2012


One friend posted a comment of mine on their Facebook page last week that said “If you would shoot your enemy in the head, you might not be a Christian” and the comments that followed that simple truth were deeply disturbing to me, especially the ones that cried “Bulls**t!”, and “Keith Giles is soooo wrong” and my favorite, “This Keith Giles is a gut-shooter, not a head-shooter, a dumb-ass playing games.” [Nice].

It starts to make you wonder, “How can Christians who follow the One who said ‘Love your enemies’ respond to this comment in this way?” Are they unaware of their Savior’s teaching? Are they willfully ignorant of what He meant by this statement? Or are they mostly confused by how to apply His teachings in everyday life?

Reason #3 – Christians in America are confused about the Old and New Covenant.

As one commenter to that same post said, “I get a little confused with Old Testament vs New…is everything in the OT about war and defending (oneself) null after Jesus died?”

I think it’s this fundamental misunderstanding of how the Old Covenant and the New Covenant work together that allows us to call ourselves “Christians” without actually following Christ.

Jesus said that He came “not to abolish the Law and the Prophets” but to “fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)

But, in what way did Jesus “fulfill the Law and the Prophets”? Most Christians are taught that this statement implies that the Old Testament Scriptures are still intact. However, that’s not at all what Jesus meant. As the writer of Hebrews explains:

“By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.” (Hebrews 8:13)

So, when Christ fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, He accomplished what they were pointing to and prophesying about. Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant, and now we are under a new and everlasting covenant. Rather than become enslaved again to the Old Covenant Laws, we are free to follow Jesus and we therefore are bound to obey Him.

This means that when Jesus says, “Love your enemies” we need to actually do that and not shoot them in the head (or anywhere else). And when Jesus says, “If you do not forgive those who sin against you, then your Heavenly Father will not forgive your sins either” we need to start forgiving people. (see Matthew 6:14-15).

Want further proof that Christians today don’t understand the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant? Let me ask you to tell me what the New Covenant is. Honestly, most Christians I ask have no idea what the New Covenant actually is. (Hint: You can find out in Hebrews 8:8-10; and Jeremiah 31:31-34).

See, when we fail to obey Jesus we start to act mean, and the reason why is that following Jesus is meant to transform us into the image of Christ. In other words, if we’re not following Jesus there’s no hope of ever actually becoming like Jesus. Only when we die to ourselves (daily)and deny our selfish, human (i.e. “mean”) impulses and actions, do we get anywhere near actually becoming like Christ.

It’s a little frustrating to me that I even need to write this down or explain this to anyone. It should be such a simple, basic idea to everyone that a follower of Jesus would be like Jesus.
How in the world have we gotten the idea that one can be a Christian but not follow Christ? This would be like a Muslim refusing to obey the Koran. Or a Jew who has no clue about Moses or his teachings. Either you’re a follower of Jesus and you take Him seriously, or you are not following Jesus and you should just go ahead and call yourself a humanist who does what he feels like. You can’t have it both ways.

We act nothing like Jesus because we have not been told we should follow Jesus’ teachings. We do not obey Jesus because we do not think of ourselves as “Disciples” but as “Believers” who accept a certain set of doctrines and we dare anyone to say we’re not really “Christians” even though we don’t act like Jesus.

For the record, the followers of Jesus were first called “Christians” in Antioch back in the first century. You want to know why? Because they were all so much like Jesus that their enemies called them “Little Christs” – which is what “Christians” actually means.

If those Antioch pagans could come to America, I don’t think they’d call us “Christians” today.

Yes, I’d say that the Church in America is some serious trouble, and if we don’t start embracing the New Covenant that Jesus died to initiate, and die to ourselves to receive it, then we will be nothing but a nation of Mean Christians who have no idea who Jesus is, or what it means to follow Him.





Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

It boils all down to Pride...I really believe that. We all have it and it needs to be broken for our stubborn heart to see. Many Christians stay stuck and don't even understand the dying of self....many will read Romans 1 and get an "us vs them" mentality without going on and really grasping Romans 2.....That is US he is talking about!...The old testament shows us how stiffnecked we are...Not just "those" people at that time...No..that is OUR heart filled with Pride and wanting to hang onto self...If they knew the freedom that comes from dying to self, they would be seeking daily to have more of Him and less of self....but many will stay stuck (possibly til their bodily death) because of pride...Keith, ever wrote any blogs on pride? If not, could you?

Val said...


Br G-M said...

Teaching the truth of the Gospel of Christ is so important - getting alongside people whose only wish to harm themselves and others, and to share love - The Love - this surely is the key.
Br G-M

NoahM said...

Keith, you are too kind. I know we are only supposed to say edifying words, but... Is his really a case of Pharisees, claiming to be Christians on their street corner (Facebook), but are really hypocrites, all to ready to throw rocks (flames) at anyone who questions their cosy self-righteousness?

What you describe, and I also observe, is more than just pride, and more than "confusion" over Old and New Testament messages. Although these are credible excuses for many, the outright attacks by some supposed Christians on others demonstrates a much deeper and insidious issue.