Orange Standard Article 3 ~ November 2008
"He who is not with me is against me" (Matthew 12:30)
The text is the reminder that the Christian faith is centralised and finalised in the Person of Jesus Christ, who He is and what He said and did is the Good News - "The Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." It is also the unequivocal claim that faith in Christ makes demands on the Christian.
Is is never easy to be a believer and to live by the standards of belief and behaviour that entails. And Jesus stated His terms of reference in the Sermon on the Mount, where he spells out what is required of those who would be His disciples. The first step in response to his call on people was taken by the men confronted by Him at their work and that affected them totally and permanently, Peter, Andrew, James and John, fishermen, and Matthew the inspector of taxes. The others who were to turn to Him had that first step to take. It was always a personal decision. The attractiveness of Jesus is exemplified in these positive responses to Him but the very large number who heard Him speak and were amazed by His healings and the magnetism He emitted through His personality and humanity did not attach themselves to Him.
They liked and admired Him, even saw Him as a potential political leader but they refused to do so as these others did. How he was seen and the way He was treated has been that familiar in all the ages since "the days of His flesh." The reasons for this could be, the same negativity, unwillingness to meet and accept the demands of the Christian faith on those who embrace it and what that entails for character and conduct.
But life is decisions - this or that, here or there, right or wrong. We have to decide on how we live and how we value life. This is the reality clearly enunciated and confronted by religion.
There is no neutrality when it comes to the claims of Jesus Christ on the allegiance of people. The ultimate question to be faced is "what think ye of Christ?" To go his way will be seen in the character and conduct of the committed person.
Nothing should be more apparent than the levels set in the life of the Christian. On the matter, the decision for Christ, there is the quotation:
"Conversion is the natural response of an internal impulse to an external appeal."
Rev. Canon Dr. S.E. Long