Times have changed, human nature hasn’t

Published 2:54 pm Monday, April 20, 2020

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: All my life I’ve heard: “When in Rome, do as the Romans.” Does the Bible support Christians living according to worldly customs and bringing that lifestyle into the church? — N.C.
Dear N.C.: Ancient Rome had a false notion that a person’s conscience could be controlled by law, so they made it illegal to be different. All had to bow to Caesar and conform to pagan custom. Nonconformists were threatened with death, and many chose death rather than to conform to Rome and compromise their thinking.
The apostle Paul, a Roman citizen, took up his pen and wrote words for all Christians of all times: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
Times have changed, but human nature hasn’t. The world is still trying to put its stamp of conformity on every follower of Jesus Christ. Every possible pressure is being brought to bear upon Christians to make them conform to the standards of the world.
Paul urges Christians to be nonconformists as far as the world system is concerned but be conformed to the image of Christ, to follow in His steps and live righteously.
In our desire to make Christ known and to increase the influence of the church, we are prone to think that Christians and the church can be made popular with the unbelieving world. This is a grave mistake.
Satan’s most effective tools are conformity and compromise. He wants believers to conform to worldliness in their thinking, language, and behavior, but the world’s system contaminates the mind. Turn to Scripture and think on the things of God. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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