Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The word "apologetics" derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used as a speech of defense.

Are Christians Better than Non-Christians?

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  • Are Christians Better than Non-Christians?

    I have sometimes heard the charge from skeptics that Christians come off as thinking they are better than other people. This impression perhaps arises for at least two reasons: 1) because a professing Christian who does not understand the gospel actually DOES think they are better than non-Christians or 2) a true regenerate Christian who may be triggered/set off by something, forgets the gospel, and rashly in their pride says some things indicating they think they are better.

    Either way, the fact is that we are not better. Not by a long shot. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once declared in no uncertain terms "Do you think that you deserve forgiveness? If you do, you are not a Christian."

    A Christian is Saved By Grace

    A sinner is saved when, by grace, they acknowledge that they have no righteousness of their own and trust in Christ's promise to deliver them from their guilt and captivity to sin.
    "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9).
    At our very best — we are but miserable sinners. We are not saved because we are better or more deserving than others, but are saved by God's mercy alone. It is true that God sets Christians apart and works holiness into their character but the Christian is one who remembers that any good character he/she may now have is only because of God's mercy. We had nothing to do with it. There is no hierarchy of merit in coming to the cross... No one gets to heaven because they are better than anyone else. NO ONE. We are all saved by Christ alone.

    Those who think they are better than others and deserve God's favor show both pride and a COMPLETE misapprehension of the gospel. This is such a foundational truth to Christianity that if anyone thinks he is in heaven because he is better than someone else, then it is pretty safe to say that that person does not know Christ or the gospel.

    Our job is to herald the good news of Christ, not our moral superiority. It is there, in Christ, that God lifts us all up.

    Summary

    The only difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is the sheer mercy of God --- a mercy which opens our eyes to recognize that we are ill-deserving sinners who, by grace realize they have no hope in themselves, have repented of trusting in their own goodness ... and, in fact, that they justly deserve the wrath of God save for Christ's mercy alone ... that there is no possible reconciliation with a holy God when one trusts in his/her own righteousness or merit. And since they cannot save themselves, they call upon the Lord to save them. This does not make the person better than the non-Christian.

    If you take away anything from this article, it should be to remember the following passage in Deuteronomy:
    “Do not say in your heart, after the Lord your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,’ whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out before you. 5 Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.“Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people." - Deut 9:4-6
    Although this Text from Deuteronomy was directed toward the people of Israel, it would be good for all Christians to let it be written upon their hearts, for it is equally true of us. Take note that the Lord repeated His warning of pride three times ... so He must consider it to be something he considers to be supremely important and worth remembering.

    Source: Are Christians Better than Non-Christians? | Monergism

  • #2
    Originally posted by William

    Either way, the fact is that we are not better. Not by a long shot. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once declared in no uncertain terms "Do you think that you deserve forgiveness? If you do, you are not a Christian."

    So true.
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    • #3
      No, Christians are NOT better. We are still rotten, dirty, filthy sinners. The difference is that we are forgiven.

      Do we DESERVE forgiveness? No.

      I deserve to go to hell right now.
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      • #4
        Well -- a born-again believer Is a forgiven sinner. God sees us through Christ's blood -- justification -- just as if I'd never sinned. Pretty Wonderful.

        Unfortunately, some Non-Christians act better than some Christians do. But if they Do, it's because they are trying to work their way to heaven. But their good works are Not going to get them there.
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        • #5
          1 Corinthians 12:4-14 [NIV]
          4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. 12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

          2 Corinthians 5:16-21 [NIV]
          16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

          Ephesians 1:3-14 [NIV]
          3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

          Ephesians 2:1-10 [NIV]
          1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

          Ezekiel 36:26-27 [NIV]
          26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.


          While I freely admit and whole-heartedly agree that it is due to no merit of ours, it makes me nervous when Christians start to talk about themselves as being of NO value. Unless all these verses (and many more) are false, we cannot claim that there is NO difference between a Christian and a Non-Christian. There is a huge difference ... both in this life and the next. The credit just does not belong to us or as Eph 2:9 says it "not by works, so that no one can boast." ... except God.

          Soli Deo gloria!


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