“You’re not like the other boys,” she said. “They’re only after one thing! You don’t act like that. Your language is decent. You’ve got good manners. You’re really different.”
This is often the stated reaction to Christian behavior in many other areas of life as well. It has to do with that “different” Book and “different” Savior we talked about last December.
Many of our pastors have heard it said, when people go through instruction: “Your church sure is different from what I expected it to be. And God and His Word are sure different from what I had imagined beforehand.”
We know why. God declares us to be different. Just like Moses said back in Exodus 11, on the occasion of the tenth plague: “The Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.” Moses was just quoting what God had said on the occasion of the fourth plague, back in chapter 8.
This declaration puts us in mind of the doctrine of justification — the declaration of “not guilty!” We are different because of Christ. He was with His Church at the Exodus, and is with her now.
Two opposing concepts in Scripture, oddly enough, have something in common. One concept is “sinfulness.” The other is “holiness.” That they are opposites is obvious. What they have in common is that both denote “separateness” or “differentiation.” Stay with me.
For example, in Isaiah 59:2 God says: “Your iniquities have separated you from your God.” This means we are different from what God originally created and intended us to be. Made originally in the “likeness” of God, man is now distinctively unlike God. Throughout Scripture “sin” marks this discrepancy. Sin is separation. Sinful man is “set apart” from his God. Quite a distinctive category.
Set Apart Indeed
The Bible clearly teaches this. The word “bible” means book. We call it “holy” because it is “different.” Here God provides us a written revelation that is separate from all other writings. You might want to paste a new label on the front of your Bible which says “Different Book” or “This Book is Different from all other books in the whole world!” That is exactly what the title “Holy Bible” means. This book is in a class by itself, set apart from all other so-called sacred writings. It is just plain different. And why? Because, for one thing, it depicts our sinfulness as no other book can. But more — it describes and bestows such a different solution. It removes sinfulness and confers its opposite!
With the Easter Season upon us, we think of the big difference ahead for us. Jesus shall change our lowly bodies to be fashioned like His glorious body. “We shall all be changed.” Our lives and life itself in heaven will be vastly different from here.
At the conclusion of the great Resurrection Chapter (1 Corinthians 15) we have the injunction: “. . . be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord . . . .” This is a call to exercise the difference bestowed upon us. We are called and named “holy.” We are given the power to show it. So we do it.
We are now different, through faith. We will be different in heaven. We are called to act differently in the here and now. This includes separating from things and sometimes people that are contrary to God. It means separating oneself from one’s fleshly attitudes — that spiritual surgery Jesus calls for in Matthew 5: “pluck it out . . . cut it off!” It will mean starting and continuing to live as Romans 12 says: ” . . . by the mercies of God . . . present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy (different) . . . not conformed to this world, but transformed . . . .”
Be different! Girlfriends should notice it. People who eventually become friends of Christ through the Word we bear will have noticed it too.
— Pastor Warren Fanning