What is a Worldly Christian?

The question is sort of an enigma or even an oxymoron. We wonder how this could be true, but it is sadly to say frequently true. Too often it is difficult to distinguish Christian believers from non-Christians. Why? Values and behaviors seem similar. Church groups are plagued with the same problems as secular groups. Christians are promised a new life in Christ but sometimes this new life is not much different from the old life of the world.

The apostle Paul confronts this condition in his first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 3:1. “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ.” Two thousand years later this same condition exists. Paul identifies some believers as “worldly Christians” who are like infants in spiritual development. Their guide for living is the ways of the world rather than the way of Christ. They are friends of Jesus but not true followers. Jesus is their Savior but not yet their Lord. The Bible is not their instruction book for life. They stay tuned to the message of the culture not the Word of God. They do not renew their minds with the Scriptures.

When we come by faith to know Jesus as our Savior, we are led by the Holy Spirit into a new life. The Bible calls it being ‘born again’. We have a new purpose, serving God and building His kingdom. We have a new joy, forgiveness of sin. We have a new power, the Holy Spirit. We have a new life, one that is good, pleasing, and eternal. It is a transformation that is as real as a caterpillar changing into a butterfly. Worldly Christians are intended to be transformed into the spiritual Christians, new creations in Christ, His ambassadors.