There is a rising amount of skepticism in our day towards Christianity. There is a need for Christians to defend the faith. As the claims of Bible inaccuracy and contradictions are thrown out by the unbelieving world, we must be apologists who will defend the truth. An apologist is one who makes a defense in speech or writing of a belief or idea. The word apologist comes from the Greek word apologia which is found in First Peter 3:15: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
While that kind of apology is needed, today’s use of “apology” is not. An apology today can mean written or spoken expression of one’s regret, a defense, or excuse in speech or writing. There is a huge push for political correctness in America right now. Christians are often crippled by this idea that we must never offend anyone. Christians must never aim to offend anyone, but if the truth rubs someone the wrong way, we must never be sorry for truth. We should be happy to be Christians (Phil. 4:4), and never be sorry or apologetic about what we believe or profess. Here are some things we must never apologize for.
BELIEF IN THE BIBLE
The Bible is not an archaic living manual from cave man days as some suppose. The Bible is the inspired Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17) and contains everything we need for life and godliness. God’s Word contains the only message that can save man from an eternity separated from God (Mt. 25:41; Rom. 1:16). Many Christians believe these truths about the Bible, yet we sometimes become ashamed and think we must apologize for the inspired text.
Sometimes we try and soften the blow the Bible deals to certain practices. For fear of seeming to be too dogmatic we will say “well, that’s just what I believe.” The question is why do you believe it? There is no authority in a belief just because a group of people affirms it. The authoritative document—the Bible—ought to determine our belief. We should not shy away from echoing Biblical truths.
We need to pray for conviction and boldness in this effort (Eph. 6:18-19; Phil. 1:19-20). We don’t need to make apologies for the clear-cut truths of scripture, regardless of how convicting and challenging they may be. Whether the subject is marriage, drinking, lying, or fornication. The Bible doesn’t beg to be apologized for, just obeyed. There is no apology necessary.
A casual reading of the Bible will show that God expects His people to be holy (Lev. 11:44; 1 Pet. 1:15-16). “Holy” carries the idea of being set apart for God’s purpose—sanctified, pure, and special. The Christian life is one of holiness, and this is something we are constantly working at. There is the temptation, however, when surrounded by family and friends, especially during holidays, to apologize for our holiness.
When people are recklessly gulping down spiked egg nog, or telling crude jokes, sometimes we walk away or sit among them silently. There are those that may even recognize that we are Christians and may say “I’m sorry to offend you” or something of this nature. We shouldn’t make it seem like sin is no big deal to us. Sin is a big deal to God, and therefore it must also be a big deal for God’s people. The accusations that one thinks he is “holier than thou” will come (an abuse of Isa. 65:5 in the King James) but this must not shame us. The Christian is not holier than any other human because of merit alone, but because of the blood of Christ.
God commands that there be a distinction between his people and the world (2 Cor. 6:17-18). That line of distinction is called holiness. Paul tells Christians that as a result of obeying the gospel, some things should not be even named among them. Notice how the NIV words it: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” (Eph. 5:3-4).
God’s word is clear, things such as fornication, crude joking, and all impurity shouldn’t even be in the same sentence as a name of a Christian. The Christian has a duty to his God to be holy, and he doesn’t have to apologize for this. Holiness doesn’t result from arrogance, but rather from a sense of accountability (2 Pet. 3:10-12). Are you striving to live holy for God in the midst of a wicked world (1 Jn. 5:19)? Don’t feel guilty about holy living, there is no apology necessary.
THE EXCLUSIVE NATURE OF CHRISTIANITY
Some people believe you can follow any religion and go to heaven. They believe that all religions are the same, all just taking different roads to the same place. Jesus says that while there are different roads, they do not all lead to the same place (Mt.7:13-14, 21-23). When the Christian affirms that Jesus is not one of many ways, but the only way to heaven, this may make some cringe, but it doesn’t change the truth of the statement (Jn. 14:6).
Jesus is not simply a good moral teacher—He is the Christ, God in the flesh, and the only way to reconciliation with God (Jn. 1:29; 8:24). So the moral atheist, the benevolent Buddhist, the mild tempered Muslim, and the conservative Jew who do not bow to the Son of God have a problem. This is not popular, but it is true. There is hope of course, but the authority of Jesus must be realized and submitted to if one would ever know the joy of forgiven sin and eternal bliss with God (1 Tim. 1:13-16).
When a Christian is asked “Do you really believe only Christians are going to heaven?” they do not have to shy away from the question. The answer is, “yes I do, and I also believe that anyone can become a Christian.” Jesus does not need us to apologize for Him but instead be faithful to Him (Mt. 10:22). In a world where pluralism prevails and tolerance is the chief virtue, we must not compromise what is true. We do men no favors when we tell them temporary lies that soothe the heart, only to eternally wound their soul. Jesus died an excruciating death, gave up eternal joy in heaven, and demands exclusive worship and recognition (Phil. 2:5-11). When it comes to the exclusive nature of Christ and Christianity don’t apologize for Jesus. There is no apology necessary
WHEN WE NEED TO APOLOGIZE
One man said as it relates to faith and conviction of Christianity, “I would be afraid to be ashamed, and ashamed to be afraid.” When we shy away from our Lord, we need to be apologetic and repentant toward Him (2 Cor. 7:10). We need to stand up and be bold for Christ, He was bold for us (2 Tim. 2:12-13). When we fail, as did the apostle Peter on one occasion, we need to have a tender heart and return to faithfulness toward the one who is never apologetic for owning us (Lk. 22:60-62). We need to apologize to the God of heaven whenever we find ourselves apologizing to men over things we should be glad to uphold. Have you ever thought about the fact that we are God’s “bragging rights” in the heavenly realm (Eph. 3:10-12)? He is not ashamed of us, and we shouldn’t be ashamed of Him!