Can a ‘good Christian’ really be a Christian at all? And further: Can a person be a true Christian, and climb the ladder in politics? Can a person stay true to his faith and be a winning lawyer, or a successful businessman? Or, are there too many deals that have to be cut, corners to be rounded, and half-truths to be told?
Think about these questions alongside the story of the ruler who came to Jesus and said, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life.” Jesus immediately turned it around and attacked his ‘loose’ use of the word ‘good.’ “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.”
So perhaps we should put the term ‘good Christian’ to rest. True Christians are all, each and every one, sinners saved by grace. We came to Jesus, not because we were so good, but because we weren’t. He alone, as God, is good. And so we will not find Christians who are true to the Gospel going about telling how good they are. We are to be witnesses to God’s grace, not our own goodness.
Now, as for the other questions: Admittedly, we live in a world that works against Christian integrity, like rushing water eroding away sandstone. It is hard to stand for truth and mercy. It is a brutal battle, always trying to put the other person’s interest first. It requires death to self in order to love the unlovely. And, you and I are not all that good. And if you dare enter a field in which the current of this world blows directly into your face, as in politics, or law, or business - can you really expect to rise to the top? Isn’t it just selfish ambition that is going to require you to make pragmatic choices that blur the lines and blot out the light of His glory?
Not necessarily. God, throughout history, has placed His men and women, and students, in positions of power and influence. And they succeeded (and often suffered). But we must understand that they did not succeed because they were so good. It was not due to their ladder-climbing abilities, nor their skills at slicing and dicing. It was not their highest aim to be powerful or influential or even successful, at all. It was their goal to walk with God, and to honor Him in the small things - to stick close to His Word and His Son - and then to let God chart the course and win the day. In other words, for a Christian to rise to the top in this world and retain his/her integrity, well, it takes a miracle. Thankfully, miracles happen.