Is it possible for people living today simply to be New Testament Christians? Can we be first-century Christians in the twenty-first century? So much is said today about “change”—and much change is evident. Computers, communications, and candidates are constantly changing. Must the gospel be changed to fit a changing world, or is the message of Christ’s sacrifice still enough for today (1 Corinthians 15:1–4)?
Man has not changed. In what is thought to be the oldest book in the Bible (Job), Job’s friend said that man “drinks iniquity like water!” (Job 15:16). That could be a description of people today. People now struggle with the same greed, lust, and bitterness as those of previous generations. Human nature today is as it was yesterday. Man has always been given the choice of good or evil (Deuteronomy 11:26) and has always—to some degree—chosen evil (Romans 3:23).
Man’s problem has not changed. In Noah’s days, people were wicked; “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). In our day sin is still our problem. Man is sinful, ungodly. “There is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). There is not even one accountable person who has not sinned (Romans 3:10, 23). Our problem is a common problem—sin.
Man’s hope has not changed. Jesus is our only hope. Paul spoke of “Christ . . . the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Jesus “bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). Without this death, man would be without hope. “Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). Man’s hope is in the fact that Jesus suffered sin’s penalty in man’s place.
Man is the same; sin is the same; man’s hope is the same. First-century Christianity is possible today. Through a return to New Testament teaching and in loving obedience to the gospel, we can be Christians only (Acts 2:36–47; Romans 6:1–6). God requires learning of Christ (Romans 10:17), belief in Christ (John 3:16), repentance of sin (Acts 2:38), confession of faith (Romans 10:9–10), and baptism (Mark 16:16). Have you obeyed the gospel? If not, now is the time!—adapted from Charles Box