Much of what we consider to be church today is actually a waste of time. We go through our religious routines and do our spiritual duties once a week and continue on with our lives as though nothing has happened. God, it seems, has no room in our lives except to an hour or two on a Sunday. Or maybe we have a small “quiet time” and pray our list and read a couple chapters in our bibles and consider our duty to God has been fulfilled. And yet this is not what Christianity was to be about.
Christianity, according to scripture is supposed to make a difference in our lives. 1 Peter 2:9 “tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted” If Christianity hasn’t made a major difference in your life that others can see, then we need to re-evaluate our faith. People look at us who call ourselves Christians and see no difference between their lives and ours. Statistically we have the same habits, spend our time in the same pursuits, watch the same movies and television. In fact statistically the only difference we have as Christians from those outside our faith is that our divorce rate is much higher. And we wonder why people don’t want what we have. I don’t wonder. There are some days where I look at what the church has become that I don’t want it either. We are a long way from what God designed and planned us to be.
God’s plan for the church is for us to not be a natural church, but for us to be a supernatural church. We were meant to have the power of God flowing in and through us on a daily basis. If you visit different churchs from various denominations around North America, you would find little differences, other than maybe styles of music and teaching. And it wouldn’t matter what faith you visited. And yet Christianity is supposed to know God’s presence and it is very lacking in our services and lives. But if we were to visit many churches in many third world and developing nations, you would experience God in them. God’s presence if so real it is almost tangible for them. Daily miracles and healings are documented, and not documented by the churches, but by medical science and those outside the church. People are seeing who have never seen before. People are hearing and walking and talking. People are even being raised from the dead. And the church in North America which calls itself by the same God is barren and quiet. God seems to be absent. Why is this so? I think there are 3 reasons
- We don’t understand the Christian Cause
- We don’t understand what Christianity Costs
- We don’t understand how Christianity is Communicated
We don’t understand the Christian Cause;
Christianity is not about going to church. Nor is it about confirmation and communion or all the other rituals we attribute to our faith. So if Christianity is non of the things we attribute it to, what is it really? Lets start at the beginning.
Christianity is about our need for a Saviour. We have missed out on the plan that God had for us. The bible states that we have missed the standard that God requires of us. God’s standard to be in heaven is absolute moral perfection. “Be holy even as I am holy” the bible says, and “Without holiness noone can see God”. We all know what it is to tell a lie, or to steal. We say but these are such minor issues. I have never murdered anyone, or commited adultery. But these are areas where we have fallen short of God’s standard. And if we look at scripture we have all murdered and commited adultery. The bible says that if we have hated someone it is the same in God’s eyes as commiting murder, and if we have lusted after someone we are not married to we have commited adultery, so we have fallen short and missed the mark that is God’s standard. And the cost of missing the mark is that we are and remain separated from God, and as a result of that separation are condemned to an eternity in hell. “But” you would say “if God is so loving how can He send me to hell?” But the cause of us being in hell isn’t God’s fault, it is ours. Asking how God can send me to hell is the same as shooting someone and then asking the judge how he can send you to jail, and in some places death row. Hell is a result of our actions not God’s. Then you state that you have been a good person and have helped the poor and done so many good things so then you should be able to go to heaven. Unfortunately, compared to God’s holiness, our attempts at good deeds are about as nice as a bin of old oily rags. They simply don’t measure up. Nothing we can do can cause us to measure up to God’s standard.
So what can we do? Well scriptures say that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to pay our penalty and allow us access to Him once again. Because of Jesus the separation between God and us can be broken. Jesus came into the world not to condemn the world but so that through Him the world could be saved. He came to save us from eternity in hell and offer us eternal life.
Christianity is about eternal life. But what is eternal life? Christianity is not about living forever. Every person concieved lives forever, which is why abortion is such a horrible thing to God. So if eternal life is not living forever what is it? The bible states what eternal life is. John 17:3 states “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” The word KNOW in the greek literally means to be intimate with. Eternal life is simply and deep and intimate relationship with God. Nothing more and nothing less. This is why Christianity is so life changing. When you get close to God you cannot help but change. We have made Christianity so complicated and so full of rules and regulations and we have totally missed what it is about. Simply a relationship with The One who created you and loves you so deeply that He sacrificed Himself to pay your penalty so that your could come to know Him deeply and intimately and enjoy each others company for eternity. If we can come to God on those terms we can have that relationship with Him. It is about asking Him to forgive us for missing the mark and allowing Him to change us and bring us into relationship with Him.
In my next posts I will continue my thoughts and share about what Christianity Costs and Communicating our faith.