Maybe I should have spoken up, but lately, I’ve heard people express the same misconception of Christianity, on a couple of different occasions.
They all have to do with an underlying idea that Christians are “do-gooders” living by rules for the sake of “being good”.
I refer to comments like, “Oh, they dance/drink? I thought they were a Baptist!” (as if that is all every Baptist is about). Sometimes this is followed by a sarcastic yet jovial, “oh, no, they’re going to hell now!”
But mistaking a lifestyle of principle and conviction for a mechanical “religiosity” is simply missing the mark. If that were so, the question becomes, “How good is good enough?” Does God grade on a sliding scale? How do we know if we have made the cut?
What I’d like to share is that obedience isn’t something you do or don’t do, it’s a desire woven into a heart that seeks to please Christ, and to share the hope of Christ, which is the gospel itself.
It starts with knowing that we are all sinners, fallen human beings not worthy of God, which is quite the opposite of “good enough”.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
So if I was almost perfect, never missed a Sunday, always volunteered at the soup kitchen, never did or thought anything “bad” except that one time way back when, I would still fall short of God’s standards, which is perfection. (Matt. 5:48).
Knowing that we could never measure up, God provided a bridge to Himself through Jesus Christ, who, being God in the form of a man, paid the penalty of our sin by dying on the cross and rising from the dead.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8
“Christ died for our sins… He was buried… He was raised on the third day…(1 Corinthians 15: 3-4)
By faith, through grace we receive His sacrifice as the only way to reconciliation to God.
Which brings me to the reason for obedience. That reason? An overflow of gratitude and a desire to share this good news. The funny thing is that even our ability to obey is God-given.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:8-10)
When we as believers reflect Christ, we are drawn into a closer fellowship with Him. We grow in our capacity to do His will, and show by the evidence of our lives that obedience is for our good and His glory. We experience the peace and joy that he described when He said,
“I have come that you may have life, and that you may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10)
Has your faith or motives ever been misunderstood? How did you respond to that situation?
Next week: A subject most of us know far too well – Rebellion!