FALLACIES ABOUT CHRISTIANITY
Christianity isn’t about what we must do to earn God’s love and pardon, but about living out of the joy of God’s love for us, through Jesus. What really cements in the cause for joy in Christianity is that, what Christ did, He did while we were still drenched in our sin. If He loved us then, what more do we need to understand the unconditional nature of His love?
When I first began coming to church again more than 10 years ago, I didn’t fully understand this about the Christian faith. Christianity meant smiling and being nice, because I was under the impression from childhood, that a person is supposed to be happier and nicer when they believe in Christ as Lord. But that isn’t even a morsel of what Christianity is about. When He said “Take heart!”, He wasn’t commanding that we suppress the way we feel when we suffer, nor to pretend as though the effects of sin don’t cause tremendous pain; rather, He was encouraging us not to lose hope while living in this troubled, sin-scarred world, despite our suffering—because ultimately, He had overcome the world.
The joy of Christianity is knowing there is nothing we need to do, or could ever do, to prove we are good enough to be a child of God. It is because God knew we could never measure up that He sent His Son, who more than measured up, to take our place in the judgment seat for our sins. The joy of knowing Jesus did this on our behalf, and then resurrected, is what Christianity is all about. Faith in Christ looks like the joy of having the humbleness and gratitude for God’s love and peace in this moment, and, eternity to look forward to with God, despite the adversities and pain of this world.
NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM HIS LOVE
I was raised in a Catholic church, associated with a Catholic school, and I don’t remember a time when what was preached, taught, or encouraged, was how much God loves us in Jesus Christ. His unmeasurable, unquantifiable love is beyond our comprehension, and so many times, we live as though we believe we are unlovable. This is one of the plethora of consequences of sin on Earth: lies, meant to deviate us from the truth of God’s Word, which is: “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)
If nothing can separate us from God’s love, why is it so hard to believe all day and night? Why does life in this world hurt so much? God knows this is the way sin affects us, which is why it’s vital that we read God’s Word and know His heart, to remember His love is indelibly true, no matter what life is doing on the outside of His Word.
NOTHING CAN CHANGE WHAT WAS JESUS DID
Christianity is about God’s love for us, and submitting ourselves and our lives to God in word and action out of reverence and thankgiving for Him. Sometimes, we confuse the actions of “living for God” with any action or attempt to prove to God that we can be worth His love. Sometimes we forget that we can’t make ourselves look acceptable and good to God by anything we do. The only One who makes that difference is Jesus Christ. The way we carry ourselves out of faith in Christ as our Lord is what God is looking for.
In saying with our mouths and believing in our hearts that Jesus is Lord, we never have to prove anything. What we must do is repent, confess our sins with honesty and humility, and give to God the weight of our shame. We do this in faith that He truly has taken our sins away from us, and has forgotten them. If we live as though any one of our sins could change God’s love for us, then not only is our joy lost, but our misplaced doubt in God’s ability to remove our sins prevents us from experiencing His grace. Our fears or doubts distract us from the truth, and in our doubt, we end up saying no to God’s authority to forgive, calling Him a powerless liar.
What Jesus descended to Earth to do for us, no one can undo. No human or any other being could ever change the course of the future outcome, based on what Jesus did on the cross. The end result is final. Sin has been conquered and death has lost the fight for our eternal souls. There is nothing that could ever change this. These, again, are parts of the joy of Christianity: Believing and receiving Jesus’s invitation into relationship, being loved by Him unconditionally, and loving others in response to His love.
MEANT FOR MORE THAN THIS WORLD
With these truths in mind, how does it feel knowing there is nothing else required of us but to live out His will for our lives, and to love others like Christ? The transient, corporeal pleasures of this world cannot measure up to the inner joy of feeling loved beyond measure in spirit. No amount of energy or time spent with anyone or anything could ever satisfy us or fulfill us to completion, the way Jesus’ love can satiate us.
No amount of knowledge or life experience, no fame, wealth, or any form of status could ever give to us what God’s love does. His love reminds us of our identity in Christ Jesus, helping us recognize who we are in God’s eyes, not in the world’s eyes.
The world is full of condemnation, judgment, cunning, cajoling, bribing, betraying—the myriad list of corruption is endless. Not as endless as the ephemeral ways of this world trying to buy our souls is God’s love; having purchased our souls by the blood of Jesus for eternal peace, purpose, and love. When we experience God’s love through the Truth of Jesus Christ, there is no unseeing the different way the world looks through our new faith-lens. We can come to understand that we were created for more than this world has to offer.
CHANGED FOREVER IN THE HEART
When we understand the power behind God’s love, that Jesus did the very thing we could never do, our lives change forever. We can understand peace in the here and now by asking Jesus to pour out His Spirit on us. Christianity was never meant to be a religion, where we invest more attention in the fear of sin and Hell than to gratitude for God’s gift of faith. Faith in Christ was meant to show itself through what it looks like for a person to receive Jesus into their hearts, where who we are matters most. It is from there that our actions and words begin to change from our sin-nature to our Christ-like nature, blessing others by the Holy Spirit in us (Matthew 15:18).
How can we show love to someone today to express the gratitude we have for how Christ sees us (He loves us!), what He did for us (Salvation), and what He wants for us (fulfillment)?
Be blessed, everyone!