When you ask someone why they don’t like Christianity…you’ll often hear “it’s just a bunch of rules.” I don’t need a book to tell me how to be a good person.
If that was true, I wouldn’t want to be part of this religion either.
But it’s not true…that’s the religion that Jesus came to get rid of, and not his hope for us.
Here’s the version of Christianity that people are usually describing:
1)Obey God’s laws
2)God will accept you
3)He’ll provide you with loving care
4)He’ll give you a new status, as a servant of God.
This is a law religion, the kind of thing the Pharisees liked to promote. Jesus didn’t have very nice things to say about that!
The problem is – no one has ever obeyed God’s laws perfectly enough to earn God’s love. Actually, there was one person – Jesus. He knew our hopeless situation, and did something about it.
Jesus was all about grace.
This involves the same steps, but in a different order.
1)God loves and accepts you…unconditionally
2)God will provide you with loving care. He wants to be part of your life today, not some day in the future.
3)God will give you a new status: Child of God
4)You may want to return God’s favour with thanksgiivng.
A friend asked a youth group one day why they follow their parent’s rules…because of course they all do!
Is it because if they do, they’ll someday find their name in their parent’s will, and inherit tons of money?
No! They do it because their parents provide them with good things…here and now. Food, shelter, love, education, so on.
Yet this is how many of us approach God. If we are good, do what we’re told, we’ll someday inherit his kingdom.
Instead of realizing he loves us as his children now, provides us with good things now, and obedience can be our way of saying thanks.
Unfortunately our society completely operates on un-grace —on having to earn your place in life—by being smart enough, good looking enough, funny enough—you name it, we have to earn our way in this life…..
but not so with God. God is standing there as our loving Father with his arms open, wanting to welcome us home.
In grace…we are given God’s love, care and fatherhood as free gifts, even before having proven ourselves worthy, and that gives us a lot to live up to!
How do you see our world operating on law, and how would it change if more people knew about grace?