A promise and a lie
So why Christianity? I mean, many people suffer across the world and it would seem that Christianity does nothing for them, right? Why in the world would I think that a man named Jesus who lived a few thousand years ago would be any different, is any more worthwhile, is any more deserving of our obedience, is any more divine? What does Jesus offer that no other religion (or lack of religion) can offer? Grace. You see, literally every religion on the planet centers around human effort to climb the divine mountain in a pursuit of a “god”. Christianity is opposite, God came to us. The understanding of that statement alone brings Muslim converts to the Christian table. Trust is the essence of faith, a great pastor name David Platt would say “faith is the anti-work”. You see the only God and the God of the Bible did all of the work, we simply must have faith in that completed work which will then result in a transformed life.
My childhood was filled with a chaotic harmony of joy and pain. The majority of the joy most certainly orbited around Christ and His followers. I was introduced to the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ at a Christian youth camp. I recognized my need for a savior, though I wouldn’t say that I truly understood what it meant to “follow” Him though I definitely had the desire. I needed someone to walk with and to teach me the intricacies of what it means to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. I didn’t have that for a very long time. I was told that I was good, I was “saved” after all. The more I learn about Christ and His followers in the New Testament and throughout history, the more I dislike the term. Let me explain.
A quick google search of the definition of the word save means to “keep safe or rescue (someone or something) from harm or danger. Now I most certainly believe that this is true of Christians, but there is a better way to describe a Christian. This word is “convert” which means “cause to change in form, character, or function”. Now this word captures what it means to follow Christ in a potent kind of way. You see I believe that there are many people who believe that they are “saved” but are not “converted”. They would claim the benefits of being kept safe from the wrath of God, but they are not willing to follow, to change or to pursue Christ. They use Christ as an insurance policy after death. In the end, they are not converted and do not know Christ resulting in Jesus declaring that He doesn’t know them.
Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? And then will I declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness. – Jesus
Now this stands in stark contrast to the Christianity that is sold today. We are told about Christ and we are told to pray a prayer (mainly scripted mind you) and then we are informed that when we have successfully accomplished those steps, boom that’s it, SAVED! Now as I mentioned in the beginning of this blog post that Christianity is different. Well, not this version of it (I use the word version lightly, not that Christianity has versions) This version has a clear and cut checklist of steps (stairs on the mountain) to check off in order to gain salvation. This is the intricate nature of clear and total deception. Such a small distortion sets in motion a lasting echo that deceives millions. I was decieved. This is pseudo christianity which isn’t Christianity at all. It is simply a cultural identifier.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
What a beautiful promise from God himself. That he literally came down from heaven (descended the mountain for us) and that he will never cast out those who truly believe and follow Him. This is the hope in the midst of deception and pain, that no matter what, God will never lose anyone that He sets his affection towards. He came to save sinners from themselves and sinners he will most certainly save. In the end those who are saved will experience a life transforming conversion from one thing to another and God is at the epicenter of this earth shattering transformation. What a promise and hope that Christianity offers to the world like nothing else in all of existence. What a stark contrast to atheism which offers pitiless indifference to all who live and die; Christ offers a beautiful reason to live…