Maybe because it's one am, and I can't sleep, I have been thinking and meditating on my faith. I have been reading The Way of the Master by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. This has a lot to do with my current line of thought.
I have always believed in God. The God of the Bible. I believe that the Bible is His written Word. But, I've always had a part of me that has a problem with Modern Christianity. I could never fully put my finger on it. But I knew it had to do with the abundance of once-a-week Christians. Hypocrisy is rampant in the church. But why? If those who claim to love the Lord aren't showing it, then what is wrong?
I am finally starting to get some answers. Well, they are starting to come together anyway. It comes down to God's Law. Modern Christianity teaches that we are no longer under the Law of God (eg the 10 Commandments). That Jesus, by grace, has taken us out from under the Law. Yet, Jesus himself said that he didn't come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. So, what did He mean?
If we look to the 10 Commandments, we can see ourselves for who we really are. We have all broken them. But to what extent? And does it matter, as long as we are basically 'good'? What is the definition of 'good'? Well, take the commandment that says Thou Shalt Not Kill. Well, I have never murdered anyone. But, the Bible says that God sees Hatred as Murder. Uh, Oh. That's one I have harboured in the past. Thou Shalt Not Steal. Well, I don't see myself as a thief. But, then I have been given too much change before, and not mentioned it. Even now, I get tempted not to point it out when that happens. Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbour. Man, where do I start on that one? I am ALWAYS jealous of what so-and-so has that I don't. I am really starting to get the idea that I have broken a whole lot of God's Laws.
Now, if we break man's laws, we can be taken to court, fined, jailed, etc. Not something we ever want to happen to us, but something we expect to happen to anyone who wrongs us!! We have this God-given sense of justice. We know in our hearts when justice has (or hasn't) been served.
Well, in God's position of judge, he can only be just if we are punished for breaking the Law. To overlook our transgressions, would be to say that good and evil are subjective. That they don't really matter. But, therein lies a quandry. And that is, that God is Love. Now, if I love my child, and that child commits a crime, what is my responsibility? Well, some would complain that the justice system is unfair on poor Johnny. Some would wash their hands of Johnny and all his acts. And some, especially if he was truly sorry, would help Johnny out - maybe paying his fine for him if he was completely unable too.
Well, out of love, that is what God did. He paid our fine. But to understand that, we have to understand that we NEEDED Him too. We commited the crime, but He did the time! But, if we don't understand the DEPTH of our sinfulness (or darkness, or badness, or selfishness), then we won't be truly grateful for what He has done. We need to understand that the only options for us are Hell (a word that is not very popular in it's true meaning), and Heaven (via grace). But that Grace can only come once we have become fully and painfully aware of our shortcomings. We can NEVER be GOOD enough for Him. Now, God loves good. He rewards good. But no matter how much good we do, we will still be guilty of breaking the Law.
If a paedophile has donated millions to children's charities, do we say to him 'oh, well that's ok then. Your generosity outdoes your crimes'? Of course not! And, in fact, we would do all we could to have a judge who thought this was ok stricken from the register! Yet, somehow, we seem to think that we can apply that same line of thinking to ourselves.
It is simply not trendy to talk about sin, and wrongdoing, and selfishness. We all think we are doing ok. We think, if there is a God, He will surely overlook such 'minor' things. We think He is here to be at our beck and call. His job is to sit up in Heaven, and hand out blessings. Healing the sick, Helping us win lots of money, Keeping us safe. Or we say that there can't be a God, because if there was, His job would be to prevent catastrophe and suffering.
Says who? God is God. Not a creature we can put in a box and tell what to do. He is the Boss. The King of Kings. The Lord of Lords. I have totally got to get over myself and realise that. I am here for Him. Not the other way round. And yet, He loves me enough to show me how I can be in relationship with Him. Not because I deserve it. I don't. But, because He loves me enough to pay the price for my crimes. Not to overlook them. Not to have a double standard that says we can bribe Him by being His 'friend'. We cannot go to Him on Judgement Day and say 'but I did such-and-such in Your Name'. We cannot impress Him. We are ONLY forgiven by His paying the extremely high price of our sins. But unless we understand that we deserve the punishment, how can we ever be grateful that he has saved us from it?
And that is what is wrong with Modern Christianity. We have been told to come to Him. He is good. He is love. He will improve your life. He is your own personal genie.
Sorry folks. That's not how it works. He is righteousness. He is justice. He is perfection. He is worthy. He is the one who gives us our every breath. And until we realise this, we cannot come into the beauty of His glory, His love, His goodness.
I spent so many years asking God why? Why me? Why am I always sick? Why have my kids had various ailments? Why am I poor? Why, why, why? But, Praise God, He has bought me to a place, where I can say that I will trust Him. I will trust His judgement in giving me a precious baby with Down Syndrome. I will trust Him when I am laid up with broken bones. I will trust Him when I am feeling ill. Not my will, but His.
And as for the Great Commission. Sharing my faith. It is something I did with gusto when I was a new Christian. But all my 'converts' didn't last. I didn't get it. Until now. Now, I know that I was promising them something that God never did. I told them they would have 'Peace, Joy, Love'. That's not a reason to come to Christ. We should come because we owe Him. We are actually allowed to come to Him out of a Holy fear of the torment that follows the Judgement. So I kept quiet about God. I have kept His offer of Eternal Life a secret.
There are many out there who will hate what I have to say. And there will be times I will offend people. But I am coming to understand, that if I say I care about others, then I HAVE to care about their eternal well-being. Hell is not just where the party-goers spend their afterlife. Hell is a real place of eternal torment. I cannot bear the thought of another person going there.
I am sorry if this has offended you. I am no better than the next person. I deserve to be punished. But I have been saved. Something that I am not worthy of. And something that I am bound to share. I am bound by my Love for Him. And I am bound by my Love for You. Anything less would be to make me like a fireman who is so busy sucking up to the boss, that he fails to save a trapped child in a fire. Something that many in the Modern Church is guilty of. Something that I am guilty of.