What Is The Essence of Christianity?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.
Beloved let me tell you a story:
A young boy, scruffy, short, draped in black, and donning a denim vest riddled with patches from his favorite punk and metal bands came to his friends youth group. Gavin was the boys name, and he was presented with a classic presentation of the gospel with all the bells and whistles that deck out our contemporary evangelical interpretation of the gospel. Gavin went home that night, drifted off to sleep, and dreamt about the eternal fires that awaited him if the youth pastors message was true. Gavin awoke the next morning and promptly decided he would not take his chances and began to believe in Jesus. The next week Gavin returned to the youth group and declared his new found faith, and he was immediately greeted with cheers and hugs! But then the youth pastor informed the baby christian that in order to really follow Jesus Gavin would first need to burn all his secular albums, and ditch his wardrobe. Gavin was shocked, since the message was presented as a free gift, yet apparently in the eyes of this evangelical youth leader, there is some fine print in the deal that he just so happened to overlook in his presentation of the Gospel. Gavin left the youth group that night, feeling Jesus duped him, and Gavin added Jesus’ name to a very long list of traitors who are only trying to take what they can from him. He left the church and has yet to return.
Beloved this is a very familiar story in our churches today. What happened? When did the good news become a shady contract, with fine print? When did God become a used car salesman? Beloved these verses above describe that Christianity, at its core, is not about heaven and hell, it is not about religious repentance, it is not a deal we cut with God in which we promise to be good little children, and He promises He won’t kick us into eternal damnation. No! Beloved the message has been distorted, we have been lied to, and we are missing out on the simplicity, purity, and beauty that is the blessedness of Christianity!
“For God so loved the world,” beloved the eternal flame of divine passion swirling about in the inner most being of our Abba compelled Him to action. This action was to rescue us, not from hell, but from the punishment we incurred because of our sin. God Himself stepped in and took our guilt and condemnation upon Himself in order to completely remove it for all time! He stepped in, not to give us a new set of rules to follow, but to bring us home and to unite Himself to us forever! You are loved my friend deeply and passionately with an everlasting love! A flame that never dies! regardless of your behavior, regardless of your inconsistent faith, regardless of your shoddy attempts at living a holy life! God loves you and has fully saved you because that is who He is! Praise God!
What if the good news is that God, compelled by love, has made a way to bring us home once and once for all, not so we can become good boys and girls following a strict moral path, but simply because He likes us and desires us? What if the death of Christ has fully consumed every bit of punishment you and I deserved due to our sin ridden lives, and now sin is a non-issue for the average Christian? What if this whole thing does not center around your “transformation,” but rather centers around your inclusion into the family of God as a true child of His, and around your union with Him, in which He has infused Himself with you? What if God is actually demanding nothing from you and giving everything to you?
Beloved welcome to Christianity! Welcome to true sonship and the very reason God clothed Himself in humanity and poured Himself out for us! My friend Christianity is purely and simply a never ending love affair between us and God in which we are swept away in pure ecstasy as He continually showers us with pure love and affection!
Beloved we are so fixated on sin because we forgot that Christianity is not a way of living, but that Christ is the Way and the Life! The cross is suppose to be the place where our consciousness of sin is forever annihilated, but instead to many it is a stumbling block and a place that exposes failure rather than completely removing it!
Beloved, hear me today! The Gospel is the good news that God is crazy in love with us and although He is just, and our wrongs deserve punishment, He chose to take all the punishment for us because He wanted to be with us forever! Whether you burn your secular music or not is irrelevant when you realize Christianity is about entering into a living relationship with God and not about Jesus trying to create an army of moral superstars. The Gospel is what He did compelled by love to simply be with us, love us, and receive us as His very own children!
My friends let us all throw up our hands and choose to simply rest in the simple gospel. Let us cease or striving, trying, and fighting to prove to God we are good people! Lets just dare to let Him love us as we are! Let us leap headlong into the fire of His compassion and be consumed! Lets cast off religion and the poison that comes with it and just live as sons and daughters!