Is being a Christian just about going to church on Sundays? Is being a Christian just about doing the right things in life? Is being a Christian just about attending Sunday School classes? Is being a Christian about being more holy than everybody else?
What does it mean to be a Christian? Is it just another religion? …one of hundreds on this planet? Or is it something greater?
If you live in the U.S. and you’re not a Christian, then I can assume that at least some point in your life, you probably attended a church service somewhere. I would also guess that at some point, some Christian has probably invited you with them to their church. I would also guess that you may have known someone who was one of ‘those’ type of Christians-yes…fanatics. But is Christianity just another religious institution? Something where you attend services each week on a Sunday, dressing up in your best clothes, and then the rest of the week is well…just the rest of the week..?
I will tell you-It’s not just another religion. It’s not just about attending a Sunday worship service. It’s not about trying to live a squeaky-clean life where you go around trying to be ‘holy’ all the time. It’s not about fancy buildings with stained glass windows, wooden pews and a monstrous pipe organ in the church building. It’s not about the televangelists you see on TV asking for money all the time. It’s not about trying to conform to some standard by which people think will get them into Heaven.
It’s not about these things. It’s about the name of Jesus Christ. God has always existed and before Jesus came to this Earth, God worked through the nation of Israel. People were sinful. People still are sinful. Sin not only separates us from God but guess what? You are sin. That’s right. You are sin-without Jesus that is. See, man turned on God. The devil tempted man and he turned. When he did, he not only sinned but became sin. That’s why it’s not about just DOING good things because, well, you’re still sin, regardless of what you do. That’s why Jesus came. That’s why Jesus died on the cross having lived a SINLESS life. He was fully God come as fully human, living life on this Earth just as you and I do. On the cross, he took our sin-all of it-past, present and future. He died on the cross but He rose 3 days later. He defeated death and the devil. Jesus rose into Heaven back to God.
So, what does all this mean right? I mean…that’s just a bunch of theological jargon. Okay, here goes. Jesus died for the sin of all mankind. He died for us so we wouldn’t be eternally punished and separated from God. John 3:16 tells us:
“God so loved this world that He sent His only Son-Jesus-so that whoever would choose to believe in Him (and everything He did) would not die or perish (or be left to themselves even in this life right now) but would be given eternal life (God life-the very life of God residing within a person enabling them talk to God and be free from sin in this life). (paraphrased)
Jesus came so you could have the life of God in you now and for all eternity. You don’t become a Christian by trying to be good. You will never be good enough to be accepted by God. Just one sin-just one wrong thing puts you out of God’s presence forever because God is completely 100% holy-all the time. Jesus did all this for you. All you have to do is believe in Jesus and what He did for you! That’s it. You don’t have to try and get things all right. You don’t have to fix yourself up. YOU CAN’T ANYWAYS! See the next two verses in that same chapter of the Bible say this:
“For God did not send His Son Jesus into the world to condemn the world (for the world was already condemned and completely messed up) but rather, God sent Jesus to save the world!” (John 3:17/paraphrased)
“Whoever chooses to believe in Jesus (and all He did and who He is) will no longer be condemned! But whoever chooses not to believe in Jesus, is already condemned (and will be forever left to themselves and eternal damnation). (John 3:18/paraphrased)
Christianity is God reaching down to people to save them-to do for us what we can never do for ourselves. It’s called ‘Love’. God’s love for us is beyond anything we can imagine and when we choose to believe in Jesus, all our sins are wiped out in God’s eyes. God also promises to empower us with His very Spirit. God comes to live inside of us! When you have God living on the inside of you, you become a different person entirely! This is what is referred to as being born-again! You are REBORN with God’s nature. You can now life a life empowered by God, overcoming bad habits, experiencing victory in your life, having relationship with God Himself!
This whole thing is supposed to be supernatural at its very core. Unfortunately many have turned Christianity into just going to a church service once a week on Sunday morning and that’s it.
But that’s not it! Not even close! You can know God today. You can be forgiven. You can have real life! You can have the promise of eternal life forever AND the promise of God’s life living in you right now! Imagine actually being able to talk to and HEAR from the very God of the universe! That’s right! That’s Christianity. That’s what Jesus paid for on the cross.
The Bible says all we have to do is turn to God and profess our faith in Jesus Christ-that means professing He is God, that He died for your sins, that you repent of who you have been and what you have done, and that you give your life over to Him, to live for God and not yourself. On one hand its simple. We access all of this simply by our faith-our belief. But on the other hand, it requires a complete life commitment. You are making Him Lord of everything you are. You are trading death and failure and emptiness and sin for everything that Jesus is-which is life, peace and victory over sin.
The ball is in your court. You can choose today to follow Jesus and have your life changed forever. It’s up to you! I challenge you today!!!
If you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from death, you will be saved. For it is by our faith that we are put right with God; it is by our confession that we are saved. (Romans 10:9-10/GNT)