Let’s face it. It seems that converting our friends and families to become believers in Christ has gotten tougher and tougher. As ambassadors of Jesus, we are finding that this society we live in doesn’t seem to be very attracted to what we are trying to sell them. If we’re ever going to bring change, then we need to start by being honest…we are doing something wrong!
Our friends and family are struggling. We live in a world that is unforgiving, critical and harsh. And unfortunately, the message that the church has sent out to them is basically the same message that the world has given them…”You need to do better…you are not good enough!”
The truth is that as Christians, we don’t even truly understand what we are supposed to be selling to the world. We want them to know that Jesus will keep them out of Hell. We are quick to share with them that believing in Jesus will help them to stop sinning. Are these reasons valid? Of course! But in this, we often forget our true purpose as ambassadors for Christ…to let them know that God loves them and has freed them from the demand of the law that they be perfect!
That’s what the true Gospel of Christ is all about! We can sum it up really simply:
- There is only one is perfect – that’s Jesus Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:21).
- As long as we live in this flesh, we will never be perfect (I John 1:8).
- The law requires that we be absolutely perfect (James 2:10). So, where does that leave us? Left to ourselves, in big trouble!
- Jesus died and was resurrected, to take away our sins and give us the FREE GIFT of righteousness and right standing before God (Romans 5:17, I Peter 2:14).
- We are made right with God by our faith in Jesus, not by our obeying the law or striving to be perfect (Galatians 2:16).
Grace is all about God’s unmerited, undeserved favor that He has bestowed upon us, showering us with blessings and good things, even though we don’t deserve it. Striving to be perfect is like banging your head against a wall. Not only will you never reach perfection, but you put yourself at the risk of rejecting the finished work that Jesus did for you on the cross!
We have got to get off of this kick of striving to being perfect all the time, and demanding that others “get their acts together” in order to be close to God. If I hear from one more pastor or church attendee, “We’ve got to obey God!…”, I’m going to scream! Telling this to a person who is struggling in life simply heaps more shame and condemnation on them, which often drives them further away from God.
To “obey God” no longer means striving to follow all the laws of the Old Testament given to the children of Israel at Mount Sanai. Anyone who is honest has to admit that we can’t even follow the original 10 commandments, much less the additional 600+ given later! Thankfully, when Jesus came on the scene, He fulfilled all of those laws on our behalf, and replaced them with two simple commandments: 1) To believe in Him, and 2) to love others as He has loved us:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34,35, NKJV).
I believe that this is the primary reason that many people hesitate to come to Jesus. They believe that Christianity is more about laws and behavior, than it is about love. They know that they can’t live up to all the man-made requirements heaped upon them, so they don’t even want to try. We need to understand that our ONLY job is to reflect the love of Jesus to others, and to share that if they choose to believe in the finished work of Jesus, they are made right with God. It’s the GOD’s job to save people from bad behavior, not ours. Let’s stop trying to be perfect, and stop implying to others that they must be perfect before God sees them as justified and righteous. Instead, let’s allow God to do His part…
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6, NLT).