I know that the blogs that I write that are more story in nature get read more, but I have been doing a lot of reading lately. What I mean by a lot is about 20 hours a week of text for an Old Testament class. Through it all, and through my walk through the Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew I have been seeing something that scares me in Christianity. I think that most evangelical Christians have come to see that trying to get saved is not a contractual process in which if I behave well God will allow me into heaven. God’s grace is sufficient and so I don’t have to do anything except accept what he is offering.
However if that were the end of the story I think it would be much happier for some, if not all people. There are some people, Christian’s out there that truly believe that while they can’t get saved by being good, they can still get some material blessing out of it. To which I implore you “Please, give up!” You are operating on two lies that are simply not supported by the ministry or work of Jesus. Lie number one states as follows:
“If I behave well I will get good things here on earth. If I behave really well God will help me to succeed and get some sort of material wealth.”
Lie number two states:
“The meaning of this life it so acquire these things and when necessary to petition God through being really good in order to accomplish this life that is going to leave me fulfilled”.
The Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) makes it abundantly clear that the kingdom is not concerned about your success, the kingdom is concerned about God…and us! The first lie is only a new form of legalism, that tries to make a contract in order to acquire what the world believes to be the point of life. God does not contract with Humans, he covenants with them. A big difference for another time.
The second lie tries to tell us that this life that you are petitioning God for is actually what was intended for you. Let me burst that bubble for you. The life that God intends for us is a passionate pursuit of Him, not his laws, not your success, not your pet projects, it is the pursuit of Him. That starts and ends with communion with the one true God. All actions in your life that look like Christ will not ultimately make any sense to you unless you are in passionate, prayerful, meditative pursuit of Him. That is why legalism (being good) creeps in; because relationships are hard, and this life is tangible. Pursuing the world by the worlds standards has definite rules that are easy to follow and involve running over others instead of being in communion with them.
Please give up. There is nothing wrong with being good and behaving well, but your motives are not what they need to be if you are still trying to contract with God for anything. You will NEVER understand the life that produces freedom, peace, hope, and joy, until you stop trying to coerce the “good life” out of a Holy God.