[Those who reject Christ] will be . . . shut out from the presence of the Lord . . . on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people. ~ 2 Thessalonians 1:9,10
Christian writer Michael Horton recounts the time he agreed to be a part of a discussion panel composed of people of various religious faiths. The topic of discussion was: “What is the greatest spiritual need you believe your religion fills in your life?” Others on the panel believed the main purpose of religion was to help individuals become better people.
Horton’s answer was different. In fact, his answer made virtually everyone else on the panel feel uncomfortable. In answer to the question, “What is the greatest spiritual need you believe your religion fills in your life?” Horton said: “An immediate relief from the guilt and tyranny of my sin, and peace with God.” The other panelists felt uncomfortable for good reason. Horton was refusing to agree that the purpose of Christianity was to help individuals become better people. Instead, he was saying that the main purpose of Christianity was to rescue lost souls from the curse of sin through faith alone in Jesus Christ. The other panelists also understood Horton’s implication. He was saying that Christ was the only way to escape the judgment of a just God; that apart from Jesus, your soul is lost.
It is easy for us to forget that, isn’t it? It is easy to slide into thinking that we go to church because it’s “good for us,” or we send our kids to Sunday School because we want them to learn good morals, or we attend a worship service because it gives us a good feeling that we’re doing the right thing?
Christianity is not a self-help plan for becoming a nicer person. Each time you and I flirt with that notion, we are flirting with the very fires of hell.
Thank God for what Christianity truly is. It’s the Good News. It’s the announcement that God has purchased forgiveness of sins for the entire world; that this forgiveness of sins comes through faith in Jesus’ perfect life and innocent death on our behalf. It’s the promise that, in Jesus, all is well.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, my focus on you sometimes wanders. Forgive me. Renew me by your Spirit. Refresh me with the beauty of what Christianity is. Amen.