Christians in the First World today have a serious image problem, one which cripples our attempts to share our faith with others, and — sadly — one which is in many ways our own doing. As the Anglican scholar N.T. Wright has noted, the unfortunate reality is that many people — including many Christians! — have fundamentally misunderstood the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Good (or Not So Good) Advice.
To put it another way, many people — again, including many Christians — see the essence of Christianity as a moral code, as a set of rules and regulations which require certain behaviors and forbid others, as a bunch of “Thou Shalt Not’s”.
We’ll dive deeper into this topic in other posts, but for now I simply want to note that while Christianity certainly entails a morality, it is not, at its heart, defined as a morality. Rather, it is the proclamation of Good News: of something that has happened, that is happening, and that will happen.
What are these things, these events, that have happened, are happening, and will happen? They are
- the coming of Jesus Christ into the world 2000 years ago and the redemption which He accomplished and initiated then;
- the encounter with Him which is offered to each and every human being in the midst of their lives, and encounter which has the capacity to slowly but surely transform them and their lives; and
- He return at the end of history, at which point the transformation which began 2000 years ago will be fulfilled, completed and accomplished.
Let me conclude this “teaser” post which this quote, describing the essence of Christianity: “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” Google the quote… you might be surprised at who wrote it.
The encounter with the Risen Jesus can transform your life now… today.
Do you believe this is possible? Why, or why not?