Salvation is simple.
Living as a Christian is not.
Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise, to be blunt, is wrong. Let’s look at one command from Jesus, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34-35). Now it seems simple enough, but what does it mean to love one another. Take this example: Imagine you are hanging out with a friend and they smell bad. Do you say something about it? Now, we know that love should govern all our actions, but what is the loving thing to do? I could argue either side of that.
That is a simple issue, but what about bigger questions like, “Do I tell my relative that what they are doing is wrong?”, or “How do I deal with people who have different morals then me?” What is the loving thing to do? This is a question we must always ask and always wrestle with. It is not simple.
I think, as Christians, we need to realize that we are never really finished learning how to grow in Christ. We know the example, “greater love has no man than this, that he lay his life down for his friends.” (John 15:13). Yet how does laying our life down actually look in real life? And how do we do that without being a push over?
Ok, I think you get the idea. Christian living is a little confusing. I think, in this confusion, people make two major mistakes.
• People take Christianity too lightly. It would be easy to just take the cross and Christ’s forgiveness and stop wrestling with what the best thing to do is. It is easy to sit on the couch and immerse yourself in TV shows or sports. It is easy to find meaning and purpose in all other things. Sure, I need Christ’s forgiveness, but, after that, it is just too confusing. I don’t really care about the other stuff. I go to church every month or so. I am fine.
• Christians put too much emphasis on their actions. It is easy for a Christian to remember, with guilt, everything that they have done wrong. I think some churches do a better job than others of reminding us of our faults. But let’s be honest, we normally know that we do not live a perfect life.
Christ gives us a different way. Jesus says, “I am the way the truth and the life.” (John 14:6). Now, we can over simplify that by just hearing “I am forgiven”. Great! Jesus saved me…Hip, Hip Hooray! I will stop there. Again, Jesus says, “I am the way the truth and the life.” WE FIND ALL MEANING NOT IN THE WORLD, BUT IN CHRIST. We find all meaning, not just forgiveness.
This leads us to two points…
• We need to be reminded constantly of our forgiveness in Christ. Maybe this goes without saying, but if we are going to build our life around the forgiveness we have in Christ, we need to be assured of that forgiveness on a regular basis. This is why I have never preached a sermon without speaking of Christ’s forgiveness. But, here is the thing…you must stay involved at church to hear that message. Even if you know it, you need to hear it. You need to extend it and share it with others. You need to be assured of it when you are worried about things you have done. We need the forgiveness of Christ to be in the center of our lives.
• We need to constantly wrestle with how to live that out. Living as a Christian is complicated. Sorry, I can’t make it easy. God’s grace is simple, but living it out is not always. This is why we need community, which is part of the reason why we need this church. We need to wrestle with each other. We need to call each other out, in relationship and in love, when we act in an unloving manor. We need to grow together.
So let’s continue to wrestle together as a body of believers, centered around the forgiveness we have in Christ.