Christianity is just a way to make people good, right? So as long as you are a religion, and you are being good, it doesn’t matter which religion you are.
That’s what a dear friend of mine had to say the other day. What do you think?
My first thought was that it does matter which religion you are, and Christianity is much more than making someone good. But I decided that rather than spout the first thing that came to mind, I would mull over what God’s answer to that would be – what He has said through the Bible.
Jesus refutes the idea of any religion getting you to heaven pretty adamantly in John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father (i.e. gets into heaven) except through me.
But this whole idea that Christianity is just to make people good got me thinking.
Jesus says that only God is good, in Matthew 19:17. Well, there is no way I am going to be able to be that, then!
But here is some hope from Paul’s letter to the Galatians (3:27):
And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.
I actually ran into numerous places in the Bible where we are encouraged to put on the righteousness of God through Jesus. Have a look for yourselves. I was surprised at the number of times this concept comes up.
So, it seems, on our own, we definitely cannot be good. But with the Holy Spirit in us, given to us when we decide to become a Christian, we can be all sorts of Godly things like loving, peaceful, patient, kind, joyful, gentle, self-controlled, and good.
Notice that to be good, we must be in a relationship, first with Jesus, who then gives us the Holy Spirit, so that we can finally confidently come before God.
So I guess being good is an important outgrowth of being a Christian, but a relationship with God is “where it’s at.”
The benefits of being good, are many, though sometimes being good can cause suffering. And I am thankful for God’s mercy when I fail at it yet again. So while being good is, well, good, it is not my favorite part of Christianity.
My favorite part of Christianity is that there is a purpose to my life, even on the days when life feels mundane.
What is your favorite part?