In my last post, I spent a considerable amount of time showing how I love rules and why they are important to me as a Christian. As I wrote, the rules -- or the Law as the Bible calls them -- point us to God and push us to be the best we can be. But I would be remiss if I didn't point out the relationship between the non-Christian and the rules. That seems to be a love-hate relationship.
On one hand, the non-Christian has little use for rules which conflict with his or her own preferences. Actually we all have this problem. Don't like the speed limit? Put it to the floor! Ignore the rule. . . until you see the squad car up ahead. Face it, the easy way out of the whole "rules scenario" is to ignore the rules. Justify it to yourself and put it to the floor. It can be done by denial of truth or a preference for a lie. But there is an element of hatred to the relationship between the non-Christian and the rules.
But there is also a sense in which a non-Christian's best friend is the rules. He leans on the rules with wild abandon. How so? Because the if the non-Christian believes that there is anything awaiting after death, his only hope of reward is that he kept enough of the rules to qualify. The argument has been made that if there is a heaven and a hell, that hell is for the truly bad and that heaven is waiting for those who don't break too many rules -- at least not as many as the really bad folks. In essence, the non-Christian is hoping that keeping the rules is what saves.
Interesting, isn't it. The presence or even the quality of the afterlife being based upon how well you keep the rules. Of course it's completely inaccurate. After all, how do you decide how many rules you can break? 100? 2000? 1,000,000? Is there a cutoff?
There is a cutoff. It's one. One sin and you're hopeless to get to heaven by obeying the rules.
This is what Christianity is all about. Don't be fooled by anything you've heard growing up. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security that you can work your way into heaven. You can't do it. Neither can I. Christianity is all about accepting Christ as your "ticket" to heaven. His perfect record (sinless) is put in the place of our imperfect record (sinful). That's what Christianity is all about. It isn't about leaning on the rules, as so many uninformed people assume. It's all about leaning on the only One who kept the rules perfectly.
I don't like being a preachy guy on this blog, and I know this came out that way, so forgive me for that. But that is my heart. I don't want anybody operating on false impressions. If you think the rules are the key to heaven, you're sadly mistaken. And if you think that there are no rules -- no absolutely true moral standards -- then you are also sadly mistaken. There are many objective truths which tend to be pushed behind all the subjective opinions. And those rules are not there to be ignored.
I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ because it is at once so easy and so difficult. Easy to trust Him. Difficult to learn that you, yourself are not trustworthy. I came to understand this the hard way, kicking and screaming all the way. I know it's a tough journey. But finding the truth is worth the effort.