For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16 (NIV)
How do you define a Christian? Do we make it more complicated than God’s definition found in John 3:16? God tells us that whoever believes in Jesus, God’s son, will not die but will have eternal life. I love the simplicity of the message found in this verse.
But sometimes, I want to make Christianity much harder than needed. I want to set the ground rules for who should get into heaven. And I base this on what I believe a Christian should do or not do. When I see the drug user on a street corner, I might think to myself, “a Christian should not act that way.” Or I might adopt the belief that someone is too evil to be a Christian. Can a mass murderer really find salvation? I judge them because I believe their sins are so much greater than mine.
Have you ever watched someone sin and thought “I’m not perfect, but I would never do that!” We compare our sins to someone else’s, and if we believe theirs are worse, well, then we feel a little better about ourselves. We compare as if there are grades of sin. But God says sin is sin. Period. And He forgives all our sins in the same way.
I think we make ourselves feel better by judging and comparing one sin against another, but compared to God’s standard—we all fall short. Romans 3:23 (NIV) shows that “all of us have sinned and fell short of the glory of God.” Even the worse sinner among us is offered the opportunity for salvation by believing and accepting Christ. God wants all of us to spend eternity with Him. God made the process simple and free to all; He does not need us to complicate it.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us so deeply. When we try to complicate our faith, show us how to keep it simple. Remind us to believe and accept Jesus into our heart. Help us remember to share the good news of the gift of salvation with others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
How do you try to complicate our faith?