As you might know, one of my greatest joys in life is meeting new people. I enjoy learning about their passions, life experiences, life stories and their thoughts about Jesus. A lot of people I meet especially in Denton, value open-mindedness. The University of North Texas is one of the most liberal thinking schools in this area of the the United States. I hear a lot of responses when I ask, “Do you know Jesus?” such as “I have not been to church in a long time (notice the word, “church” was not in my question but this observation is for another blog entry) or a majority of the responses I hear is:
“I think as long as one is spiritual or a good person, I do not think it matters what kind of religion you are in.”
I’ve noticed when I ask about Jesus, the responses like the one above always relate back to one’s ethics or efforts to be in touch with spirituality. This view is perceiving Christianity as just another religion to help you be a better person. Devon is one of the many who responded to my question in the same way He, like others, strives to seek out universal similarities to all religions and concludes that since they all teach similar teachings like, “help the poor”, “love your enemies”, and other ethical standards, then as long as you follow these, you’re a good person. So their view is: spirituality relates to “being a good person.”
Individuals like Devon are always shocked at my response, “I am not a ‘good’ person.” The truth is I’m not. I have failed at every moral level and biblical benchmark that the people I talk to mention. I do not spend my life helping the poor. I drive by homeless people every week without thinking twice about stopping to help them. I have held grudges and struggle to forgive. I have broken most of the moral codes that these students use to describe a “good” spiritual person.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)”
Devon is trying to present a wide broad gate based on good ethical moral behavior. This wide gate feels very narrow, because no one is good and we humans can never live up to these standards. We are all sinners.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt 7:13-14)
This narrow gate to which Jesus refers is based on Him, His blood that was shed for us on the cross. It’s based on what He did, not on what we can or cannot do…
”Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation (Colossians 1:21-22)”
This why the Good News (The Gospel) is good news!!! The broad door that humans create to universalize feels very narrow because no one can live up to the morals that are the common denominators. But the “narrow” gate of which Jesus lovingly speaks, feels very wide and freeing. it is based on what He did, not based on what we do or do not do.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)”
Let’s invite others into Jesus, the narrow gate, to experience true freedom and life that only comes through Him. Maybe you are like Devon, thinking that Christianity is all about earning salvation by good works that neither you nor I can ever live up to. Come to Jesus…
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)”