Welcome to Part III of our summer blog series about misunderstandings we have about one another's belief systems. Last month, Dash Kees gave us a roadmap for paganism. This month, Church Lab dialoguer and conservative Christian Eileen Drake describes the shape of her faith by clarifying law and grace. Check it out below!
Hi, my name is Eileen. I am 31, biracial, and am a follower of Jesus. I grew up in Austin and immensely enjoy my family, chocolate torte, birdwatching and two-stepping.
I believe a common misunderstanding of Christianity is that Christianity is a set of rules to follow; namely if you are a “good” Christian and follow all the rules, God will be pleased with you and you will go to Heaven.
My thoughts that follow are my perspective from the lens of a Christian.
There are commands today that God gives Christians for their good. Examples include the Ten Commandments (Do not have any idols, honor your father and mother, do not steal, do not murder, etc. Exodus 20) and a summation of God’s commands which is love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40).
While God gives Christians these commands, the Christian faith is about what God did for us, not about the commands He set in place. As Scripture states, humanity’s relationship with God was broken when man chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden. God is a holy God (Leviticus 11:44) and requires that sin (evil) be reconciled. God chose to do this through himself (Jesus Christ, God the Son). In the book of Romans it states that sin is punishable by death. Jesus was sent to earth to take on all the sin of humanity upon himself as fully human and fully God. God’s wrath against evil was fully manifested against Jesus on the cross where Jesus died to be the perfect sacrifice for all of humanity’s sin. According to Scripture, when Jesus died, the curtain in the holiest part of King Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem separating man from God was miraculously split in half symbolizing man’s new relationship with God.
Because of the free gift of salvation and reconciliation of our relationship with God through Christ (not by our works, Ephesians 2:8-9), the Christian life is a life of devotion, gratitude and willful obedience to God. It is a relationship between God and me. God already paid the price for us to be in his presence (Heaven) forever. When I accept the invitation to follow God, nothing I can do will change (negatively or positively) His love for me (Romans 8:29) because He loves me unconditionally. I live for Him because He has given me everything of true value. Recorded in John 10:10, Jesus says, “I have come so that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.”
I believe a relationship such as this is relatable to all people, not just Christians. If I respect and uphold someone in high esteem in my life, I want to hear what they have to say, listen to their advice, and spend time with them. That is true for Christians in regards to their relationship with God and why we choose to obey His commands on earth.