A while back I wrote about something I heard on the radio regarding Christians not stealing music. It got me thinking. I mean, it’s not like Christians are the only moral people around. Plenty of atheists and muslims and i-don’t-really-believe-in-anyting-but–like-the-whole-do-unto-others people are quite moral.
So why are Christians often highlighted as the do-gooders, or the moral, law abiding ones (and conversely slammed for being hypocrites whenever they’re not).
I’m guessing to most people the answer would be fairly clear. They believe in hell. Christians have to be good, because they want to get to heaven, and they don’t dare be ‘bad’ for fear of going to hell.
And therein lies the most common misconception about Christianity. Christians aren’t moral because they’re afraid of going to hell. They know hell was a certainty, and that Jesus died to save them. And Jesus is moral. And when you’re so in love with someone for what they’ve done for you, you want to be just like them. And when that someone is God, He has the power to help you become more and more like that. That’s pretty much it.
Today I’m apparently living in the hottest place on earth. With temperatures predicted to soar to 46 degrees Celsius it’s definitely a scorcher.
But you know what? Although it’s definitely hot, sitting in an air-conditioned house I’m hardly feeling it; I’m not being hit with the reality of 46 degrees.
This reminded me of a sobering passage from Jonathan Edwards’ famous 1741 sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God:”
‘There is the dreadful Pit of the glowing Flames of the Wrath of God; there is Hell’s wide gaping Mouth open; and you have nothing to stand upon, not any Thing to take hold of: there is nothing between you and Hell but the Air; ‘tis only the Power and mere Pleasure of God that holds you up.
You probably are not sensible of this; you find you are kept out of Hell, but don’t see the Hand of God in it, but look at other Things, as the good State of your bodily Constitution, your Care of your own Life, and the Means you use for your own Preservation. But indeed these Things are nothing; if God should withdraw his Hand, they would avail no more to keep you from falling, than the thin Air to hold up a Person that is suspended in it.”
How great is the grace of God that holds us out of hell! And how fearful the day that He removes His hold from those who, by their own will, have rejected it.