Monday, June 8, 2009

The Weight Of Being A Christian

In my last post, "Why Someone Walked Away From Christianity", I highlighted an article by theBEattitude who shared that he "no longer believe in Jesus or the god of the Bible" and his decision was one of relief because he "no longer felt the weight a Christian carries. The weight of guilt, unworthiness and fear of god’s judgement."

I empathize with this brother because I used to feel the same way. I started attending Sunday School when I was in primary school and continued all the way through to junior college. After that, I attended the adult worship service and all in all, I was in my previous church for about 30 years. However, all the while I felt I was not a good enough Christian because I seldom read the bible, seldom prayed, did not "do quiet time", etc and of course still sinned.

I continued going to church week after week as I thought that was the least I could do; I may not be a "hardworking" Christian from Monday to Saturday but at least I could be faithful in attending church on Sunday. I always thought that when I am in heaven, God will play back my life for all to see and I will be shamed but at least God can commend me for faithfully attending church.

I also felt like being a Christian was a burden and wanted to give up BUT deep, deep, deep inside me, I know that God is real and Jesus is real and the Holy Spirit is real. In the end, I sort of drifted aimlessly in my Christian walk, thankful that I am not going to hell but not enjoying my "Christianhood" at all.

I did not do any survey but I suspect there are a lot of "zombie" Christians like me. Thank God that I was awoken from my zombie state when I attended New Creation Church for the first time on 19 Oct 2003 and heard Pastor Prince preach for the first time. He made the bible come alive and through his sermons introduced me to the Heavenly Father and His only Son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in a whole different light.

I used to think of God as a school principal, carrying a cane in his hand, waiting and watching to catch me do any wrong, and then whack me with his cane. I always feel that I am not meeting God's impossibly high standards. However, now I know better because of the anointed preaching by Pastor Prince, the veil has been lifted from my face and I can now see clearly my position before God.

I no longer think that God is unhappy with me for not being up to standard because I now know that God has put me in Christ, and thus "by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." (Heb 10:14) I am now perfect in God's eyes, not because of my own qualities for "we all fall short of God’s glorious standard" (Rom 3:23) or what I have done but because of what Jesus had done on the cross.

Take note that Heb 10:14 also says we are "those who are being made holy" ie. our Christian walk is a on-going process and we do make mistakes and sin now and then BUT we are assured that God is not angry with us because He says "I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds." (Heb 10:17) We do not need to feel condemned when we fail, and God again assures us of this through His word: "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Rom 8:1)

God "is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love" (Psalm 103:8), "he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities, for as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103: 10-14), "if He kept a record of sins, who could stand?" (Psalm 130:3)

God is not angry with us, for if He is, there is no point sending Jesus to die for us and paying for the penalty of our sin. God is holy and just, therefore He cannot let sin go unpunished for "the wages of sin is death" (Rom 6:23) BUT above all GOD IS LOVE (1 John 4:8) and "God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

Most Christians can remember and quote John 3:16 but don't read on to John 3:17 which says "God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him." Do you see it? God does NOT want to judge the world but He has to because He is holy and just, hence He sent His Son, Jesus, to save the world by pouring all the judgment of the world on Jesus instead of us. We who are in Christ no longer live in fear of God's judgment because Jesus has absorbed all the judgment on our behalf.

Why do many Christians still carry "The weight of guilt, unworthiness and fear of god’s judgement"? This is because many churches are still not preaching the gospel, the gospel that proclaims liberty and sets free the oppressed (Luke 4:18); free from "The weight of guilt, unworthiness and fear of god’s judgement".

In Matt 11:30, Jesus said "my yoke is easy and my burden is light" because He has carried the weight of God's judgment on his shoulders. We are called Christians because we are in Christ and Christ is in us, and my prayer is that more and more Christians will get to listen to preaching that helps them understand what that means. May God raise up more preachers like Pastor Prince, Andrew Wommack and Paul White to help us know the truth, and the truth will set us free. (John 8:32)

5 comments:

Kat said...

Hi Stan,
This is such a great post. I was there in exactly the same position before I came to NCC. I still remember I used to be so afraid whenever I thought of God replaying my life for everyone to see in heaven.
Thank God the true gospel has set us free!

Daughter Of Sarah said...

AMEN! It is very true. I think a lot of my Catholic relatives feel that way so they stopped going to church. One even thinks she is prob more Buddhist than Catholic!!

It boils down to the legalism of Catholicism - how you can never do enough to be forgiven. The constant need to go to the confession booth, the thought of purgatory, needing to "gain brownie points" all the time, days of OBLIGATION. I mean why use that term at all? I think if you do anything out of obligation, you have no joy in you about it, and we know that the JOY of the LORD is our STRENGTH!

I believe this is the Devil's ploy - to rob us of that joy so that we lose our hope in Christ, our strength in Christ and all sight of Christ altogether over time.

Let's pray that more of the people we know or dunno who are in so-called "zombie" mode will experience a revival of the Holy Spirit in their lives! =D

Derrick said...

I think Prince has done the church a favor in giving comfort to Christians stuck in their dead legalism with his message of grace.

However, his message of grace is almost always narrowly targeting this specific group of dead legalists. Why is his message considered extreme by many Christians? I think it is because many Christians who understand the gospel rightly are not in the dead legalism camp, and therefore desire a more balanced approach to grace and law that is true to the biblical teaching. Unfortunately, Prince does not offer that right balance to the rest of the Christians out there.

What do you think?

Stephanie said...

According to Pastor Prince, Lord told him not to preach Grace mixed with Law.

The reason Lord gave was if preach mixed message, His Children cannot receive His blessings.

I reborn in NCC and thru Pastor Prince sermon, Lord has been blessing my life a lot. After all, Jesus said that the door to heaven is narrow.

My understanding is yes, it is...for blessing only come thru Jesus Christ alone. Grace and Truth came to us via Jesus. Law was given via Moses. Both are different camp, don't mix them. For strength of sin is the Law. Where Grace and Truth leads children of God to walk near God the Father.

If you read my recent posting, Abba Father declare his love for me and praise my close walk with him. All because of this Abundance of Grace teaching. So no, should not venture to Law for no one can fulfill it except Lord Jesus Christ. He walked a righteous life for us.

We go by our own righteousness is filthy rag.

Angie said...

sister,

Although I do not have a full understanding on this but i think isa 64:6 is mis-quoted.

PP mentioned before that when Moses came down with the law, (Exo 34:29-35) there was glory. So dun be mistaken, grace + law does have glory but it doesn't last. That's why Moses had his face veiled! He showed the children of Israel that he had God's glory when He met God (Grace) and veiled it after that because it was fading. He couldn't let the children of Israel know that!

2 Cor 3:7-9
"Now if the dispensation of death engraved in letters on stone [the ministry of the Law], was augurated with such glory and splendour that the Israelites were not able to look steadily at the face of Moses because of its brilliance, [a glory] that was to fade and pass away,

Why should not the dispensation of the Spirit [this spiritual ministry whose task it is to cause men to obtain and be governed by the Holy Spirit] be attended with much greater and more splendid glory?

For if the service that condemns [the ministry of doom] has glory, how infinitely more abounding in splendor and glory must be the service that makes righteous [the ministry that produces and fosters righteous living and right standing with God]

Let's put it this way. Would you think the efforts your DD to earn your love is filthy rags? She doesn't need to even earn. She already has it. But when she does, what do you tell her? "Your efforts in getting my love is pathetic. it's filthy rags?" I dun think so rite? :p

It's the same for every believer who place their trust in the finished work of Jesus. We are righteous already by the blood of Christ. We do not have to earn it.

I think the grace gospel promotes works of the spirit & not works of the flesh because God wants us to enjoy and burn up for Him and not burn out.

It's like here's the gospel of grace & the gospel of grace + law. Take a pick! :)