“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins… But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved… For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:1a, 4-5, 8-9
I love the commercial with the older woman who “posts” her events to her wall … not her Facebook wall, but the actual wall in her home. She puts up notes and pictures and has friends over to see them. When her friend calls her out on something, she unfriends her while she’s sitting in her living room.
This same friend is befuddled and tells her very clearly, “That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.”
While many people do “get” how Facebook works, many people like to make up their own ideas about Jesus.
Here are a few ways people misunderstand how God works:
- It doesn’t really matter what you believe as long as you are sincere.
God is the Sovereign Creator, Ruler of all. He either is or He isn’t. He can’t be for some and not others which means what He says goes for all people. Your sincere acknowledgement of Him is key in your relationship with Him.
- You can pick and choose what you want to believe from the Bible.
The Bible is God’s inspired word, His testimony about Himself, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. You can’t pick and choose what you want to believe. If you told a story about your own life and someone said part of it wasn’t true, they’d be wrong and be calling you a liar or you would actually be a liar. Is God trustworthy or is He a liar? He can’t be both.
- God sends people to hell.
Jesus came for all who need a Savior. God doesn’t send people to hell. We end up there based on our own choices and God actually makes it possible for you to be saved from the consequences of those choices. You have free will to choose not to go to hell. You don’t want to be a robot to God and God is clearly not a vending machine so the only thing left is a relationship which is found through faith in Jesus. We all sin and fall short. The only thing that keeps you from God is believing you don’t need Him.
What misconceptions have you heard from others and you think, “That’s not how it works.” Are you a good enough friend to tell them?
Maybe you’re the one with questions needing a help section on just what faith in Christ is all about. How does it work? Why does it matter?
The good news is that God is not only willing to communicate with you, He is very clear in His answers.
It often appears that we want a God with some wiggle room, but instead we have a God who is merciful in our failings. We want a God who dismisses our sin as simple choices of lifestyle or personalities. After all, He’s the one who created us this way. But instead, we have a God who asks us to participate in the life He’s given us according to His ways. He asks us to sacrifice our own ways for His. He creates us and then asks us to let Him transform us into a new creation through a second birth. We are born into sin. All of us. And every person has a transformation waiting for them if only they would come and let God work in their lives. And this work only comes through the grace offered in faith through Jesus Christ.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
This is how it works.
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