Christian World View Shows Why Jesus Came

A few weeks ago, I met a fellow at a local gym. The man was intrigued upon discovering that I was a minister, and commented that it must be a hard time for me these days, with the recent senseless killing of the cop in Toronto with the snowplow, and the equally senseless slaughter of those six people in Arizona.

Then he asked how I provide answers and help people cope in the face of such tragedy.

“I don’t have any difficulties at all,” I told him. “We Christians don’t have the common secular mindset that people are basically good. In fact, we find that notion laughable given all the evil going on in the world. No, we believe that man is fundamentally flawed, and needs fixing. So when people commit acts of evil it doesn’t catch us off guard, it just confirms our view of reality.”

This brief interchange underscores the tremendous gulf between the Christian world view and that of the average person.

It also directly points to the reason why Jesus came in the first place. In Matthew 1:21 it is recorded of Jesus: “ … for he will save his people from their sins.” For thousands of years, Christians have faithfully taught the message that Christ died to pay for the real guilt of our sins, and that he came to transform us by delivering us from the power of sin.

Many are comfortable with their guilt being removed and obtaining some kind of “heaven insurance” that will kick in on the day they die. But increasingly, the idea that Jesus transforms lives, delivering us from the power of sin is seen as intrusive. Some go further and suspiciously view it as an oppressive concept that cannot be allowed to stand.

So what changed? How did the 2,000-year-old notion of Christ transforming a life become offensive? One key factor is the now widely popular idea that truth is relative. The man on the street has become convinced that he alone has the authority to decide what is right and wrong for him. Consequently, the very concept of absolute truth with a universal morality is flatly rejected. Furthermore, countless people now view all outside authority, including God, with suspicion, for they harbour the conceit that they and they alone decide what is good and what is evil.

A good many Canadians now think that premarital cohabitation, for example, is perfectly OK. Many others have explicitly given their stamp of approval to same-sex relationships. Some others promote abortion as totally OK. And there are even others who go so far as to promote adultery. (Note the incredible success of the Ashley Madison website that encourages people to commit infidelity, and the growing acceptance of the so-called swinger groups.)

It is within this cultural framework that Christians must speak today. It is hardly surprising then that when we share the teaching that Christ forgives, but also calls for transformation, that we often run into a brick wall of judgmentalism and intolerance. For the secular world view, though priding itself on tolerance for opposing viewpoints, is remarkably intolerant to the Christian view that there is a right and a wrong. Astoundingly, some even accuse Christians of unchristian behaviour, not because their teaching is false to the Bible, but because they don’t like Christ’s call to change and transformation.

Christians, if we are honest, are often stung by the epithets and slander that are hurled our way by those who object to our message. Tragically some are backing away from, or softening the message so that they will be more acceptable to the nonbelieving community. But the point is this: the message calling for transformation and change is not our message to alter. It has been given to us to faithfully guard and teach.

I hope and pray that Christians today will not prove to be an unfaithful generation. May we compassionately and boldly speak the full truth of the good news. Christ, in fact, loves us too much to leave us alone; to leave us trapped and unchanged in our many sins.

Published in The Guelph Mercury, February 19, 2011

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