So many people avoid church because they think they have to clean up their act and follow all the rules first. But these people have it backwards. To be fair, the problem may be that the church often looks down on these people instead of embracing them and telling them of the One who can clean up their act for them.
Rules and religion will never lead to Heaven or freedom from sin. Only knowing God through Christ Jesus will allow us to gain both.
My fellow blogger Pr. Bryan Lowe of Broken Believers posted on Facebook, “We must believe before we can really obey. If we flip the equation we will end up with nothing. That is scary.” I thought this quote was a perfect summation of what I was pondering writing in this post. It is certainly possible to obey somewhat and for a time without believing, without knowing Christ. But such obedience comes at the price of peace and is not clothed in freedom from sin.
I’ve been listening to Sanctus Real in my car lately, and one song in particular has me thinking about how knowing God through a relationship with Christ is the answer. “Til I Got to Know You” from Pieces of a Real Heart by Sanctus Real starts this way:
I tried perfecting myself
Would You love me more without my mistakes?
I tried not to ask for Your help
‘Cause I didn’t want to scare You away
Yeah, I was always worried I was going to let You down
Oh, I felt like I was standing in between the lost and found
‘Til I got to know You
I was out of place ’til You found a way to break through; it’s true
I was just a skeptic ’til I got to know You
When we try to obey on our own FIRST before we believe, before we know God, it is very hard. In fact, it is impossible. But when we seek to know Christ first and foremost, then He comes into our hearts and obedience becomes a joy. He sends His Holy Spirit to dwell within us and to guide us in righteousness, His righteousness.
Paul preached Christ and Him crucified because he wanted everyone to know God and to understand the depth of His love and mercy. Peter preached the Christ he had come to know and trust. People flocked to their message by the thousands. If we did the same in churches today, people would flock to Him once again.
Are you worried that you are unable to obey and that you will let God down? Are you avoiding church because you think you have to clean up your act first? Are you missing out on the love and mercy of Christ because you don’t know Him? If so, I invite you to pray right now and ask the Holy Spirit to make Christ known to you. Then go dust off your Bible, or go to Biblegateway.com, and read through the book of John. You will find Him and His love and mercy there. And when you know Him you will know Heaven and freedom from the bondage of your sin.