What kind of Christianity do you practice? Freewheeling anything goes or rigid rules driven judgements? Critics of Christianity paint Christians as cold judgmental rule keeping hypocrites and those that want Christianity portrayed in a positive light make Christianity out to be a love anything and everyone unjudgmental religion. Do either of those descriptions define Christianity for you? Reality is always more complicated than the caricature. If Christians should ever be painted in any light it should be as people of faith. People who trust God above all else.
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. Romans 1:8 ESV
Paul in his letter to the Church in Rome tells them that their faith is recognized all over the world. This church these Christians are recognized by their faith. What is the church in American recognized by? I am not one to travel the world so I can’t answer that question. I might guess American Christians are recognized as wealthy. If nothing else is true then Christians in America are generous. I think Christians are recognized for being political, for being worshipful, but would anyone say the Church is known for being faithful?
6 And [Abraham] believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:6 ESV
God recognized Abraham, the father of faith, as faithful. Abraham simply trusted that God. Nothing is simple but the truth here is that Abraham has faith in God. We know that God’s love for Abraham and Abraham’s love for God is based on faith alone because this is hundreds of years before Moses and the Ten Commandments. Abraham had no rules or judgements to follow. He had only his relationship with God.
Many people view the God of Abraham’s time, the Old Testament, as a God of laws, wrath and judgements. Critics claim this God is not worthy of following. Yet Abraham found the God of the Old Testament as a trustworthy and faithful God. Yes, the Ten Commandments were given in the Old Testament and the law has its place speaking to us what is right and what is wrong but all of the Heroes of faith loved God and trusted him because of faith. They did not follow rules to follow rules. They listened to God and responded to him with humility and thankfulness.
Many others point to the God of the New Testament and say this is a God of love that approves of whatever we may want to do. Rules and laws have no meaning because God does not judge. This view of God is not faith. This is ignorance and it is deadly. Faith is a relationship with God the creator. Faith is a desire to follow the law because God promised that doing so, even when hard, would result in life. To obey and submit to Jesus is an act of faith and trust. Here is my prayer I have prayed many times and it is a reflection of what is in my heart. “Father, I want to live my way and according to what I see fit but God I will give up everything to follow you. I trust you even over my own heart. Help me be who you created me to be. Forgive me of my sins. I need you for life here and now but even more I need you for the life that is to come. Thank you, Jesus”.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17 ESV
I know the law, but I do not live by the law. I know God therefore I live by faith trusting him with both the small every day issues and the big major events. God is faithful. I pray that I would be known by my faith because that faith comes from God and it is a reflection of him.