Why is Christianity misunderstood?
Well, Christianity is misunderstood because some Christians do not understand Grace. You see, grace and truth come by Jesus Christ. He showed love to everyone He met. Unfortunately, there are Christians who don’t represent Him well. Thus, causing others to not want anything to do with Him.
So then, some people give Christians a bad rap. They stereotype all Christians as angry, judgmental, hypocrites. And that’s not true for so many of us. I say us; because Lady V and I are Christians too. And we have experienced those reactions first-hand.
Trust me, we get it because there are Christians who present themselves as perfect. And that is far from the truth of the matter. Jesus is the only perfect person to ever walk the earth. Believe it or not, we all needed a savior; that’s why Jesus came, died, and rose from the grave.
The Mosaic Law [Old Covenant]
So why do Christians get such a bad rap? To begin with, there are three types of Christian churches. First, there are traditional churches that operate under the Mosaic Law. But the misconception is that the Law of Moses was only the 10 commandments.
In fact, God gave Moses 613 commandments for the children of Israel to follow. The 10 commandments written on stone plus another 603 written on scrolls and tablets. That people–was the Old Covenant. The traditional church often teaches that people are to live by the 10 commandments.
Also, the members must also follow the rules and regulations of the denomination. For example, one can’t go to the movies, watch TV, play sports, eat certain foods, or go on dates. In many traditional churches, there is a hierarchy and women are at the bottom.
Sadly, their opinions are often not respected or heard. And there are also strict rules for females. Such as, females are to wear a head-covering [hat or scarf]. They also must wear dresses and the dresses must be a specified length to the floor.
Now if one doesn’t follow those rules and regulations some congregants look down upon him/her. In the same vein, there are those who judge people who live in any way other than by the 10 commandments. Trust me that is not New Covenant behavior.
Also, the tradition of no-wearing pants in a church becomes ingrained in some young women. Hence, even if one wears pants everywhere else–she won’t set foot on the grounds or inside of a church. Because she is so scared, she’s going to offend God.
Lady V and I agree; that line of thinking makes no sense. The fact of the matter is–the whole earth belongs to God. So, if wearing pants is going to offend God, one might as well get off the earth. And even then, you still aren’t away from God because He created the universe.
Think about it, where are you going to go that wouldn’t offend Him. But, let me reassure you, pants on a female don’t offend God–in church or anywhere else. And God doesn’t look down upon women. The Word of God verifies this thought,
Galatians 3:28 The Passion Translation (TPT), And we no longer see each other in our former state—Jew or non-Jew, rich or poor, male or female—because we’re all one through our union with Jesus Christ with no distinction between us.
Grace and Truth by Jesus Christ [New Covenant]
Well then, what is the New Covenant. It is the grace and truth that comes through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 King James Version (KJV), “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” I also love how The Passion Translation puts it. John 1:17 (TPT), Moses gave us the Law, but Jesus, the Anointed One, unveils truth wrapped in tender mercy.
Since we are talking about grace, let’s get some clarity. The Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms lists three types of grace. According to writers Grenz, Guretzki, and Nordling they are as follows:
- Common Grace: God’s extension of favor to all people through divine care intervention. It is available regardless of whether they acknowledge or know him.
- Efficacious Grace: This is grace given to a person who comes by faith to Jesus for salvation. It is the special act of God that brings about the true salvation of a person.
- Prevenient Grace: Often thought to be synonymous with Common Grace. Instead, it refers to the Wesleyan idea. The idea that God has enabled, all people everywhere to respond favorably to the gospel if they so choose.
The beautiful thing about grace and truth through Jesus Christ is–it is a choice. So, if someone tells you, that you have to follow rules and regulations to get to God–that is not New Covenant. He wants you to come unto Christ freely. That’s why He gave us free-will.
One can choose Him or not. Although God wants everyone to choose Him and His Son. But He will not force His love or salvation through Christ Jesus on anybody.
This brings us to the next type of Christian Church. The grace church, which teaches grace and truth through Jesus Christ alone. Such as Galatians 2:16 (TPT) 16a “We know full well that we don’t receive God’s perfect righteousness as a reward for keeping the law, but by the faith of Jesus, the Messiah!” and 16b “His faithfulness, not ours, has saved us, and we have received God’s perfect righteousness. Now we know that God accepts no one by the keeping of religious laws!”
The grace church does not focus on sin consciousness [keeping the Mosiac Law]. It also does not use man-made rules to control the people. Instead, the grace church focuses on teaching faith in Jesus Christ. And His finished work at the cross.
Mixing Law [Old Covenant] and Grace [New Covenant
The last category of Christian churches is almost as common as the traditional ones. For the most part, these churches mix parts of the Law with the Grace message. For instance, they teach salvation through Jesus Christ. But if one doesn’t pay his/her tithes–a curse will come upon him/her. Ladies and gentlemen, that is not New Covenant either.
So, should we pay tithes and offerings to the local church? Sure, but God wants us to give of our own free will and not under the pressure of a curse if you don’t. I like how it’s written in 2 Corinthians 9:7 Amplified Bible (AMP). “Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose] just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver [and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift].”
You see, God isn’t cursing people who for whatever reason, can’t or don’t pay tithes. That is not the case.
Another example is the partaking of communion. Some churches teach that only those who are sinless may take communion. Thus, people won’t take part in communion services if they have been sinful. But that is not what the scripture says.
23 …he took bread 24 and gave thanks. Then he distributed it to the disciples and said, “Take it and eat your fill. It is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” 25 He did the same with the cup of wine after supper and said, “This cup seals the new covenant with my blood. Drink it—and whenever you drink this, do it to remember me.” 26 Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are retelling the story, proclaiming our Lord’s death until he comes.
In other words, when one accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, He makes him/her righteous. Thus, taking communion reminds the partakers of Christ’s sacrifice for all. Again, the focus is on Jesus and His finished work–not on sin consciousness.
So, although these churches teach Grace; when they mix in parts of the Law, they ignore Jesus’ sacrifice. Like when they hold on to traditions that have nothing to do with salvation. Mark 7:13 New Living Translation (NLT)
“And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.”
God’s Living Message
In any case, if a church teaches salvation through works of any kind; that is not a Grace [New Covenant] church. Because they are not teaching the “living message.”
Romans 10:9-10 (TPT) 9 And what is God’s “living message”? It is the revelation of faith for salvation, which is the message that we preach. For if you publicly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will experience salvation. 10 The heart that believes in him receives the gift of the righteousness of God—and then the mouth gives thanks to salvation.
Whether anyone agrees or not; it’s that simple–point-blank-period. So, for Christians that may disagree with Lady V and me–the thief on the cross is the perfect example of one having faith in Jesus for salvation.
The thief on the cross
Okay, for those who are not familiar with the story in Luke 23:39-43 (TPT). When Jesus was on the cross, He was hanging between two thieves. The first thief kept mocking Him saying, 39 …“What kind of Messiah are you? Save yourself and save us from this death!” Now the second thief realized he was in the presence of the Savior.
He scolded the first thief saying, 40 …“Don’t you fear God? You’re about to die! 41 We deserve to be condemned, for we’re just being repaid for what we’ve done. But this man—he’s done nothing wrong!”
He then directs his attention to Jesus. At that moment he humbled himself before the one who would change the destination of his soul. 42 …“I beg of you, my Lord Jesus, show me grace and take me with you into your everlasting kingdom!” And Jesus, pure love responded, 43 …“I promise you—this very day you will enter paradise with me.”
Glory to God!! It was just that simple. No rules, no regulations. Only faith in Jesus Christ.
God is love
To sum it up, God loves the world so much that He gave His son [Jesus Christ]. And Jesus loves us so much that He gave His life for all. That means everyone no matter your race, gender, or sexual orientation.
If a church only focuses on sin and condemning people to hell–where is the love in that? I’ll answer my own question; no-where. Naturally, it is not an accurate representation of Jesus.
1 John 4:8 New King James Version (NKJV) says, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” So, if you’ve never been in a church, hurt by church members, or refuse to set foot in a church; I implore you to give church another chance. Don’t penalize Jesus for bad and/or uninformed behavior of others. Know this, all God asks is that you have faith in His Son. Remember, at a true Grace church, Jesus is the focus–not sin.
Until you find a church that only teaches grace, check out amazing grace teachers. Such as Dr. Creflo Dollar, Joseph Prince, Gregory Dickow, and Andrew Wommack. One can stream their services online.
Also, try streaming services of churches in your local area. That is one way to learn if the churches indeed teach the Grace message. If you desire to know Jesus, ask God to lead you to a Grace church–He will do just that. Lady V and I can attest to it.
Again, for Christians who think grace is about giving people a free pass on sinning. Not at all, because once a person for real meets Jesus, his/her focus will be on Him and not on sin.
Christians, have been typecast as judgmental. Well, let’s just be real. Everybody is judgmental to a certain extent. But what I’m suggesting for The Spread Hope Challenge is don’t be judgmental of others. Check yourself because you might be shocked to find out that you are just as judgmental as some of the people that you’re talking about. So, let’s all be a little less judgmental of others.
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Music by Joakim Karud