The average Christian’s theology is pretty simple. “I believe in Jesus therefore I am going to heaven, and in the mean time I will try to be good. I don’t have to be good because I am saved by grace, but I will try because I am supposed to be good.” That pretty well sums up the theology of most believers. It not only is simple, it is woefully inadequate and incomplete. The result is that most people who call themselves Christians are continually trying harder, but continually failing to grow in character. Very few bear much fruit, that is influence others to become believers or do anything that results in changes and growth in the lives of others.
So a believer who lives their life with this theology dies, and stands before Jesus with very little character developed in their life because of this theology. The question now is, “Will Jesus fix them, will He zap them and make them perfect, does it matter that they enter heaven as a baby in character?” I would guess that about 90% of all those who call themselves Christians think that what they do in this life, what they accomplish, the fruit that they bear, the person they become on the inside doesn’t ultimately matter, because they are saved by grace and God will change everything about them when they step into glory.
I like to ask the question “Why?” as I read and study the Bible to help me understand it better. Let’s do that to a few passages.
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;
Why? What was the purpose, the reason God decided to make man in the first place? I am sure it wasn’t simply a “good idea” or a whim, God always has a nobel purpose for all that He does, and the creation of man seems to be at the center of all that He created and did. Why?
Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity,
Why should we press on the maturity? What would motivate me to do that if it really doesn’t matter that much if I do, or I don’t. Pressing on to maturity takes effort and sacrifice and self-control so why should I make that sacrifice? It seems reasonable to me that God has a very good reason for giving that command other than just giving us something to do.
James 1:2–4 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Why? I don’t like trials, problems, and tribulations so why should I rejoice when I experience them? Very few people do rejoice in the midst of a trial so most must feel the same way. It says in that passage that the end result is that we will “be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”. That is describing a mature character that is grown up, and like that of Jesus. But if God is just going to fix me at the end anyway, why not just grumble and complain like everyone else when I go through a trial.
Most believers are greatly lacking in motivation to press on to maturity because there is no compelling reason to do it, and as long as they stick with their simple theology it will stay that way. I am pretty sure that God doesn’t fix our “baby character” at the end of our life, but that we are stuck with it.
To be continued: