There was a time when all of Christianity was about converting people. It was a Get People into Heaven thing. Logically, if you knew where the life raft was...you'd tell people. It's not that crazy, but it's also not the point (in my opinion) (all of this is my opinion) (you knew that, right? of course you did...why would I even ask?)
It wasn't about the Kingdom of Heaven coming to Earth. It wasn't about diving into a relationship with a Father who loves you no matter what. It was a ticket to Heaven and a hall pass out of Hell.
When asked, the great majority of Americans will tell you that good people get to go to Heaven. Every poll taken in the past 50+ years that asks the "how do people get to Heaven" has the majority of people answer that that is exactly how it works. Christians don't like that answer because, honestly...it's not really what the Bible says. It's not about works. We're saved by Grace...and not by the stuff we do.
This flies in the face of a works generated religion. If we just try hard enough. If we don't drink, or do drugs...if we don't have sex outside of marriage...if we don't make fun of Fuller's shoes...if we give to charity...then, and only then, will we get to Heaven.
So we reacted to this works based theology. It's not about how much you do...how much you pray... It's not a matter of what you drink, who you hang out with...it's not a matter of how you clean up your language, your habits, your life... It's GRACE that saves you, not stuff and not effort.
And that's not wrong, is it? Nope, but often it turns into this whole -I'm going to show you how much I believe in grace. It can turn into a grace contest. I'm going to prove to you how much I believe in grace by_________
I'm not one of those legalistic Holier than thou types...and I'll show you. It's not about what I do, so I'm just going to sort of live my life the way I want to live. I'm still on the Christian team. I'll still get to Heaven. In fact, look at how relevant I am!!
Salvation has once again become everything. Before it was just about shoving people in the door. Now it's proving to people that you can do anything that feels good and still get in the door.
I'm just not sure that's the point. I don't think it's somewhere in the middle either.
It's a relationship. Sometimes those who love you encourage you to pursue bigger and better things. We throw around words like holy or purity like they're terms only left to the Pharisees in our midst. Somehow virtue has been left by the side of the road because generations of people have abused it's inteneded meaning
So we've been saved by faith to do good works...but it's not the works that saved us...so let's not get wrapped up in those.
We've reacted...and somehow a few things have been lost along the way.