We like to believe that Christianity is only about love. Love is undoubtedly at the core of Christianity. God loves us so much that He sent His only son to die for us on the cross, while we were sinners (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). But we tend to brush over the aspects of Christianity that make us feel uncomfortable; the things that don’t conform to today’s society, where the world is, and where it’s headed.
If we want to call ourselves Christians, we have to follow God’s word — ALL of God’s word — not just the parts that make us happy and make us feel good.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. — 2 Timothy 3:16–17 (NIV)
The following facts are uncomfortable to think about, hear about, talk about, and write about. But as Christians, we need to know them and deal with them, not just brush over them.
These points aren’t here to create conflict or point the finger, but merely here to explore and state what the Bible — the inspired, infallible word of God — says.
1. We are sinners.
No one likes being told that they’re doing something wrong. No one wants to be called a sinner. Unfortunately, we are sinners:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. — Romans 3:23 (NIV)
We can try to stop sinning and do good things for others, but if we’re completely honest with ourselves, we’d have to admit that we sin. A lot.
We sin on a daily basis, whether it’s blaspheming, lying, stealing, dishonouring our parents, cheating, the list goes on. It’s also important (and yes, uncomfortable) to note that sexual immorality, lust, and homosexuality are sins (1 Corinthians 6:9–10) — an increasingly unpopular opinion in today’s society, even among some Christians. But we’re not here to conform to the ways of man, we are here to follow God’s ways (Romans 12:2). We’re also not here to single out some sins and not others. We all make mistakes and we sin, it’s simply our nature (Mark 7:21–23; John 3:19; Ephesians 2:3).
2. People who don’t have faith in Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice on the cross will go to hell.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 6:23 (NIV)
No one likes talking about hell. No one wants to believe in hell, let alone go to hell. But just as there’s a heaven, there’s a hell.
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” — Matthew 25:46 (NIV)
What waits for us in heaven and hell is a whole other topic, but we know that faith in Jesus alone is the only way to avoid ‘eternal damnation’.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. — John 3:18 (NIV)
Some people think that talk of hell is for religious zealots. But it’s a reality we all need to face.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. — Romans 10:9 (NIV)
3. We need to love God more than ourselves and our families.
For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother,a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. — Matthew 10:35–37 (NIV)
This might be a bit difficult to swallow for some people, especially since we love our families, our parents, our children, more than anything. But that indicates just how strong our love for God should be. We need to put God above them. We need to be loyal to God even if it goes against what our families think, even if it creates conflict.
4. Christianity is not easy.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. — Matthew 16:24 (NIV)
Jesus was mocked, ridiculed, betrayed, tortured and killed. No one, especially Jesus, said Christianity was going to be easy. In fact, Jesus said the exact opposite.
You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. — Matthew 10:22 (NIV)
The world will hate you.
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. — John 15:18–19 (NIV)
These are just a few uncomfortable truths that the Bible presents to us. I’ll be exploring more of these in the near future, so stay tuned!