There is a false impression that I fear we Christians give to the world. It is wrong-headed, mistaken, and confusing. I wish that we did not so easily take people here, but we do. And when we give this false impression, we do God a disservice.
What am I talking about? So often we allow our point of emphasis in the faith to be far too small. Often we focus on one aspect of Christianity, but to the neglect of some of the Bible’s other themes.
For example, when you talk about Christianity to others, what do you present? Is your gospel presentation merely legal? Do you point out sin, judgment, and redemption? Is vicarious, penal, substitutionary atonement all that you share? Don’t get me wrong, I love the atonement, but there is actually more to present to the world than our sin and God’s forgiveness.
Sometimes, if we are not careful, we fail to present the goodness of God. Sometimes we fail to present the life and grace and peace of the Lord to a watching world. Sometimes we fail to show that living in the presence of the Lord is the source of the greatest possible human joy. And if we fail to present that joy, we fail to present Christianity accurately.
See the following verses found in Psalm 84:
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise! Selah
10 For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
12 O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in you!
When others hear you talk about the faith, does it sound like the above? If not, your picture is skewed. It is good to know and love the Lord. There is no greater joy than to worship the Lord. to be in the presence of the Lord is our desire. To live, even for a day in his presence would be worth more than living for a millennium somewhere else. Because God made us, he has the capacity to satisfy our souls. WE do not have the capacity to satisfy our souls with anything beyond what we were made for. So we glorify god, which is our purpose, to find the joy for which we were made.
I fear that, because of prosperity preaching, we have decided to deemphasize the truth of the joy of living in Christ. WE should not do so. The word of God is full of promises of life, peace, and joy. These promises are not based on material health or wealth. The promises of God are deeper than worldly things, as these promises reach into the depths of our souls. Do not sell Christianity short by only pointing to a legal transaction to buy our pardon. We love that element for sure. But the truth is, that legal pardon leads to the opportunity to have a joy that is not available to anyone who is not forgiven in Christ. Let us point people to joy as we call them to faith.