For a while now, when I think about what my Christian faith offers, I think of it as offering true fulfillment, and a quench for the thirst that nothing else can satisfy. I have thought about how basing your identity and finding your meaning in anything else doesn't work. But I am realizing how much I don't grapple with Gospel 101, as in Jesus died for my sins and took my place. I've been thinking more about it. Obviously, it's a basic Christian doctrine and because I've been a Christian for a long time, I have long been aware of it and I have claimed it within my set of beliefs. When I really think of it though, it bothers me some. I find that if I were having to explain it to someone who didn't already accept it, I wouldn't know what I was doing, and even more, I find that it stirs up questions that I haven't really considered. I'm not just having questions in the sense that I seek information. I am questioning. I find things in my questions that question God's goodness. I think, why is it without Jesus, I deserved hell? I know that one of the classic issues that people have is the question of why Jesus had to die. It was a question that wasn't very relevant to me. Now it is. Why? Why does the acquittal of sin require death? If I am by nature sinful, why would I have been punished? Is there a choice to any of this? There are more thought processes and lines of questions I touch at when considering these things, but I don't even want to write them out. They are, even for me, too accusatory towards God. What I took as simple Christian doctrine doesn't make as much sense to me. If I take a step back, I hope that this questioning makes my relationship with God stronger because it has uncovered some shaky foundations. I actually want to do some more studying of the Bible, not my strong suit, and that would be good because I find I have too often let other authors do the thinking about the Bible for me. When I come out of the other side of my questions, I hope I can better say why Jesus is the only way anything makes sense in this world, for myself and for others.
When I back off from the effect Jesus's death and resurrection has on the individual, and look at the world, I find it easier to understand. Christianity answers the question of why nothing seems to be right in this world. It says that things weren't meant to be this way. That people ought to act better. That the world would work better if we didn't put ourselves first all the time. It means that all the injustice is something God wouldn't stand. When I am disgusted at the actions of others and feel they should be punished, God agrees. The justice of God agrees.
Maybe it's making more sense.
If I think about the feeling I get at someone else's selfishness, pride, lust, lack of integrity, dishonesty, the way they feel entitled to things that they shouldn't, rudeness, maybe I can see it. Something rises up inside and says, "that's wrong" and not only that, I want to tell them exactly how they are wrong and make them see it. I want to say to a customer, you know sir, you're being an a**hole. He deserves it. He absolutely deserves it. I'm offended by injustice. I'm offended by immorality. I'm offended by sin. I guess God is offended too. I guess punishment is what a sinner deserves. A big "you suck. And you should be aware that you suck. You should feel small and pay for what you have done." So I guess because God knows we are sinful and don't really want to be, he sent us Jesus. Jesus says, "through my perfection, you can be perfect." "Through the power of my Spirit, you can live the way you ought to live. You can be what I always meant you to be." I think what confuses me is this feeling that we couldn't help it, yet we could help it. On one hand, I know better, and I choose the wrong thing. On the other, God flat out knew that we could not keep the Law. In fact, Paul says in Romans that the Law was only there to highlight our sinfulness. Somehow this makes sense. I don't necessarily see entirely how it does. I think I know deep down that it does.