Christians often give the impression to the watching world that the rules matter the most. We give the impression everyone else should also follow the rules we do, even though they don’t trust in Jesus. That doesn’t make sense and turns people off Christianity. If all outsiders see is restrictions, where is the attraction in that? We need to explain the wonder of being saved and the security from being in God’s family as the primary thing; how we respond to that comes second.
Whenever I ask someone with no experience of church what they think a Christian is, they usually tell me that they think a Christian is someone who tries to be good. Someone who follows a complex set of rules to try and obey their God. It is easy to see why people get that impression. After all, Christians do tend to avoid getting drunk and they do tend to go to church and read their Bibles. There are things Christians do that others do not and things Christians avoid that others think are fine.
Many kids who grow up in church circles might have a similar view to this! After all, their parents are always telling them things they shouldn’t do that their friends are happy to do.
Yet that idea of Christianity as following a set of rules misunderstands things completely. Like most half-truths, it ends up being a whole lie. A Christian is someone who trusts in Jesus as the One who saved them from disaster and rules their life. A Christian is someone who belongs in God’s family, and because of that is secure and blessed. It’s not to do with rules at all.
So why do Christians live differently to those who don’t believe? Well, that is a response to what Jesus has done for us. That sounds kind of abstract, so let me explain it using an important part of Biblical history and an analogy.
At the start of the book of Exodus, the people of Israel were slaves in Egypt.