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Jesus did not say “My yoke is hard but hell is harder.”

imageI was recently asked the old question: "But if the Christian is in Christ securely and unconditionally, why be good?"

Any number of counter-questions might be appropriate:

Is fear of punishment the only reason we can imagine for moral choices?

Isn't unconditional love most likely to elicit good living? 

Why is being good the ultimate arbiter here (rather than the question of my relationship to God)?

But as we spoke it seemed clear to me that the big misconception behind it all was a view that says: The Christian life is really, really, really hard and the only reason to live it is because there are other, basically unrelated, spiritual rewards.  Take away these carrots and sticks and of course you'll sin. Because, you know, sin is really great.  It's so great that God has to threaten us with hell to stop us having fun.  Offer free grace and there'll be pandemonium.

As though the way of Jesus is stifling.

As though sin is life-giving.

As though God's a cosmic kill-joy.

As though only eternal damnation balances the scales enough to make Christianity the clever choice.

As though the Christian life is so horrible, we need harsh sanctions to remain in it.

As though Jesus said "Toughen up people. My yoke is hard, but hell is harder."

But what if knowing Christ Himself is the centre of the Christian life rather than sin management? And what if Jesus really brings life and sin only brings death?  What if Christ's yoke really is the easy one - the only one that properly fits? What if being good is just really, you know, good? And what if you don't have to dangle people's feet over the pit to get them to behave?  What then?

Well you tell the believer "You're in Christ, securely and unconditionally, so why be bad?"





4 thoughts on “Jesus did not say “My yoke is hard but hell is harder.”

  1. Brian Midmore

    How are we God's people and eternally secure? It is because the holy Spirit dwells in us. It is the same spirit that justifies that sanctifies us. It is not just my gratitude that evokes good behaviour but the spirit working in me. If we become a Christian we cannot escape the sanctification of the Spirit.

  2. Brian Midmore

    The question being asked is 'do people have an obligation to be good after they become Christians? ' One answer is 'no but they will want be good'. But is the question about obligation or motivation? A Christian may well be motivated by gratitude to do good but nonetheless still have an obligation to do good. Does not Rom 8.12 say that Christians are obligated to do good 'we are debtors not to the flesh to live according to the flesh'. If we live according to the flesh we will die. So we are obligated to be led by the spirit. Fortunately this obligation comes with its own inbuilt power source.

  3. Glen

    Christians *must* be good in the sense that ingrafted branches *must* produce fruit. It is necessary - but necessary at a level far beyond mere human resolve and effort.

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