Clarifying the Gospel
How is Christianity different?
When I began to think of how to communicate the Gospel clearly in this context, it was more of a challenge than I thought it was going to be. I started to notice similar elements to spiritism in my own thoughts.
It is easy to start believing in a Christian Karma, or reason like a Monotheistic Animist:
- “I have to keep on the straight and narrow so God (not spirits, of course) will be happy with me and bless me.”
- “If I follow the Christian ‘rules’ God will be more pleased with me and bless me.”
- “If I give to God, he will give to me, and keep trouble away to boot.”
- “If something is going wrong in my life it is because I did something wrong and now I am getting punished for it.”
Do you hear the animism in that told with Christian vocabulary??
Specifically, the question that I needed a more biblical answer to was, “How does my obedience and disobedience relate to God’s blessing and my chastisement?”
We must go to the Gospel.
Grace – the opposite of Karma
The Christian message is that because of grace, we get exactly the OPPOSITE of what we deserve. We sin, but Jesus bore the wrath and punishment for our sin and thus there is no more wrath for us to bear. His posture toward us is Grace.
Animism says the spirits will punish you.
Karma says that our sin is going to come around to bite us.
Grace says that our sin is paid for and we are His child.
A Biblical Worldview
Probably the highest challenge for us all to have (much less in an animistic culture like Thailand) is to have a thoroughly biblical worldview.
There are some basics that are extremely messed up here:
Events in our life are not determined by a spirit’s temper. Spirits are not sovereign, God is sovereign. He is good and we can trust Him.
Ps 115; Job 1;
Grace and Love
Because of God’s grace shown to us in Christ, we can be confident of his love for us no matter the situation. His love for us does not fluxuate based on whether we are having a good day or not. It is settled. It is sure. It is based on the immutable character of God, and demonstrated in the omnipotent power of His grace.
It is not that I don’t believe in spirits. I do. But they are subject to One Spirit with ultimate authority.
I do not have to fear what they can do unto me, but the reality that they are feared and honored here more than Jesus places me at war with them.
Eph 6; Job 1;
There are trials, temptations, sufferings. They have a purpose, but they are never a result of a malicious God (or spirit) out to punish us. They are part God’s loving, perfect, and sovereign plan to form us into the image of Christ.
1 Cor 1; James 1; Rom 8
Obedience, Blessing, and Consequences
God really does want me to obey for my good and His glory and gives 1,000 reasons and motivations for doing so. He enables me to obey by the Holy Spirit.
I am blessed in Christ regardless of posessions, power, or reputation, but He is kind and gives all things richly to enjoy, and every good and perfect gift comes from Him. When I disobey, I am chastened as His child and if I am not, it is because I am not His.
Heb 5; Eph 1; Jms 1
Faith destroys fear. We don’t have to live by superstitions, we have truth and promises written that we can hold to. That we can judge everything else by.
1 Tim; Mark 4-5;