By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross
People who oppose Christianity will sometimes look for contradictions in scripture to prove to them it isn’t true. I did when I was trying to decide what I believed. What they find instead are contradictions to how they want to live their lives. Either way, they walk away from it.
I think that’s one of the biggest struggles for the cowboy crowd: they see it as a book of rules asking them to live their lives differently so they reject it. At best, they decide for themselves, contradicting scripture they will never read, that as long as they believe in God and judge themselves a decent enough human being, they’ll be there in Heaven.
I was raised in church
My grandaddy was a preacher
I talk to God every day in the barn.
I know my blessings come from God.
I go to a good church.
I read my Bible and go to cowboy church at the rodeos.
I believe Jesus was born in that manger
I believe in God and am a good person.
My family are Christians.
None of this saves you from God’s judgment.
James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
James tells us even the demons believe in God. Clearly it takes something else for us to get to Heaven.
They’re missing what it means to have a saving faith in Jesus and while they judge themselves to be good enough, fail to grasp they’re not going to pass God’s final judgment without a life transformed by Jesus.
Instead, a life condemned to Hell is waiting for them, no matter how ‘good’ they believe they are.
But the Bible isn’t a book full of rules you have to follow to get to Heaven. The Bible guides us to how to live more like Jesus but most importantly, it points to him and how to be saved from God’s judgement. Once we have that salvation, we don’t suddenly stop being who are, but God still immediately sees us as made completely new, without sin.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
We would rather hold on to our old selves than be made new by a saving faith in Jesus. Instead of worrying about what we lose or give up to be a Christian, we should be chasing after that perfect eternity in Heaven harder than we chase after a championship buckle. Without Jesus, the buckle might be the best reward you ever receive.
With Jesus comes a perfect eternity and a life here that becomes more about what we are becoming and less about who we are holding onto. And while following Jesus becomes the priority, it makes every other part of your life better from the wins to the losses. You get so much more than you think you’re giving up; here and especially after.