Editorial: What is the True Essence of Christianity?

Original: February 8, 2011 Issue 10

By: Evan Ricucci

Staff Writer

Sitting on one of the stone walls surrounding the plants right outside the Humanities building, I listen as a seemingly angry man with an easel is trying to explain himself to a bunch of seemingly angry students with sneers. I do not know of a more frustrating scenario as a bystander and as a Christian. In these conversations I hear many misconceptions, misinterpretations and assumptions that damage the perspective of so many towards Christianity.

Yes, you could say this article is somewhat an apologetic for the Christian faith, but it is also a simple explanation of what is at the core of Christianity. I write not to convince, batter, beat, or force anyone into believing anything. I write as someone who believes in something and wants others to share in that belief, but by their own personal acceptance and not by having it forced upon them.

Christianity is, by nature, an offensive religion. It tells us that we are not good people, that we are not in control of anything and that we deserve eternal damnation for the evil we commit. I would not be accurately presenting Christianity if I left these points out. Fundamental to the Christian faith is the depravity of mankind. The thing about this point is that Christians do not, and should not, view themselves any differently.

The fact that I am a Christian does not exempt me from being capable of doing wrong. I am not a better person than any other individual by nature of my belief in the truth of Christianity. The Bible says that “all [people] have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” This does not leave out any single individual.

However, the centrality of the Christian faith is not the fact that all people are sinful and deserve hell; the central point is the solution presented for this predicament. So many times I hear people saying how unfair God is and how brutal a being He is. However, when you look at what man deserves as a result of rebellion against God and the reality that He has provided a means of avoiding judgment at the cost of His own Son, the perspective changes quite a bit.

I believe that I deserve nothing short of judgment for all of eternity, yet I have been given the gift of salvation as a result of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is nothing of my own doing, but purely an act of merciful and gracious kindness by a loving God who is willing to forgive.

God cannot overlook sin. He is just and holy and therefore must punish that which goes against His perfect character and standard. I can guarantee, if the situation were any different, those clamoring against God’s judgment would be clamoring against God for being too lenient. God’s judgment satisfies the need for justice, a standard held by all people and is only natural from a higher being.

God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to represent mankind as a substitute. So anyone who simply has faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins is seen as not guilty, because Christ took God’s judgment upon Himself in their place! What amazing mercy this is!

So when you hear someone screaming that you are a sinner deserving of hell, please, please do not stop there. Think of the opportunity presented for forgiveness by a God who wants to make you His child, if you will only accept the “free gift of God [forgiveness] through Christ Jesus, our Lord.”