Can you have Christian Morality without Christ?

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I puzzle over atheists and agnostics and others who claim to live up to Christian morals but reject Christ. I can’t help but think they are only picking up those morals that are convenient and shiny and leaving the rest behind.

To wit, Christian morals boil down to this:

  • None of us are perfect. Not even close.
  • But that’s ok, because when we make mistakes, we can repent through Christ and try again.
  • If we’re ever going to do anything right, it’s when we follow Christ’s example.
  • Even then, if we’re not doing it out of perfect love for God and our neighbor, we’re hypocrites and need to go back to step 1.

The point of it all is that ultimately, moral behavior is not the point of Christian morality. That’s not the goal, even though it is a happy side-effect. The point of Christian morality is to reconcile oneself with God. We are mortal, fallen creatures, and God is perfect in every way, and there is an infinite divide between our current state and his state, a divide that can only be crossed by Christ.

Christians who grasp this concept realize that there is nothing they can do to repay Christ, that their salvation is entirely dependent on Christ and nothing else. There is nothing they can do to qualify for God’s love. There is nothing they can do except receive it into their lives.

Such people live a life of peace and happiness and rest. In such a state, where all worry is removed, where all sins are atoned for, the individual can focus on only the most important things: Loving God and loving each other. The Christians quest, therefore, is not perfect obedience to God’s laws, but a change in heart, a change in perspective, a change in belief, a change in direction, to align our will with God’s.

Christians who adhere to this morality no longer worry about whether such-and-such behavior is congruent with God. We don’t look at people and say, “That person is going to hell, that person is going to heaven.” We know who we were before Christ changed us, and so we view people as “Yet to discover Christ” and “already discovered and received Christ.”

It puzzles me that people look at the Christians and see our good works, our charity, our service, our high moral lifestyle, or our impregnable character, and they think that is what makes us Christian. It’s the same as watching a Cargo Cult. All the bamboo flight control towers are powerless to bring any airplanes in.

You may claim to be living up to Christian standards without believing in or receiving Christ, but all you are doing is what Christ called hypocrisy, AKA, acting. You’re exactly like the Pharisees that Christ was so violently opposed to, walking around pretending to be good but inwardly are wholly disobedient and unworthy before God.

I honestly wonder, sometimes, what people mean when they say they have Christian morals but reject Christ. Do you read the Word of God in the Bible? Do you pray in your heart and mind and from time to time on your knees? Do you beg God for forgiveness, or ask for him to manifest his perfect love in your heart? Do you pray for your enemies, do good to them that persecute you and abuse you, and turn the other cheek when smitten? Do you strive to obey the commandments not because you know they are important but simply because you love God and love your neighbor?

Or are you just acting out a fantasy and think that a token donation here and a smile and nod there will somehow give you the same things that Christians daily receive?

Please, do not be fooled. Do not be deceived about what it is that a Christian is, what it is we believe, or what it is Christ showed us. Do not confuse us and our culture and Western Civilization with Christianity. Those things came from Christianity, but they are not the same things. Do not think that your vain efforts to preserve the products of Christianity without preserving Christianity will do any better than any other society has done in the history of the world.

I beg of you, get on your knees and pray to know Christ for yourself, to have all your sins taken away and to have your heart changed so that you to, can be reborn, your stony heart replaced with a fleshy one, and you can feel what it is we feel for you for yourself and for others.

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