By Aaron Armstrong
As a kid and well into adulthood, I thought Christianity was… well, let’s just say “joyless” is the most polite thing I could say. I had friends who grew up with either Anglican or Catholic parents (I didn’t care enough to ask in all honesty) and they were required to go to catechism classes once a week up until they had their first communion. Given that I had no background with anything Christianty-related, I asked what that even was. They did not speak of it with joy. They didn’t speak of anything that sounded particularly exciting at all. Just rules, at least from their perspective. We all had enough people telling us what to do already, so if Christianity was about more rules on top of the rules I already had to deal with, I wasn’t interested.
When I started reading the Bible in my 20s, and found something completely different than I was expecting. It wasn’t the drudgery that my childhood friends described. It wasn’t lists of rules and commands that left us hopeless and helpless. It was something wondrous. Life-giving, I dare say. Words that told me that God takes people who were orphaned by sin, and makes them part of His family. He adopts them as His sons and daughters (John 14:18; Rom. 8:15). Heirs, the Bible called them (Gal. 4:7).
And after I believed, after I recognized the only way to the father was through the One who called Himself the “way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), I kept noticing many people who struggled with the same sort of begrudging attitude toward Christianity that my childhood friends had with their catechism classes. They were exhausted, trying to work for what God had already given them. It was like they had forgotten that “there is no Jew or Greek, slave or free male or female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). They lived as slaves instead of sons (and daughters) and heirs of the promise. I swore that this wouldn’t happen to me.
Until it happened to me.
Not too long ago, I was tired, running on empty. Something was off. I was working hard—really hard—to help people see how great the gospel is. But I was working so hard that I took my eyes off the gospel’s greatness for myself. So, I turned to the Scriptures once again. And in Galatians, I was once again reminded of this good news: in Christ, I am a child of God. I am adopted into God’s family. I am an heir according to God’s promises (Gal. 3:29). And because of this, I know I am going to enjoy eternity with Him forever—not because of anything that I do, but all because of Christ, the way, the truth, and the life.
Written by Aaron Armstrong
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