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Faith

Why I’m (still) a Christian

by | 11 August 2017, 5:09 PM

My first exposure to Christianity was when I attended Sunday School, age 4.

I said the sinner’s prayer at age 7 after learning that people who did not follow Jesus would be thrown into hell. Being trapped in a fire was one of my greatest fears.

Then I began to doubt.

I started questioning whether I had said the sinner’s prayer in the right way. Unsure about my salvation, I would say the sinner’s prayer periodically.

On hindsight, I had become a believer out of fear, rather than out of an understanding of God’s love for me.

The “Christian” things I did in my childhood came out of a blind obedience to what the adults in my life deemed as appropriate. Merely practising a religion, I never thought to question any of it.

I memorised Bible verses weekly in Church. I breezed through all the Scripture memory quizzes. In secondary school, I attended a mission school, with regular Chapel sessions.

One might say I was a model Christian child.

In a safe environment, I was encouraged to ask hard questions about my faith as we tested the reliability of the Scriptures.

In my teens, I was introduced to several books which aimed to prove the historicity and truth about Christianity. Despite this, I never challenged myself to investigate for myself how reliable the Christian faith was.

I was afraid of the implications if I were to discover that the Christian faith couldn’t hold water. I was just as afraid of the fire then – as I had been at seven.

So, as you can see, holding on to the faith hasn’t been the most pain-free, clear-cut process for me. Yet, in spite of these struggles, I remain a Christian today. Why?

I follow God despite having the liberty, as a fully grown adult, to choose my faith. Why?

After I had completed my A-levels, an old friend invited me to a Bible study session at her university’s Christian Fellowship group. I had no plans for that day, so I agreed to join her.

This meeting turned out to be the first of many, showing me the Bible wasn’t a collection of disparate stories, but a single story of God’s redemptive plan for mankind — told in parts across different generations.

In a safe environment, I was encouraged to ask hard questions about my faith as we tested the reliability of the Scriptures.

These meetings helped me take Christianity seriously. This turned my faith around.

As I journeyed with my Bible study group and read widely, God led me to Himself. For the very first time, I developed my personal faith convictions:

1. We are saved for good works — not by them.

At the core of other faiths is the notion that Man is saved by following a certain moral code, which earns him favour in the sight of their deities.

However, the God of the Christian faith initiated the salvation of His people, despite our fallen nature (Ephesians 2:5, Romans 5:8). While Christians are called to do good works, this is the outward expression of our faith. Good works are our response to salvation — not an attempt to merit it. (Titus 2:14, Ephesians 2:10)

When I discovered this truth, I was set free.

2. We are saved by grace through faith, into a relationship.

Christians believe that only Jesus Christ saves. No man could ever be good enough to make it to Heaven on our own merit (Romans 3:23). Instead of despondency, however, God offers hope. In His grace, He sent His Son Jesus to mend the brokenness of this fallen world and reconcile His people to Himself.

My salvation is God’s gift, by His sovereign grace and mercy. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

This is why I continue in the Christian faith. In my heart, I know that God chose me — despite my brokenness and inadequacies. I’ve been freed to live as the Lord God has called me to, a far cry from my childhood’s misguided attempts at appeasement.

I had grown up, only to be born again. But this time, I am no longer a slave to good deeds for salvation. I am a child of God.

/ eudora@thir.st

Eudora found herself writing on public platforms by chance. Apart from writing, she likes many random things, including spoken word poetry, adult colouring books, tea, stationery and fresh, clean laundry.

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Why I’m (still) a Christian