Q & R with Greg Albrecht – “Is becoming a better person the goal of Christianity?”
I am confused.Someone told me that the main thing Christians should do is to become better people and in turn make the world a better place. I want to be a better person and I want to help change the world but isn’t Christianity more than that?
Exactly! Christianity is more than a checklist of rules that help to make us and others better. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not primarily about morality. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a self-help program. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a formula. It is not a careful regimen of popping religious pills to make us better, nor does it consist of religious programs that will give us more purpose, or following religious prescriptions that will help us avoid sin. Christianity is not one and the same as being moral.
Some of the most moral people alive today are not Christians. Moral people may or may not be Christians. Christians are moral, no doubt about that, but morality is not the goal and it is not the answer. The answer and the goal is Jesus. That’s it. Jesus. Jesus produces morality in Christians, but morality alone does not produce Jesus. Building character may change what we do, but it does not change who we are. Jesus alone can change us from the inside out. He alone makes us into new men and women, because as our risen Lord he lives his resurrected life in us.
If morality alone is the goal of Christianity, then Jesus is completely unnecessary. If we can fix our own problems, then who needs Jesus? If we believe that we can produce enough goodness to turn our world around, then knowing Jesus, accepting him, believing and trusting in him, are irrelevant. The problem with proposing morality as the primary religious answer and goal is that Jesus is reduced to an afterthought, a religious ornament, a nice piece of religious furniture that we look at and admire but has no practical value.
The gospel is not a program or club that we join so that we can help change the world. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not matter of us looking at how wrong other people are, and devising programs so that those people can qualify to become like us. Religious, special, better-than-everybody-else societies are not the answer. Religious formulas, programs and initiatives are not the answer. Jesus alone is the answer.
For more answers to tough questions, check out our book:
Between Religious Rocks and Life’s Hard Places—101 Answers to Tough Questions About What You Believe.