One of the reasons our church is not big on creating RULES for people to follow is because we want people to focus on having a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus. I’m not really sure why the Christian Church feels the needs to regulate what people should or shouldn’t do to be a Christian? No, I’m not referring to the Biblical laws that surpass time and culture (eg. Do not murder.)
But, I am talking about all the superfluous rules we’ve created to make people holier by our standards. I’ve heard everything from you can’t eat at specific restaurants because they have a bar in them to restrictions on the types of clothes people wear or the way they cut their hair.
This is nothing new to the Church. This was happening in the book of Acts with the first Church. The Jewish Christians wanted to heap all kinds of rules on the Gentiles in order for them to convert to Christ. They wanted them to get circumcised and follow all of their Jewish laws and regulations. This brought together a Council of the first Church in Acts 15. I love the response that James gave as a conclusion of this Council.
“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” (Acts 15:19)
While I understand the intention behind many of the rules, I’m not sure it is our job to regulate people. Yes, it is our job to teach them God’s Word. But, if we want people to live holier lives, then let’s help them get closer to Jesus. The closer someone gets to perfection, the more apparent their imperfections become. The light exposes the darkness in us! The Bible teaches us that it is the role of the Holy Spirit to “convict people of sin.” (John 16:8).
Perhaps we should stop playing God and do our part to lead people to a real relationship with Jesus.