The Bible has been the foundation of Christianity for most of history. It gives us principles to live by and inspires us to be greater in our faith and in our lives. While there are many inspirational truths in the Bible, Christians grasp onto certain platitudes that seem nice, but they are not biblical. We print them on clothes, jewelry, and, more than likely, you can find them printed on a placard in your local Christian supply store.
I want to expose these six lies that Christians believe.
1. A blessed life is a perfect life.
The Bible certainly says that Christians will live a blessed and abundant life. Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” However, some leaders in the faith have taken this to mean that “if you just have enough faith, your life will be perfect.” In other words, they mistake being “blessed” for having wealth and material things. This is a misinterpretation of the Gospel message.
As Jesus Christ said in Matthew 16:24: "Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?'”
God will provide blessings to us, but that does not make us immune to the trials and hurts of life. To say otherwise is a disservice. It leads to false expectations and when those are not met, it steers to a faltering of the faithful.
2. Not everyone can receive God’s love.
A core misinterpretation of the Bible is that not everyone can receive God’s love. This is a dangerous teaching that goes against the very nature of Jesus Christ. While it is true that God wants to draw every man, woman, and child to Him, He will not negate their free will, but that does not mean He stops loving them.
Christ says plainly in the most quoted verse in the world, John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Now of course, as a Christian, I believe that no one is worthy of God’s love, but He gives love to us freely. The Apostle Paul elaborates on this further in Romans 8:38: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
3. I can sin because of grace.
This is a dangerous trend that biblical scholar Dr. Michael Brown refers to as "hyper-grace." It is the idea that Christians can continue to live in sin because Jesus’ forgiveness is sufficient.
Christ’s forgiveness and love is all sufficient, but that does not negate the need for repentance. When we sin, whether unintentionally or willfully, we should get on our knees before God and ask for forgiveness. To do otherwise is to be insincere.
The lack of repentance or conviction of sin is nothing more than an excuse not to grow and learn what it means to follow after Christ.
As it says in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
4. Christianity is not a religion.
I have heard this on many Christian television shows and from many pulpits, “Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.” In my own evangelical circles, “religion” or being “religious” has become a catchphrase to tackle things like hypocrisy, legalism, and being pious.
I do understand the sentiment, separating Christianity from the rest of the plethora of religions while at the same time calling out the hoity-toity. It kills two birds with one stone, but this does not make it correct.
Religion is simply defined as “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods” or “a particular system of faith and worship.”
Christians certainly believe in God, that He has supernatural power, we have a system of faith and worship. In that sense, Christianity is a religion.
Wishful thinking does not change that definition or the fact that Christianity falls under it, nor does it downgrade our faith in any way. The Bible speaks very favorably about religion and being religious.
As it says in the Book of James 1:26, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
5. I don’t need to read the Bible.
This is a dangerous idea. It comes from an arrogance that if you heard it once from a televangelist, you know what you are talking about, so you do not need to actually read the Bible for yourself.
This is why when young Christians “leave the nest” of a loving church family and go off to college or work, they falter when they are challenged by someone who is not a Christian, but knows more about the Bible than they do. In one instant, their deeply-held beliefs are challenged and without the knowledge to back up their faith, they begin to lose heart.
The Bible teaches us in 2 Timothy 4:2,”preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
It is important that every Christian, no matter the denomination or stream, read the Bible for yourself and research it so you can grow in the knowledge that God gave us. Of course, listen to your local pastor’s words, but study for yourself so that you can grow in understanding.
6. A simple message is not a biblical message.
No, I am not saying we should change the message of the Gospel. Got it?
That being said, there is this idea that the Bible has to be convoluted in a ridiculous cycle of fancy words and feckless platitudes. Any sermon, devotional, or study book that does not do a deep dive into full commentary on every phrase, word, or grammatical nuance is somehow lacking.
This is not true and while there is a time and place to analyze, not every message has to be put in that context.
As the Apostle Paul says in Colossians 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
Every Christian should study the Bible, but when they present the Gospel to an unbeliever, it is not wrong to do it in a simple manner. Christ certainly did this in his famous “Sermon on the Mount.” He broke down his message in a way that was easy to understand for His audience.
The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:14, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
The things of God are “folly,” as another translation says, “foolishness,” to someone who does not know about the Gospel or what it says. At times, the Bible does not have the appearance of rationality or reason, it can seem odd and downright bizarre.
At times, it is appropriate to boil it down to help people grow and learn. Once a basic understanding is grasped, the deeper knowledge can be brought to a greater extent.
I have found that in my experience, this makes the deeper meanings of the Bible have a richness to the person who is receiving the teaching.
All scriptures are taken from the English Standard Version.