Last Sunday, our theme was “Killjoy God”. The premise was that some people’s obstacle to faith is that Christianity has too many rules–that God doesn’t want us to have fun or enjoy our lives. This is part of our “I Want to Believe, But…” series that is covering several obstacles or objections to faith.

We had some technical difficulties in the service, so here are a few of the images I wasn’t able to show you:

I googled 70’s teens and here are a couple of images that resulted:

Now, check out an image from the 70’s from the very strict private Christian high school that I attended:

Those long skirts on the girls and short haircuts on the guys were not by accident–they were part of the RULES! Yes, I know a little about Christianity and rules.

How have we gotten the idea that putting up with a bunch of rules and restrictions is the price we must pay for connecting with God AND—lets be honest—going to heaven?

In the Bible, we never find people becoming loved by God–accepted into God’s family–by keeping the rules.

Rules, laws, whatever you want to call them, do have a purpose in God’s economy. But what purpose? I think we have missed the intention of God’s laws.

God’s laws were intended to be a sign—to mark us out as the people of God. We live in a certain way not to BECOME God’s children, but because we ARE God’s children.
Deuteronomy 26.18, 1 Peter 2.9

God’s laws were intended for our protection, not our restriction.
You don’t let your children play in the street. You put child-proof locks on cabinets. That is for protection, not restriction. In the same way, God gives us guidelines for our protection. Genesis 1.29  Genesis 2.16-17 1 Corinthians 6.12

God’s laws are intended to show us our need for a Savior. All people are sinners (Romans 3.23)–we do things we shouldn’t; we do things that are wrong; we do things that violate God’s plan for us. And we need God’s mercy and forgiveness. How do we know we need it? God’s laws point out our need for forgiveness. Romans 3.20

God’s laws were never intended to be a vehicle for achieving favor with God. The Scriptures are clear that we don’t become accepted by God because we keep the rules. We are accepted by God through faith in Jesus Christ. Galatians 2.16

Does Christianity have rules/laws? Are there “thou shalt not”s? Sure. What good would our faith be if it didn’t show us how to live? But the commands in Scripture are like the lines on our streets–they are a good thing, meant to help us be safe and get where we need to go in life, not to make us miserable.