Lists are popular fodder for YouTube and social media content. While many of them are frivolous in the topics they cover, the format is still a pretty good way to cover topics and present information for both entertainment and insight. So why not create one with the purpose of serving the Lord?

There are a lot of things that both believers and nonbelievers get wrong about our faith. So here is a list of 4 misconceptions people have about Christianity. The hope is that in covering this list, nonbelievers will be better informed about the truth of the faith and believers will be better equipped to answer questions and correct misinformation when sharing the Gospel.

The life of a Christian isn’t supposed to be easy.
The lives of Christians have ups and downs just like with all other human beings. For some reason, this has been used to attack Christianity and suggest that belief has no merit. Some skeptics will even point to Christians going through struggles and ask “Where’s God?” That question is rooted in the idea that if God is real, he wouldn’t let those who believe in him suffer. There’s also the insinuation that no one would choose to believe in God if that belief didn’t make their lives better.

The truth is that suffering is inherent to the Christian experience.

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, – Philippians 1:29

Anyone who has read the Bible should understand the wrongness of the idea that Christian lives are easy. Every major servant of God in the Bible faced trials. Moses had to wander with the Hebrews and didn’t get to see the Promised Land because of his disobedience. David sinned and was punished harshly for it. Jesus was beaten and murdered in his effort to save humanity. The disciples were persecuted and killed in some cases just trying to teach about Jesus. If one chooses to become a Christian, that person should expect to face some degree of suffering in this life. The Bible promises us that much. 

 So why would anyone choose to believe? As believers, we want happy lives on Earth, but that’s not what we live for. Our true goal is to serve God both when it brings us joy and when it brings us pain because we understand that this life isn’t the end for us. Our reward is waiting on the other side.

God always answers prayer, but that doesn’t mean believers always get what they pray for.
Prayer is a very important part of the Christian experience. Through prayer Christians can praise God, confess sins, show gratitude, and make requests. Sometimes seemingly unanswered prayers are used to cast doubt on God and his existence. When a whole church prays for the life of a member and that member dies anyway, some would suggest that the prayer didn’t work. Some even point to the words of Jesus to cast doubt.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. – John 15:7

If you didn’t get what you prayed for then the prayer was of no use, right?

Sure, the Bible tells us that if we make requests in prayer, they will be granted. However, the Bible does make caveats to that. Even the verse above is an example. Jesus said that those praying must remain in him. Other verses make it even clearer that there are conditions for having a prayer granted.

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” – Matthew 21:22

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. – James 4:3

When we read the Bible as a whole and not just take isolated verses, we see that God sets conditions for our prayers to be granted. We have to have faith that God will actually grant our request, and we have to pray with righteous hearts and not just out of selfish desires. Even then, when we make our requests, we’re not always entitled to them being answered the way we want.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14

At the end of the day, God is sovereign and he does what he wants. We can ask him for anything, but sometimes his answer may be “No.” That’s something believers have to understand. God knows best, and sometimes our prayers aren’t granted because they aren’t truly what we need or what he wants for us.  Even Jesus was subject to that truth.  In Gethsemane, he prayed to be spared from his fate (Matthew 26:36-46).  Luckily for us, the Father did not grant that prayer.

It’s not the job of believers to convert nonbelievers.

Jesus told his followers the following:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, – Matthew 28:19

Some take this to mean that believers are not just responsible for sharing the Gospel but also for ensuring that those who hear the Gospel accept it and live by it. That is a mistake. Just as each of us had a choice to believe or not believe, everyone we share with also has that choice. Yes, in the above verse Jesus told his followers to bring people to the faith.  That was the goal of his followers. However, earlier in Matthew, when Jesus sent out the 12, he made it clear that there would be people who did not accept them or their message. The same is true for believers today. We are supposed to share the Gospel, but we don’t dictate whether or not someone receives it. We can’t force anyone to follow God. They have to make that choice for themselves.

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. – 2 Corinthians 5:20

As Paul taught, we are simply mouthpieces for God. We can implore to nonbelievers on God’s behalf, but it is not up to us whether or not they accept Him.

Being a good person doesn’t get you into Heaven

We see evidence of this misconception all over. It’s pretty commonly accepted that Christians believe that good people go to Heaven and bad people go to Hell. That’s incorrect. Being good does not save you.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2;8-9

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9

Salvation isn’t something we can earn through good behavior. It’s something that God gives us, and the condition for receiving that gift is belief in Jesus.

Does that mean that bad people can get into Heaven as long as they believe in Jesus? Probably not.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. – John 3:36

“If you love me, keep my commands. – John 14:16

Belief in the Bible isn’t just about showing lip service. Jesus made it clear that when the end comes, there will be people who claim they believed, but Jesus will not accept them (Matthew 7:21-23). Simply saying you believe is not enough. When one actually believes, he or she will be changed. That’s not to say that they will become perfect and never sin again. True believers gain access to the Holy Spirit, and by leaning on the Holy Spirit, believers can continuously improve and grow closer to the Lord. Actions don’t save. Belief does, but for true believers, actions are often the evidence of that belief.

Chris Lawyer

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