“…There is a little bookmark adorned with flowers, bows, green sprigs, and fourteen tiny pink hearts, with a tassel at the top. In the center is a wide-eyed teddy bear that looks as if it might have inadvertently just done something naughty. The message below – as you will now expect – ‘Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.’
“Well, it certainly needs to be said that Christians are forgiven. And it needs to be said that forgiveness does not depend on being perfect. But is that really what the slogan communicates?
“Unfortunately, it is not. What the slogan really conveys is that forgiveness alone is what Christianity is all about, what is genuinely essential to it.
“It says that you can have a faith in Christ that brings forgiveness, while in every other respect your life is no different from that of others who have no faith in Christ at all. This view so pleasingly presented on bumpers and trinkets has deep historical roots. It is by now worked out in many sober tomes of theology, lived out by multitudes of those who sincerely self-identify as Christians.
“…It is we who are in danger: in danger of missing the fullness of life offered to us. Can we seriously believe that God would establish a plan for us that essentially bypasses the awesome needs of present human life and leaves human character untouched? Would he leave us even temporarily marooned with no help in our kind of world, with our kinds of problems: psychological, emotional, social, and global? Can we believe that the essence of Christian faith and salvation covers nothing but death and after? Can we believe that being saved really has nothing whatever to do with the kinds of persons we are?”
The above excerpt was taken from Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God (New York: Harper Collins, 1997), 36, 38. Click here for the Amazon link.