I think, certainly in the UK, people see Christianity as a form of life insurance, something that old people turn to in order to feel safe for their future. People have a very traditional view of what it means to be a Christian, and what church is like and see it is somewhere to go to when your mind is slowly deteriorating that gives comfort and peace in those final years. It is true that this aspect of Christianity exists, this is undeniable, but anyone who takes any of the teachings seriously will tell you that faith in the Christian God is far more complex, and far more relational than just a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Heaven and Hell are important parts of Christian doctrine, don’t get me wrong, it is vital that Christians understand the hope of divine paradise and the consequence of rejecting “the ultimate invitation” because it’s a motivation to share the truth, it helps us to see that our faith isn’t something to be taken lightly. But the reason for being a Christian is so much more than just avoiding condemnation. The fact is, it opens up an entirely new dimension to life. There is a very real relationship with a very living God on offer for anyone who looks for it and it isn’t all flowery and nice and it isn’t surrounded by pink fluffy angels and it isn’t, at all, fair.
Being a Christian isn’t about making your life easier and sitting back on your laurels feeling smug about your salvation. Being a Christian is about standing up for God’s righteousness even when you know that no-one will agree with you, even when your instincts tell you otherwise. It can alienate you from friends and family and stop you doing things you used to enjoy. You have to make sacrifices in any relationship, and a relationship with God is no different. Being a Christian isn’t about being protected or safe, it’s about liberty and freedom, it’s about living the life you’re meant to live even when it hurts like nothing else and everything’s going wrong; it’s life assurance – not life insurance.
No-one who understands Christianity sees it as the easy way out because it isn’t.
It’s the righteous way out – the only righteous way out.