As Americans we feel entitled to get what we want when we want it. We expect companies and people to do what’s best for me, and when we don’t receive that treatment we’re indignant. I saw this in myself the other week when I was trying to cancel a magazine subscription on Amazon that I found cheaper elsewhere. I felt wronged that Amazon was making it challenging for me to cancel my subscription and get my money back! I felt entitled to a cheaper price elsewhere! I felt entitled to break my contract (so to speak) to pay Amazon for my subscription.
In our relationship with God we often feel the same entitlement. We think that we (and everyone else for that matter) deserve heaven. We hate that God would entitle Christians to eternal life with him, and not muslims, buddhists, agnostics, atheists and whoever else leads a decent life.
But this attitude shows that we’re just being good Americans with our religious beliefs, and that we’re out of touch with reality. The true reality is that we’ve rebelled against an infinitely worthy, infinitely beautiful, infinitely loving, infinitely glorious God. Our sin is as infinitely disgusting, evil, and punishable as God is infinitely good. We only feel entitled because we bought into the lie that we’re “good people.” But no, no one is good.
Just think about how horrified you would be if I displayed your every though from the last 24 hours – all your hatred, lust, anger, bitterness, self-hatred, and frustration… In just 24 hours none of us can escape the reality that we deserve eternal punishment. None of us are entitled to anything – except hell.
That’s why the gospel is such a miracle. John Stott writes that the gospel is God’s “righteous way of making the unrighteous righteous.” You see, we are only entitled to God’s wrath, so it would be totally unjust and unrighteous of God to turn a blind eye to our rebellion. Would we really want all of the rapes, racism, genocide, violence, lies, greed, and manipulation of mankind to go unpunished?
Nonetheless God found a just way to make us – who are entitled to punishment – righteous. He sent his son to live the righteous life that we should have lived and die the death that we should have died. Christ became our sin (he received what we were entitled to) so that we could become his righteousness (we received what he was entitled to).
Christianity is not a faith that claims to revoke what mankind’s well-deserved prize of eternal life; no, it’s a faith that revokes what God alone deserved so that men could have it: a righteous, loving, eternal relationships with God the father!