Jesus Did Not Come and Die to Make Me Nice

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The Year of Not Being Nice has been harder than I thought. It is much easier to be nice—no conflicts, no controversy, no rocking the boat. It’s easier to be a bobble head.

Some people have challenged me, “Really? I thought Christians should be nice.” 

First, when you hear “should,” it usually means the focus is shifting from pleasing Christ to pleasing people. Second, let me repeat this from an earlier post:

Nice is not in the Bible.

Look it up for yourself.

You’ll find lots of references to good, kind, faithful, gentle, courageous, perfect, holy.

But not nice.

During Advent, I’ve been meditating on the miracle of Emmanuel, God-With-Us. Why would the King of the Universe come to our dirty, broken, rebellious world? As a vulnerable, impoverished infant? To live a sinless life, to die a criminal’s death, to be raised from the grave and seated at the right hand of the Father?

Jesus did not come and die to make me “nice.” 

And I’m sorry, he didn’t come to make you nice, either.

Consider wrapping these Scriptures and putting them as truth gifts under your tree to remember why Jesus came.

He came and died to make us free.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Gal 5:1

He came and died to make us adopted, redeemed, beloved children of God the Father.

In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight. Ephesians 1:5-8

He came and died to fulfill God’s purposes and glorify him.

. . . making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:9-12

He came and died to raise us to life with him, make us his masterpieces, and empower us for good works.  

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and  raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:5-10

He came and died to reconcile us and give us the ministry of reconciliation.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  Romans 5:8-10

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  II Cor 5:18-21

So if you’re thinking that God’s making a list and checking it twice and you’d better get busy being nice, STOP.

Jesus came and died for all the naughty and nice who are humble enough to open and receive the gift of the grace of salvation through him. 

 

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