What Do Christians Have to Live For?
A while back, Vjack of Atheist Revolution asked, “What do Christians have to live for?” He then proposed three ideas. First, he posits that we live for God. This is an excellent suggestion, though Vjack has no idea how it would be accomplished. Second, he thought that we might live for either the Rapture or the afterlife. This offers no incentive to take care of the planet since we are only on it for a short time. Third, he asks what incentive that there is for a Christian to be moral if all of his sins are paid for by Christ. Let’s address all three points.
First, how would a Christian go about living for God? One of the cries of the Reformation was soli Deo gloria, for God’s glory alone. The apostle Paul offers this as a suggestion in Romans–“Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Living for God is simple: place God first in everything that you think, do, and say. Everything that you do should be an act of worship.
The second suggestion, living for the Rapture or the afterlife, is a terrible idea. Vjack nails the problem inherent in it; namely, that there is no incentive for taking care of this planet, since the Christian isn’t going to be around long enough for it to matter. But that overlooks that we are stewards of this planet and have been charged by God in Genesis to take care of the planet (Gen 1:28-30).
Finally, Vjack wonders why Christians don’t rape and murder at will because all of their sins are paid for by Christ. The apostle Paul anticipated this sort of mentality when he wrote to the Romans. After building his case for salvation by grace without works of law, he asks if we should go on sinning so that grace may abound all the more. He answers with a resounding NO! Then asks, “How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Rom 6:2) If we are in Christ, we are dead to sin and alive to God (Rom 6:11). We are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). People who are alive to God demonstrate the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control by the power of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). Therefore:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (Rom 6:12-14)