Theologian Sinclair Ferguson analyses the dialogue between the serpent and the first human beings in the story of the fall in genesis 3. He points out that in God’s original command, “Do not eat the fruit of this tree,” he did not tell them why. He did not forbid them to eat of the tree because it would be bad for them in a particular way. his lack of an explanation was a call to obey out of love and trust for who he was in himself/ So the command sought not merely behavioural compliance, but also a particular attitude and relationship to god. That relationship was what the serpent immediately attacked.
It is common to say fundamentalism leads to violence, yet as we have seen, all of us have fundamental, unprovable, faith commitments that we think are superior to those of others. The real question then, is which fundamentals will lead their beleievers to be the most loving and receptive to those with whom they differ? Which set of unavoidably exclusive beliefs will lead us to humble, peace-loving behaviour?
God’s grace does not come to people who morally outperform others, but to those who admit their failure to perform and who acknowledge their need for a Saviour. Christians, then, should expect to find non believers who are much nicer, kinder, wiser and better than they are. Why? Christian believers are not accepted by God because of their moral performance, wisdom or virtue, but because of Christ’s work on their behalf.