Thursday, June 26, 2014

What is a Christian?

"Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car." Too many people label themselves as Christians without knowing what it really means and without guiding their lives by the Bible. A Christian is not one who merely attends church. A Christian is not one who merely believes that God exists. (James 2:19  "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.") A Christian is not one who merely reads the Bible, even if he knows what the Bible says "inside out, upside down, and  backwards." You can know all the right things to say, all the right terms to use, all the "rules" to follow, and still not know the God of the Bible. 

A true Christian is one who has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This means that he realizes that he is a sinner. He admits his guilt in violating God's law, disobeying the precepts of God's Word, and neglecting known duties God has set forth in His Word. (Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”) He agrees with God's Word that he deserves death and hell. (Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death.” Revelation 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”)  Knowing this he has repented of his sins. Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of conduct. Jesus preached repentance. (Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Luke 13:3 & 5 “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”) The Apostle Paul preached repentance. (Acts 26:20 “But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.”) 

A true Christian believes that Jesus is who He said He is and He is the only way to Heaven. (John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”) He believes that Jesus died for his sins according to Scripture, and that He was buried and rose again on the third day. Because he believes in Jesus, he can have the gift of eternal life and be free from the condemnation, judgment and wrath that is upon his life. (Romans 10:9-13 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”)

A true Christian has made Jesus the Lord of his life. Lordship is letting God have complete control of your life and the choices you make, guiding your life by the Bible and the example Jesus set for us. (1 John 2:3-6 "And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.")

Second Corinthians 13:5 says, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" If the above paragraphs do not describe you, then you are not a Christian. None of us are perfect but Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:1, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." Paul's example was this: "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14). That calling is to be like Jesus. If you are not striving to be like Jesus, "examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith."