The True Christian (Part 2)
The third, and by far the most dangerous misconception, is about how one becomes a Christian.
Listen to the 10 most common reasons people believe they are Christian. Keep a track of how many of these reasons you agree with.
I am a Christian because:
a) I was raised in a Christian home
b) I go to church
c) I pray
e) I read the bible
f) I have been baptized as a child
g) I give to the poor
h) I believing in the existence of God
How many of these did you agree with?
Over 25 years ago, a new Christian asked me if I was a Christian. “Of course I’m a Christian!” I replied. “I have always been a Christian! I come from a Christian family; my ancestors were Christians. My primary, secondary and even tertiary education has been In Christian Institutions. I have theological training. I could go on. How could you be so ignorant as to question that I am a Christian!” The person replied: “I am not as smart as you are; or as fortunate as you to have had what you call a Christian influence throughout your life All I know is that the Bible says that we need to be ‘born again’ if we are to enter the kingdom of heaven. Perhaps what I should have asked you was “have you been born again?”
This brief encounter with a true Christian was the beginning of the working of God’s saving faith in my life
If you agreed at least with one of the reasons why people maintain they are Christians, sincerely believing that it was sufficient to make you a legitimate Christian, then, my dear friend you are deceived and lost! As I was, you too are on the Jesus bandwagon, which, with great commotion and fanfare and religious fervour is heading down the broad way that leads to destruction. You must get off, as I did.
You see, good and helpful as all of those reasons or qualifications are, they cannot and do not establish you a Christian. Becoming a Christian necessitates new birth; there is no other way (John 3:3)
Becoming a Christian involves a willful and wholehearted decision to take the steps the Bible sets out for salvation through spiritual re-birth. If you are not sure that you are really a Christian, this is what you must do to become one:
Firstly, Repent - this means acknowledging your sinfulness has separated you from God and asking his forgiveness Rom.3.23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. The glory referred to here means what God intended man to be - the glory man had before the fall into sin.
Acknowledging that death was your portion but that God has offered restoration to life. (Rom.6: 23)The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
Secondly, Believe - this means you believe that Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross is sufficient for your restoration to God. You can add nothing more; it is both complete and final.
His death brought you to God. An exchange took place because of his death in your place. 1Pe.3: 18 says, "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God”.
Thirdly, Confess - this means you confess Jesus Christ as LORD. Rom.10: 9, 10 says, "If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believed and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved". To be justified means that your sin is no longer counted against you. Take note it is no insipid confession - it involves your mouth (openly declaring your belief) and it involves your heart (that is your desire, not merely mental assent).
Now, if you have taken those three simple steps in faith, you are a true believer. If you have never taken those steps, whatever else you may believe is in vain.
The Bible tells us that when we are ‘born again’ we are reconciled to God. That means we are saved from eternal damnation and assured eternal life. We are included as members of Christ’s church. Now, we are rightly called believers, or, if you like ‘Christians’. The Spirit of God fills us at this point and begins helping us in our battle against sin. He works to make us more like Christ. This is an ongoing process, requiring our free cooperation until we die. Salvation is a continuum; we are saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved. We ‘are saved’ the moment we entered into the new birth. (that is, we are given the right to be called children of God and enter the kingdom of heaven) We are being saved because the Holy Spirit continues to work out salvation in us, (that is, preserving and perfecting us in this life). Finally, we will be saved (that is we will experience the finality of our salvation and be physically present with Christ at the end of the world, when all things are brought to completion).
The new birth is a serious matter and not to be reduced to a simplistic formula like “just invite Jesus into your heart and say the sinner’s prayer”.
Jesus never taught ‘easy believism’. He made it clear that his call to follow was extremely costly. His call was always to radical discipleship – nothing less. He called people to abandon their own agenda and trust him without reservation, whatever the cost! The gospels make this very clear.
Therefore, becoming a Christian (that is being born again) is but the start of a new life. Too many Christians confuse the beginning of the faith journey with its entirety. According to Jesus, believing in him for eternal life is much more the just a one – off event. Anyone can, and many people sometimes do, say a prayer asking Jesus to save him or her. However, not many embark on a life fully devoted to the love of God, and the love of neighbor, to obeying God’s moral code, to the love of holiness and to radical, costly discipleship
Being born again is only the beginning of a lifestyle. In other words, the Christian adopts a lifestyle of repentance, a lifestyle of believing, and a lifestyle of confession until death!
Are you a Christian?
©Preach The Word -with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues - www.kerysso.org