2.1 billion people on this spinning sphere we call Earth claim to be a Christian. In the United States, polls show that 70% or more people identify with being a Christian. What about you? Do you claim to be with the majority in this nation and call yourself a Christian? Or, do you think this religion stuff is for those who can’t handle life and they need a crutch to see them through life?
I Am a Christian!
So you believe that you are a Christian…super. And if you do believe you are a Christian then you won’t mind following the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5)? Here is a little test based on God’s word to help you examine yourself to see if you are truly a Christian.
Have you come to recognize that mankind is spiritually dead due to sin and deserves eternal damnation in hell?
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23. As a Christian you know that once you were separated from God due to your sin. You were numbered among those who Jesus was talking about in Mark 7:20-23
And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Jesus is saying that man is inherently sinful…it is man’s nature to sin – Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10-18, 23; 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3.
Have you been brought to this realization by the Holy Spirit? Do you know that your condition before you became a Christian was that of total depravity, your physical body, mind, soul, and will corrupted by sin, and that you deserved hell?
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Do you have faith in Christ, have you come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?
As a Christian you know that Christ is the ONLY way to God…the ONLY way to heaven.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6
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 2:4-10
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10
Jesus Christ died on a cross for the payment of the sins of those who would believe. Do you believe? Is your life lived in a way that shows Jesus Christ is Lord?
And this is His commandment that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ… 1 John 3:23
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:8-13
Have you…do you repent of your sins?
No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3
What is repentance…biblical repentance? It is this – biblical repentance is when a person recognizes that they have sinned against God. They agree with God about their sinfulness and sinful nature, and they turn away from those sins. They hate those sins and want to flee from those sins because they realize they have sinned against God. Repentance is not just turning away from sin though – IT IS TURNING TO JESUS CHRIST as one’s only hope of salvation. It is turning to Him by faith…believing and knowing that Christ’s death on the cross paid for all sins of those who would entrust in Him, and knowing that He arose from the dead on the third day accrediting to those who believe with His righteousness. It is loving Him and striving to be holy because He is holy – 1 Peter 1:16
Have you repented of your sins? Do you confess and repent of the sins you still commit? Do you hate sin? What is your reaction to most of the media in our culture today? What are the priorities in your life; money, recreation, leisure, etc.? Do you seek and strive to magnify Christ in all that you do? Do you think it is ok to sin and then just confess it later thinking God will forgive it?
True Christians will hate sin because they have a new nature. True Christians have been born again, made alive, and Christ’s righteousness has been counted as our own (Romans 5:22-25).
Does your life bear the Fruit of the Spirit?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in Me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. John 15:1-8
Again, because the Christian has been born again…he/she has a new nature in Christ and the Christian will bear, not perfectly, the fruit of the Spirit (Luke 6:43). The Christian will also bear the fruit of righteousness (Philippians 1:11).
Do you bear this fruit…do you strive to bear it? Jesus said that not everyone who says to Him, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21). It is only those who have been saved by Jesus Christ and have been born again that will enter the kingdom of heaven. It is those who hear the word of God and does what God’s word says who are truly Christians. It is not because doing good things gets you into heaven but because one who has been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ; he or she will desire and strive to do what God’s word tells them. True Christians love God’s word, love His Law, love His commandments because they recognize how truly awesome they are…how truly wonderful He is.
Do you? Do these things characterize your life? I am not talking about perfection here, but I am talking about a sincere desire to love Christ Jesus. And what does God’s word say about the love true Christians have for Christ Jesus the Lord?
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love Me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent Me. John 14:21, 23-24
Do you love…do you treasure Jesus Christ?
This pretty much sums it up. The forgiveness of sins, escaping God’s wrath of eternal damnation, standing justified before God Almighty means absolutely nothing apart from God’s love for us and OUR LOVE FOR HIM! Do you love Him? Above you saw that those who love Jesus are those who have His commandments and keeps them. What is the Greatest Commandment of all?
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30
Being a Christian first and foremost is loving, adoring, treasuring, delighting in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian’s greatest desire is to be with the Lord Jesus to behold His infinite glory. Christians are saved from their sins and unrighteousness so that they can be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:4 & Romans 8:29). Why? So that the love the Father loves Jesus Christ with would be in His elect/Christians and so that Christ would be in the Christian…to be one with God the Father and one with God the Son. That is what being a Christian is and that should be the Christian’s greatest passion (John 17).
Think About It:
I ask you these few questions because many are fooled into thinking they are truly Christians when they are not…Satan is the great deceiver. You see, it is appointed by God that everyone dies once and then the Judgment – Hebrews 9:27. What about you? If you were to die tonight, do you know what your eternal destiny holds? Who or what is your faith in? If it is not in Jesus Christ then you stand condemned already – John 3:18.
So many today have heard a message preached, walked down an aisle, and said what is commonly referred to as the Sinner’s Prayer. After that prayer has been said the preacher pronounces that said person is saved. The problem with this is that this evangelistic technique, which came into practice in the early 19th century, cannot be found anywhere in Scripture. Now I am NOT saying that if one has gone through this evangelistic technique he or she cannot be saved. I know of several people who were saved in this manner. What I am saying is that many people who claim to be Christians, who said the Sinner’s Prayer, are not truly Christians because there has been no repentance, there is no fruit being bore. They want part of Christ but not all of Him.
These people love the benefits of Christ but care little about the burden of Christ – denying self, taking up your cross daily, and following after Him (Luke 9:23). Those who profess to be Christians but are not are those who want salvation but not sanctification. They want to be saved from hell but don’t want to be saved from sin because they love their sin…or at least some of their sins. Oh, they might wish to have some of their sins put to death, but those sins that they love and desire are those that are hidden from view so that they can be enjoyed and idolized.
The true Christian takes all of Christ without exception, without limitations. The true Christian will see themselves grow in their hatred of sin and would rather have their right eye gouged out or right hand cut off knowing that it is better than to lose a body part than to be thrown into hell – Matthew 5:29-30. The true Christian will desire and strive to be holy and when the true Christian does sin, he/she will confess those sins and repent. A true Christian will love, with all his/her heart, Jesus Christ the Lord.
So Tell Me…Are You a Christian?
©2007 Jeff Parks – Permission granted for not-for-sale use in exact form including copyright.