Our Master's wisdom
Are You Really a Christian?
“What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
- Mark 8:36
A significant majority of people in America fit into the category of “religious lost”. In other words, people who claim some sort of Christian religion and expect to be ushered into heaven, but will instead hear God say “I never knew you, depart from me” at their judgment. I have a lot of fear and sympathy for people in this crowd. I feel sympathy because I myself was once a “religious lost” until someone challenged me to compare my ‘Christian’ life with the Bible’s description of salvation, and fear because I know how deceptive these false religious systems can be, especially the ones that have good doctrine!
How about you? Do know where you’ll spend eternity? Let me direct you to some passages that will provide clarity one way or another. As you read, follow the Biblical admonition to examine yourself to make sure you’re really a Christian (2 Corinth. 13:5).
- 1 John 2:4 – He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. Christians follow Christ by doing what He says. This means helping and loving your brothers, staying pure from sin, and sharing the gospel with the lost, among other things. Do you read the Bible to find out what Christ wants you to do? If not, you’re likely still lost.
- 1 John 2:15 – Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Do you spend your life serving Christ, or accumulating stuff, or satisfying your various desires? What are your goals in life? Good career, family, money. All of these things are fine, but if they are your top priority, it’s strong evidence that you’re not a Christian.
- 1 John 3:6 – Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. A Christian may fall into sin from time to time and can count on God to forgive and cleanse them (1 John 1:8-9). Yet, if someone lives a lifestyle marked by sin, they do not really know God. A common example of this is a unmarried couple living together and/or fornicating. Lost people are characterized by their sin, but those that are really Christian have been changed (1 Corinth. 6:9-11). By the way, this change is permanent. If you change for a little while, but then go back into your old life, it shows that you merely cleaned up your act a bit, but never really submitted to God. (2 Peter 2:20-22)
- 1 John 3:14 – We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. You know those weird old-fashioned people that take things seriously, that don’t tolerate sin, that really enjoy talking about God a lot, and that aren’t all that interested in sports, games, and movies? How about those weird people that hand out gospel tracts to strangers and tell them to stop sinning and turn to Jesus? Do people like that annoy you? If so, you certainly have not passed from death to life.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. This sums it all up. If you’re a Christian, there will be a definite before and after. In your old life you loved sin and did whatever gave you pleasure. If you are a Christian, then you will see how God has changed you into a new person who hates and forsakes sin. You will also have a new desire to read and understand the Bible, to serve God, and to share the gospel with people around you, even if they turn against you. This is what Jesus referred to as being ‘born again’ (John 3:3).
So, do you see these things in your life? A little bit here and there doesn’t count. Salvation is all or nothing. If there’s a lack of spiritual fruit in your life, the worst thing you could possibly do is ignore it. If you come to this point and are unsure of your spiritual condition, there’s a simple remedy: repent and believe the gospel. Jesus Christ took our sin upon himself and died in our place, offering forgiveness for those that would come to him. Drop what you’re doing, forsake your sin and your old life, and let God shape you in his image. It’s not all that complicated, but if you love your sin more than you love God, you will convince yourself of all sorts of lies so that you can keep living how you please.
If you pass this test and have great confidence in your relationship with the Lord, that's great! Make your life count in service to Him. Actively share the gospel with those around you. Find some Christians around you to love, admonish, encourage, and teach. Don’t get caught up in the hypocrisy that you see around you in the various churches. Keep your mind on Christ and you will not fail.
Home Homework Our Master's Wisdom