Are You A Christian PART 2?
I read recently that 50 percent of all born-again Christians don’t have the assurance of salvation. Maybe some just need to memorize some pertinent passages on the assurance of salvation, like 1 John 5:13, and realize that God's Word does indeed promise that salvation is the present possession of every true follower of Christ. On the other hand, perhaps a lot of so-called Christians do not have the assurance of salvation because they are not really saved. Just because you attend church or engage in certain religious activities does not necessarily mean you are a Christian. The Apostle Paul instructed those in the early church to examine themselves to see if their faith was genuine 2 Cor. 13:5. So, how do I know if am a Christian? How do you know if I'm one? There must be evidence. Jesus said, "By their fruits you shall know them" (Matthew 7:20). If someone examine your life, would he find any spiritual fruit—hard evidence to prove that you are a true follower of Jesus Christ? Many people say they are Christians, but does this profession measure up against what the Bible says a Christian
If you say you are a Christian, what is the basis for saying this? Your answer might be something like one of the following statements: “I live in a Christian country”; “I have always been a Christian”; “my parents were Christians”; “I have always been to church”; “I don't do anything to hurt other people”; “I am a moral and upright citizen”; “I do a lot of work for Charities”. These, however, are not the answers that the Bible gives to this question.
The Bible deals with our status in God's eyes, the one who made us and keeps us being. It deals with the matters of our heart, our inmost self. Where we were born and the things we have done, even the best things, are not what make us accepted in God's estimation – and that is what really counts in the end! Isaiah 53: 6
We are told by Jesus Christ Himself that there is only one way to God, only one way to be accepted by Him. Jesus tells us that He is the way, He alone. 1 Cor. 2: 14. How is it that Jesus Christ is the only way to God? The Scripture teaches us that all human beings are born with a terrible problem, one they can't resolve themselves. This problem is their own internal enmity against God's rightful and absolute rule over their lives. It's not just an internal problem. It makes us think and do what we want, not what God wants. The Bible uses the word “sin” for this. It means to “miss the mark”. This is what we inherited from the first man, Adam, who started the rebellion. This is my problem; this is your problem too. Romans 5: 12
Not only do we have this terrible problem internally towards God, but also we have another one as a consequence. This is God's just condemnation of our sin and rightful anger against us. We have all “missed the mark” and the result is that God has pronounced the “guilty” verdict against us for our sin; yours and mine. The sentence against this guilt is death, both physically and spiritually, ultimately resulting in an eternal separation from God's goodness and an eternal and awful punishment that the Bible calls Hell. A fearful yet just punishment for our willful rebellion. Romans 3: 12 – 18. So how is it that Jesus Christ is the only way to God in the face of this terrible situation? Jesus Christ is God's answer to our problem. Jesus Christ is the Son of God who entered this world of ours as a man, a real human being, even being born a baby. He was fully God and fully human, something very hard to understand, yet crucial to dealing with our problem of sin. Because he was God's Son, He didn't start off with an enmity against God, He loved God from the very start and with all His being, He wanted God's rule over Him. He lived out his life as a true human being without ever sinning against God His Father; not once. So He didn't deserve to die, he didn't deserve punishment; but that is exactly what he endured. But why? Romans 8: 6 & 7. As we said before, Jesus Christ is God's answer to our problem. Through the incredible and completely undeserved love of God He accepts the death Jesus Christ died, undeserved as it was, as the punishment for the sin of all those who trust in Him as their representative, their substitute, their advocate, their Saviour. More than that, God accepts the righteous life of Jesus Christ as His people. The Bible puts it this way, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God". John 3: 18 & 36.
God calls us, God commands us to turn away from our rebellion, our sins, and our desire to go our own way and turn to Him trusting what He has done through Jesus Christ to deal with our biggest problem. Matthew 10: 28. So, a Christian isn't someone who has done something to deserve God's favour, but someone who sees never deserve it and gratefully accepts and trusts in what God has done in His Son. That's faith. So, we can ask the question again, are you a Christian? Is your answer that same as before, does it have the right basis; the basis the Bible gives us? In Acts 26, the Bible outlines three steps you must take to be sure you are a Christian. This is important to understand, because you may be living under false hope, and ultimately, have a false assurance of salvation. When Paul spoke to King Agrippa and described how God had called him to preach the gospel message, he essentially broke that message down and in so many words, defined it. Paul said that God told him to preach the gospel, which was comprised of a person hearing it, realizing it was given “‘to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will
receive forgiveness of sins and be given a place among God's people, who are set apart by faith in Christ (Acts26:18).
So first, you must have your eyes opened. A spiritual blindness afflicts those who have not yet turned their lives over to Jesus Christ, because "Satan . . . has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. 2 Cor. 4:4.
Second, you must turn from darkness to light. Satan loves darkness. Hell is referred to as outer darkness. If you want to really believe, then you need to come out of the darkness and into the light (Acts 26:18). Third, you must turn from the power of Satan to God. A lot of people today want to live in two worlds. If you want to be a Christian on Sunday, but want to live the other way the rest of the week, it won't work 2 Cor. 6:14. You must turn from Satan to God. Have your spiritual eyes been opened? Have you turned from darkness to light? Have you turned from the power of Satan to God? If you've taken these steps, then God has forgiven your sins and has a place for you among God's people in heaven. This is the hope of those who truly belong to Christ. Thank you and remain blessed in Jesus name.