Christian? Yea or Nay?

Am I a Christian? I know seems an awfully heavy subject for a holiday weekend. I woke up with that question on my mind and I can’t shake it. I would like to just think about today’s football games or go outside and work in the glorious weather, but I know I need to deal with this first.

Can we know?  Lots of folks teach that it’s a foolish question because we won’t know until we die. That’s just wrong. It has to be. We can know. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved said, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13. Those of you who insist we can’t know I am going to just feel sorry for you and wonder how you can live life like a cosmic guessing game. Regretfully, you are a big group. A recent “survey” showed that 50 percent of all born-again Christians aren’t sure.

Maybe I’m not. Obviously one group who rightfully doesn’t know if they are a Christian or not, are those who are not. Surely you are not a Christian just because:

You go to church.

You once said a prayer.

You’ve been baptized.

I guess when you say like that it gets pretty scary and you can really start to think, “Maybe, I’m not.”

Look for the evidence. I’m a trial lawyer. I need to see evidence. Jesus said, “By their fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 7:20).  If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? By “evidence,” I don’t mean how many Bibles you own, or how many bumper stickers you might have on your car with Christian sayings on them. I mean hard evidence.

The tricky world of works.  Evidence gets down to what you do. It’s that politically incorrect word, “works.” Works don’t save you. They are the evidence that you’ve been saved. But it’s not just what you do. It’s how you do it. Jesus said “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Unnatural Love. The love Jesus is talking about is “unnatural.” It’s love without payback, hope of payback or a goal of payback. That’s where the new creation stuff comes from. We have to be a different creature to do works of love like this.

Bottom line. Maybe we should ditch the word, “Christian.” It has really lost its meaning. Maybe the question is “Am I a follower, a new creation that seeks to love like Jesus loves?”

The next issues is: if that’s not me, how do I get there? More on that tomorrow. The beautiful weather is calling me.

 

2 Comments
  1. Well thought out Nick!

    The greatest challenge the church faces today is how to properly execute “The Great Commission”, Matthew 28:19-20. “19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    What you describe is the core issue facing the world today, and is the source of many of the social ills facing America.

    We have “Cultural Christians” (a phrase coined by Dr. Patrick Morley of “Man In The Mirror” ministries), people who belong to a church, and by virtue of this association believe that they are Christian. Jesus commanded us to make the ‘followers’ or disciples that you describe. A Disciple is one who literally follows in the footsteps of the master, doing all that they see the master do and then living this discipline out in all parts of their lives.

    The church today has failed to make disciples but seems to be largely unaware of this fact. Our personal challenge, and one that I take very seriously, is to examine ourselves and our relationship to Jesus. To know of Him is never enough.

    Thanks for the reflection my friend!

    Regards,

    Mark Lubbock

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