True Christian or Fake Christian?
Romans 9:6: “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.”
In his book, “From Death to Life: How Salvation Works,” Allen Nelson IV writes, “There is a pandemic in America of false conversion to the Christian faith. Many people claim to be Christians who don’t exactly fit the Biblical definition of what a Christian is. They have a reputation for being alive but are in fact dead. This spiritual zombie apocalypse isn’t coming. It’s already gone viral and if the tide is not stemmed the church in America will fall mightily. The alarm bells have been ringing for quite awhile and we have no time left to hit snooze. It’s time to wake up. The urgency for Biblical fidelity has never been greater. Our opportunity is now.”
As Nelson so rightly points out “there is a pandemic in America” and I’m not talking about COVID-19. The churches of America and the churches of Craig, Colorado, are filled with people who believe that they really believe. To the human eye, it is often very difficult to distinguish between those who are truly children of God and those who merely act like they are children of God.
In our culture today the name “Christian” is largely meaningless. For example, in much of the United States (Craig being no different) there are very few people who actually attend church on Sundays. Think about where you live, the street you live on. How many of your neighbors really attend church on a regular basis on Sunday morning? But, if you were to ask your neighbors, they would probably tell you that they are Christian. But the reality is that very few who call themselves Christians are genuine Christians. And that includes many who sit in pews every Sunday.
So, what is a true Christian? The name “Christian” is translated to mean “a Christ one,” and it was first used to describe the followers of Jesus in Antioch, a city in what is today Syria.
There are several things that mark a true, genuine Christian:
1. A Genuine Christian believes in Christ. This means you believe that Jesus is the Son of God who became a man for one reason and one reason only, our salvation. He is the one whom the Christian has believed. This is not just a mere intellectual assent to the existence of Christ.
Faith, or belief in Christ, has three elements: First, is the intellectual content of belief, who Jesus is and what He has done for our salvation. Second, is the warming of the heart; being moved by Jesus and His sacrifice on our behalf. Third, is personal commitment. This means giving of yourself to Jesus, becoming His, taking up His cross, following Him, and being His disciple. Matthew 16:24 says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”
2. The genuine Christian follows Christ. This is a vital part of what it means to be a Christian, and it is a vital part that it is missing in the church today. To be a Christian means to believe on Jesus, but it also means to be following Jesus and thus becoming increasingly like him. James Montgomery Boice said, “A true Christian is someone who is becoming like Jesus Christ.” Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
3. A genuine Christian witnesses about Christ. A person who is really a Christian cannot stop talking about Jesus. He (Christ) is constantly in their thoughts and constantly on their tongue. Every part of their life is deeply influenced by Him and His Word. Acts 1:8 says, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even the remotest part of the earth.”
4. A genuine Christian continues to learn more and more about Christ. Those who are really saved, those who are genuinely redeemed, those who are genuine Christians have a burning desire to learn and know more about Christ. Acts 2:42 says, “They (Christians) were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
You see, when someone is converted to Christ, they then learn more and more about Christ through the diligent study of His Word (the Bible) and by sitting under sound teaching and preaching. When this happens, they naturally become more and more like Christ. They become completely identified with Him.
So, in light of this ask yourself: “Am I a true Christian? Do I believe on Christ? Do I really follow Him? Do I testify about Christ? Do I desire to learn more and more about Him?” If you are unsure about your position in Christ, I want to invite you to attend church at Sovereign Grace Community Church of the Yampa Valley and learn what it really means to be a Christian, based upon what the Bible says, not our culture. At SGCCYV we very simply preach and teach the Word of God and do not shy away from passages that are unpopular or difficult. Don’t be part of the pandemic of unbelief, make sure that you are indeed truly saved.
Tim Adams, Pastor/Elder Sovereign Grace Community Church of the Yampa Valley
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