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Registered: 04-2006
Location: USA, Western hemisphere, earth
Posts: 61
What it Means to be a Christian

What It Means to Be a Christian

I share here a long comment I made on someone's post on this subject. I tried to go to the heart of the matter. For some context: another comment shared some interesting points John Wesley made about the difference between being a servant of God and being a son of God -- under the larger subject of faith.

There are some very good comments here. I really appreciate John Wesley's thoroughness on the subject. However, even a little child need not err in repenting of sins and simply trusting Christ alone for salvation. My mind works a lot like Wesley's in the fact that I like to reason everything out and come to bedrock solid conclusions; but, I have found that this can often get in the way -- if I let it -- of simply trusting and obeying God's Word.

I see three very important aspects of true Christianity as the answer to this question:
1. How one becomes a Christian.
2. How one knows he is a Christian.
3. How others know one is a Christian.
If the first two are true of a person, the third will follow, but don't let what others say or think about us become more important than the first two.

I think that Jesus, being Christ Himself, is the ultimate authority (right along side the Father and the Holy Spirit) on who is and who is not a Christian. The two instances I give below relate to points 1 and 3 above.

Mar 1:14 -- "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
Mar 1:15 -- "And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." The first and most important part of being a Christian is to repent of our sins and to believe the gospel (gospel = the good news of what Jesus Christ is and what He has done for us).

Joh 13:35 -- "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." This is how those around us know that we are Christians.

Jesus also spoke of the importance of the presence and testimony of the Holy Spirit to His disciples (see the gospel of John chapters 14 through 17). It is the Holy Spirit Who lets one know within the depths of his heart that he is a child of God, and that he belongs to Christ.

Here are a couple more quotes (not words of Christ, but given by the Holy Spirit to the apostles). These relate especially to point 2 above.

1Jn 5:9 -- "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son."
1Jn 5:10 -- "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son."
1Jn 5:11 -- "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son."
1Jn 5:12 -- "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."

Much of Romans chapter 8 is helpful here, but note especially this part:
Rom 8:14 -- "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
Rom 8:15 -- "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."
Rom 8:16 -- "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:"
Rom 8:17 -- "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."

Finally, I would add, whether one has come to -- or returned to -- assurance of salvation early or late in life need not be a stumbling block. Every servant is approved of his master on an individual basis. Remember the parable Jesus told of those who labored all day versus those who labored only the last hour.

It is God who will accept each one on the merits of Christ's atoning work and His perpetual intercession at the Father's right hand. It is our part to repent and believe and then let His love flow through us.

Old Warrior

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