There is tremendous misunderstanding in the world today, exactly what a Christian is. Some people think that if you go to church, pray, read your Bible, pay your tithe, or talk about Jesus, you are a Christian.
Although these are things that Christians do, these things do not necessarily mean that a person is a Christian.
There are many people who have done these things, but walk away from Jesus later. What happened? They were not really a member of Christ to being with.
What determines whether or not a person is truly a Christian is whether or not Christ lives in that person. According to the Bible, if anyone does not have Christ living in them, they are not saved, they are not a Christian.
John wrote that eternal life is only found in Jesus. If anyone doe not have Jesus living in them, they do not have eternal life.
And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. ~1 John 5:11-12 (NLT)
Paul wrote that when any person sincerely receive Christ into their life, He comes to live in them and this is our only hope of heaven (glory).
To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. ~Colossians 1:27 (NKJV)
Jesus said that on the day when He returns, many people will claim that they were Christians, they followed Jesus. He will say to them “I never knew you.” Jesus said that our confession must be met by our earnest desire to live for Jesus. If it is not, He does not. Jesus does not come to live in those who want to live for this world. He comes to live in people who live for Him, not for the things of this world. We are in the world but the world does not live in us.
Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ ~Matthew 7:22-23 (NKJV)
In John chapter 3, Jesus explained to Nicodemus that knowledge of the Bible is not salvation. Going to church, getting a Ph.D. in Theology, or being a missionary in a remote country, is not salvation.
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. ~John 3:3-6 (NLT)
Jesus said that just as a person is born physically in order to live in this world, a person must be born spiritually in order to live in the world of the spirit, where God is known.
Before Christ comes to live in us, we are dead to God, spiritually. We can read the Bible and see enough to exercise faith in Jesus and be saved. We cannot, however, understand the deep things of God, before we are born of the Spirit. God does not reveal Himself to the “natural man.” Those who are born naturally in this world, cannot understand the thing of God (1 Corinthians).
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. ~1 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)
It is upon a sincere and earnest desire to have Christ come and live with us, that He does. At this point He begins to reveal the deep things of God and we can understand them
The atheist, the unbeliever is a dead person. Their spirit is dead to God and it is impossible for these persons to understand God. This is why the atheist cannot comprehend the principles of the Bible—they are foreign to him.
A person must exercise the most basic ability that God has given all people upon their creation: to exercise the little spark of faith in them, and act upon it. God created us with the innate ability to know that God exists. Man sees the universe and the beauty of human life. He compares these with the horrors of human sin, suffering, evil, sickness and death, and he understands that something happened that has broken this world.
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. ~Romans 1:20 (NLT)
The Bible says that sin has ruined God’s perfect creation. We see that this is true, all over the earth, every day. We see that God promised a Savior, and He sent Him into the world. We read the words of Jesus who said, “come to me and I will give you eternal life.” Some people come to Jesus and sincerely trust Him. They go on to continue with Jesus for their whole life. This is the proof that they really were saved. Those who claim to once believe but now do not, were not saved in the first place.
Jesus said that those who are really saved were known to God before He made the universe. Jesus said that none of these people can be lost. If we find that people are lost by falling away from Jesus, the natural inference is that they never were saved in the first place because Jesus said that “not one of them is lost.”
All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me…not one was lost. ~John 17:10-12 (NLT)
Jesus taught the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, which illustrates the true believers in Jesus and those who only pretend to believe. The interesting thing about this Parable is that Jesus tells us that the false believer doesn’t know he is a false believer.
The Wheat And The Tares
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
Within the church, there will be pretend believers. These false followers of Jesus are placed in the church by satan. The certainty of their commitment to Christ cannot correctly be discerned by the other members in the church. Struggles with sin and ongoing failures are not necessarily an indication of a false or insincere commitment to Christ. It is not the place of the church members to uproot these supposedly false believers, but to love them, and allow the Lord, at His return, to determine whether they are genuine or not. Jesus alone will have the right to tear out these tares or weeds and burn them.
John wrote that those who come into the church but later fall away, never were believers in the first place. John said that if they were truly Christians, they would not have left.
These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us. ~1 John 2:19 (NLT)
I have had debates with many atheists who claim to have once been a Christian or Evangelical Christian. They make the assertion that they could no longer believe because they became educated and found that the Bible is not true. When I have questioned them about basic knowledge of the scriptures, salvation, who Jesus is, how we know He is Messiah, they are unable to answer even the most basic questions of genuine Christian faith.
This reveals that they never had an awareness about these things in the first place. They went to a church where the Bible was not taught. They participated in emotional church services where music and sermons caused them to feel certain emotions. In spite of these things, they were never born of the Spirit and Christ did not come to live in them. They never were Christ’s—they never were a true Christian.
Paul wrote that we are truly saved when we believe the truth about Christ, unless of course, unless we never actually believed in the first place:
Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. ~1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (NLT)
Our faith in Jesus Christ is supported by the empirical evidence of the Historical Jesus who died on a Roman Cross, was buried, and rose again. He was seen by over 500 eyewitnesses.
Those who believe these things and continue to live for Jesus their entire life, show that they were truly saved. Those who follow for awhile and later deny Jesus, are just like Judas Iscariot. They never were saved.
A Christian is someone who has Christ living in them. This only happens when these persons determine to live only for Christ. It does not happen to those who want to live for the things of this world.
Make your calling and election certain.
Categories: A poor representation of Jesus, Complicating a Relationship with God, Defending the Gospel, How Salvation Occurs, How to Pray, Jesus Church, Leading People to Jesus, No Compromise, Origin of the Universe, Robert Clifton Robinson, Salvation, Serving Jesus, The Condition of the Heart, The Four Gospels, The Historical Jesus, The Historical Jesus, The world rejects Jesus, Those who stop believing, We must see our need, What is required for Heaven?