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Thread: Are you a Christian? What if you're not?

  1. #1

    Are you a Christian? What if you're not?

    More than half of all Americans claim they are "Christian". However --- ask them what it means, and they will say, "I believe in Jesus!"

    It that what it takes to be a Christian? James says, "You believe in one God, you do well; but even demons believe and shudder".

    So --- you there, reading this --- is it possible to THINK oneself a "Christian", but be wrong? Consider:


    "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
    "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
    "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'


    Here are some who cast out demons, prophesied, and did mighty works. But JESUS DIDN'T KNOW THEM! How is that possible? Prophesy?
    "Why, I sang in the choir! I counseled people! I was a DEACON!!! Jesus, how could you not know me???"


    Exactly how could that be? Read further:


    "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
    'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.
    'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
    'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
    I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
    'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.
    'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
    'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
    'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.' " Revelation3:14-22.


    How can one be poor, or blind, or wretched, or miserable, or naked and NOT KNOW it? But there it is, fully possible. These are those who thought themselves saved. They have their "golden ticket", and do not need to worry.

    ...but should they have? Yes!

    What separates you, or me, from them? How do we know which we are?

    What is salvation? That is the question. To believe in Jesus --- yes, that is the beginning; but there's so much more. Is it works that we do? Yes --- if you hold to one of the world's religions, but not in Christianity! Then what is the difference between "saved-belief", and "unsaved belief"?

    James labors to say in chapter 2, saved belief is the kind of belief which produces good works. We still have not come to an understanding of what it is yet, have we?


    In John3, Jesus said "you must be born again". So it salvation "born-again AND belief"? Yes, and no. It all depends on what "born-again", means.


    Perhaps Paul can help us. The idea of "Born-Again", is explained beautifully in Romans6; before we can be born spiritually, we have to DIE. Paul uses five words interchangeably, "crucified/buried/immersed/died/UNITED" --- both in Jesus' death (our old selves must truly die to sin), and united in Jesus' resurrection (we are now new creations). Born-again, is in-Christ, and Christ in you. What does that mean?

    "I have been CRUCIFIED with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the One who loved me and delivered Himself up for me." Gal2:20

    "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away (is passing away!), behold all has become new (new things have come!)."


    The problem with Romans chapter 6, is that chapter 7 follows; the old self may be DEAD, but it is not GONE --- and we find ourselves with a war inside, the old sinful self battling with the new spiritual self! It is in despair that Paul cries, "Oh wretched man that I am, who will FREE me from this war within my members?"

    ...and the solution to that war, is in chapter 8. What weak flesh could not do, God did, sending His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to condemn sin in the flesh.

    Focus on verses 12-14 --- if we walk after the lusts of the flesh, WE MUST DIE; but if by the Spirit we put to death the flesh, we will live. So then it's our decision to walk, but it's the Spirit's POWER.

    I like what James says in chapter 4:

    "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
    Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
    Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.


    This then is the secret to Christianity; we do not fight to become "good enough for God", but we surrender to Him that HE becomes our goodness in and through us. It is the kind of faith that receives the Spirit and receives Jesus, indwelling our hearts and souls --- so that our deeds are HIM working THROUGH us.

    Part-n-parcel of that, is COMMUNION --- do you commune with Him? Do you have conversations with your Best Friend? Can you hear His conversation back? Does your soul long for His presence?

    Do you talk to Him? Is He the first thing on your mind when you arise, and the last thing before you sleep? Or is He just the "last thing on your mind"?

    What are your priorities? Does He indwell you, does your soul know righteousness? Is every moment you breathe, a prayer to Him?

    Is He real to you? Or are you one of those who will gleefully run up to meet Jesus when He returns, only to be crestfallen when He frowns and says, "I don't know you"?

    Scary thought, isn't it? But it doesn't have to be scary; there is no fear in love, perfect love casts out fear, and he who fears is not perfected in love. 1Jn4!

    He's already demonstrated His infinite love for you; as He hung there, dying on the Cross, YOUR NAME WAS ON HIS LIPS! He's already paid the price, done the work; all He asks is that you accept His love --- and accept it completely, that it becomes a heart-changing soul-washing eternity-triumph! Let HIM be your song and your joy. Let HIM be your salvation and your love.

    The greatest commandment is "you shall LOVE GOD with all that you are." (Matt22:37)

    Do you?

  2. #2

    Re: Are you a Christian? What if you're not?

    The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation. Psalm118:14.
    These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. Jn15:11.
    These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation,
    ...but take courage; I have overcome the world. Jn16:33

  3. #3
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    Re: Are you a Christian? What if you're not?

    A better question would be...are you being a Christian? There's just too much fire assurance gospel going around.

  4. #4

    Re: Are you a Christian? What if you're not?

    Quote Originally Posted by episkopos View Post
    A better question would be...are you being a Christian? There's just too much fire assurance gospel going around.
    Hi, "Episkopos". Not sure what you mean --- are we being? Do you agree that being a Christian is far more than just "what we do"?

    And I'm wondering if you meant "fire insurance". Getting out of Hell is a good motivation, nothing wrong with that; but Jesus brought so much more.


    BTW, I like your Avatar. That fellow looks quite well dressed.
    I daresay he has a prophetable vocation!

  5. #5
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    Re: Are you a Christian? What if you're not?

    As I've said various times before, a person can have no remorse for their sin, have no intension of repenting of their sin, and no intention of living any different than they already are and not want to go to Hell.

  6. #6

    Re: Are you a Christian? What if you're not?

    Quote Originally Posted by gringo300 View Post
    As I've said various times before, a person can have no remorse for their sin, have no intention of repenting of their sin, and no intention of living any different than they already are and not want to go to Hell.
    Hi, "Gringo"! How does someone who believes enough in Hell to "not want to go there", still obliviously pursue sin? Even if I wasn't a Christian, if I believed in Hell that would scare the stuffing out of me.

    It would seem to me that a belief in Hell is indissolubly tied to belief in God. Can't imagine one existing without the other; and if one believes in the true God, then by definition he or she would also believe in Jesus, and therefore not want to sin.

    Looking forward to your thoughts on "believing in Hell but not worried about sin".

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    Re: Are you a Christian? What if you're not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadgeteer View Post
    Hi, "Gringo"! How does someone who believes enough in Hell to "not want to go there", still obliviously pursue sin? Even if I wasn't a Christian, if I believed in Hell that would scare the stuffing out of me.

    It would seem to me that a belief in Hell is indissolubly tied to belief in God. Can't imagine one existing without the other; and if one believes in the true God, then by definition he or she would also believe in Jesus, and therefore not want to sin.

    Looking forward to your thoughts on "believing in Hell but not worried about sin".
    (sigh)

    This one opens up some cans of worms... as I'm figuring out more and more lots of things do...

    This may take several posts.

    If a person believed they couldn't get away with sin, that would be one thing, BUT, if a person believed they could sin all they wanted, and still not end up in Hell, that's another thing.

    Questions are raised such as "Did the person in question ever really get saved in the first place?".

    Ok, another issue: Is a person trying to avoid sinning because they are genuinely against sin or are they trying to avoid sinning to avoid the consequences?

    That opens up the can of worms of: Is anyone descended from Adam and Eve genuinely 100% against sin?

  8. #8

    Re: Are you a Christian? What if you're not?

    Quote Originally Posted by gringo300 View Post
    (sigh)

    This one opens up some cans of worms... as I'm figuring out more and more lots of things do...

    This may take several posts.
    Heh heh heh --- fine by me! :-)
    If a person believed they couldn't get away with sin, that would be one thing, BUT, if a person believed they could sin all they wanted, and still not end up in Hell, that's another thing.
    I'm just thinking that he who is pleasuring in sin, is not thinking about "sin", but rather the pleasure they're having. If I was to consider Hell as real, then I'd be compelled to think about what I'm doing that could SEND me there...
    [quoteQuestions are raised such as "Did the person in question ever really get saved in the first place?".[/quote]Ahhh, now we get into the subject of "Once Saved Always Saved", which is in fact three separate views.
    1. Antinomianism/Gnosticism, saved soul but sinning flesh; "backslidden-but-saved".
    2. Eternal Security, everyone can be saved but once "in" either the heart is too changed to fall, or God prevents apostasy
    3. Calvinism/Reformed-Theology/Predestined-Salvation, all is God's decision we are "flotsam and jetsam" before God's sovereign choice

    All three views are wrong --- a truly saved person can become unsaved. There are dozens of verses speaking of true apostasy from salvation, at the hands of deceivers, as the consequence of deception-by-sin, and even deception by bad-angels.

    The "catch-22" for all, is "maybe they were not REALLY saved in the FIRST place" --- which begs the question, "What is saved"?

    Note that in Calvinism, "saving-faith" does not move in direction from men-towards-God, but from God-towards men. "Faith to receive Jesus' Gospel" is considered a gift from God, or a direct consequence from God's monergistic action. It is not "our faith".
    Ok, another issue: Is a person trying to avoid sinning because they are genuinely against sin or are they trying to avoid sinning to avoid the consequences?
    Ironically, none of us is strong enough to avoid sin; "staying out of Hell" is a great motivation for seeking Christ, but one cannot be successful against sin without the Spirit's power inside.

    All religions recognize some kind of "right and wrong"; but all religions use Human power to avoid sin, trying to "make oneself good enough for God". All religions perceive men at the Judgment while their good deeds are weighed against their evil deeds, to see if the scales tip towards "eternal life" or "wrath". Christianity is the only faith where we are NOT saved by good deeds nor are we condemned for bad deeds; but our deeds expose a heart that WAS indwelt by Christ (therefore we did good deeds), or was indwelt by evil (thus we have evil deeds). As Jesus said in Matt 7, "you shall know them by their fruits (deeds); no good tree can produce bad fruit, no bad tree can produce good fruit."
    That opens up the can of worms of: Is anyone descended from Adam and Eve genuinely 100% against sin?
    That is the question. Everyone recognizes it is wrong to commit murder, to steal, to hurt women and children, etcetera. But one's whole focus flows from his heart --- if godless, then all that exists is "self". Hell has no reality, only personal gratification.

    Only when one suffers conviction that there IS a God*, and inseparably that Hell is real, only then can one receive Christ and the Spirit and gain the power to overcome self.

    * "Without faith it is impossible to please God; for he who comes to God must believe God is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Heb11:6.

    The great liberating principle of Christianity is that we do not have to be "good enough for God", only to let HIM be good in and through us. One does not wash himself before taking a bath, it is the washing of the Holy Spirit and by Jesus' blood that we become clean. All religion has a terribly fearsome "being good", while Christianity asserts "unconditional love and goodness as the consequence of intimate fellowship with Christ and with the indwelling Spirit".


    Religion: "You are what you do" (and Jesus isn't God).
    Christianity: "You do what you are" (and Jesus is God).

  9. #9
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    Re: Are you a Christian? What if you're not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadgeteer View Post
    Hi, "Episkopos". Not sure what you mean --- are we being? Do you agree that being a Christian is far more than just "what we do"?

    And I'm wondering if you meant "fire insurance". Getting out of Hell is a good motivation, nothing wrong with that; but Jesus brought so much more.


    BTW, I like your Avatar. That fellow looks quite well dressed.
    I daresay he has a prophetable vocation!
    Greetings Gadgeteer. The picture is supposed to be Abraham. A snappy dresser to be sure!

    What often gets ignored in these discussions is the need for humility. Remember that the publican who beat his chest before God went home justified. What does that mean? Did he now claim to be justified? If he did then he would lose that justification.

    The thing I see lacking the most in the church today is wisdom. Why speak about you know little of. Teachers will be judged HARDER than others. Why put yourself in such a difficult position in order to appear knowledgeable? (for instance)


    People claim that their belief saves them from hell. One must be careful with this. The Pharisee in the same parable (as the publican) thought he was justified and saw the other man as being "unsaved". We must be careful how we judge. Better to understate our condition than to overstate it. If you get my meaning!

    Blessings to you! <><

  10. #10

    Re: Are you a Christian? What if you're not?

    Quote Originally Posted by episkopos View Post
    Greetings Gadgeteer.
    The picture is supposed to be Abraham. A snappy dresser to be sure!
    Yes, indeed. Good picture!
    What often gets ignored in these discussions is the need for humility. Remember that the publican who beat his chest before God went home justified. What does that mean? Did he now claim to be justified? If he did then he would lose that justification.
    Good point. "Humble yourself" is clear in Scripture --- 1Pet5:6, James4:10, and Jesus' words in Matt18:3-4. It seems to me that unthankfulness is the root of not being humble. If one is truly thankful for what he has, then how can he be anything but humble, and where is the desire for sin? James says, "You have not because you don't ask; you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly to spend it on your passions." In Jms4 he teaches about drawing closer to God that God draws close to us.

    This is the secret to Psalm37:4: "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart". If we delight in the Lord, then His desires will be our desires!
    The thing I see lacking the most in the church today is wisdom. Why speak about you know little of. Teachers will be judged HARDER than others. Why put yourself in such a difficult position in order to appear knowledgeable? (for instance)
    Good point, and yes teachers will be judged more harshly. And yet, the rewards are greater too! If I have wisdom that I have learned from Scripture, and I am able to teach someone else that he becomes stronger in Christ, then I have won --- not anything for myself, but a brother. The joy in realizing that some of those standing before Christ when He returns are there because of me, is not because what I have accomplished, but because of the privilege He allowed for me to be used by Him in reaching others.

    I am a servant. I am a tool in the Master's hand. May I be willing to be used as He wills, rather than I will. And I think that is part of what you mean by "humility".
    People claim that their belief saves them from hell. One must be careful with this. The Pharisee in the same parable (as the publican) thought he was justified and saw the other man as being "unsaved". We must be careful how we judge. Better to understate our condition than to overstate it. If you get my meaning!
    I do get your meaning. And yet, we are commanded to judge. Without "judging" we cannot distinguish between good and evil. Only one person in the Universe has the right to judge, but we are commanded "do not judge on appearance alone, but judge with righteous judgment" (Jn7:24). Righteous men judge all things and are judged by no one (1Cor2:15).

    The purpose of "judging" for a Christian, is never to condemn or injure, but to righteously admonish towards repentance and towards God. Judging is condemned when it is hypocritical ("how can you judge others when you're DOING the same thing you condemn?!" Matt7:1-5[/color]). In those verses on "judging", we are but vessels through which God's righteous judgment and leading-towards-repentance works.

    In all things that we do, our words must be firm and leading towards righteousness; but they must be wrought in LOVE.

    Do you remember what Jesus said to the Prostitute? He said,
    "Get out of My sight, you worthless disgusting..."

    He didn't say that, did He? NO! He loved her completely and unconditionally, and she KNEW it. And He required change of her. "I do not condemn you either; go your way and do this no more."
    Blessings to you! <><
    And you!

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