There is a difference between asking someone what being a Christian means, and what being a Christian means to them personally. It’s just like the difference between reading about God in the Bible and knowing God. Most people will say that being a Christian means you are saved by grace though faith. They usually reference Romans 10:9. If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your he art that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. This is true, but even demons know Jesus was raised on the third day. America claims to be a Christian nation, but our actions speak louder than words. Our culture is entertained by what God hates. In turn, it seems like shows compete to be the most sinful, with names such as “Scandal” and “Deception” to get our ever changing attention. Secular music artists try to be the most provocative, and so on. But as the Bible says, there is nothing new under the sun. For example, Romans used murder to entertain and pacify the crowds via gladiators (sound familiar Scandal fans?).
If we need a constant viewing of sin to be entertained, we’re going to be awfully bored in Heaven where there is none. Our culture desensitizes us to sin, which in turn can make us think “it’s ok to be worldly, God loves me no matter what” or “God knows my heart”. That is true, but once you become a Christian, you are a new creation. It’s like saying, “I am putting to death the old me that found pleasure in sin though intimacy with my Creator”. It’s not an overnight process, but a lifelong journey. It comes through spending time with God, through prayer and reading/hearing the Word. You are called to be holy, simply because God is holy. A doer not merely a hearer of the Word. Seek God – the narrow path that leads to life – with all your heart, like your earthly life and eternity depend on it, because they do.
In fact, we were all created for His glory, but we replaced that with making ourselves our own gods, separating us from Him. Of course, we are nowhere near worthy of such a title. That is why Jesus was sent to Earth to die for our sins, to reconcile us back to Him. To free us from sin and the laws of the old covenant, in which sin could only being atoned, not covered. Because of that we have a relationship with Him. That, in essence, is the Gospel. Why would you want to continue living in a way that caused Him to die for you in the first place?
You are known by your fruit, your deeds. A bad tree can’t produce good fruit and a good fruit can’t produce bad fruit. Obedience is more important than what you say. The Bible says there are people who prophesy in His name that He never knew, and will not go to Heaven. Jesus said in John 8:51 “I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!” This is in reference to spiritual death. The Word will make you want to get to know God deeply. Far beyond the culture’s complacency of surface knowledge. To love what He loves, and hate what He hates. A true encounter with Christ will change you, and take you from lukewarm to on fire for Him. Notice I did not say you will be perfect, nor things will be perfect. However you will be on a path of growth and everything will work for your good.
So what is the evidence of your salvation? Does your lifestyle match your words?
What is your greatest influence? As the pastor of the Gathering Oasis church Cornelius Lindsey says, “Do you hate the sin you once loved?”.
These are questions we must continuously ask ourselves.
If you have time please listen to this sermon by Paul Washer here.