Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I don't want to be a good Christian!

Prayer: Lord God Abba, Please help me to write clearly, get Your point across, and to honor Your word as I write. Thank You for giving me the privilege to be able to convey Your word to people, study Your word in my own heart, and grow in You love. Thank You for the blessings that you have bestowed upon my family near and far, including both my blood and legal family as well as my friends and selected family. Lord Your love run through me and help it to flow from me as well. In Your glorious name. Amen

I don't want to be a good Christian!

These words may shock people. These words may offend people. These word may confuse people. Why, you may ask do I not want to be a Christian? Let's first start with the question,

What is a Christian?

The word Christian is specifically used in the Bible only 3 times.
Acts 11:26 - And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. 
Acts 26:28 - And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” 
1 Peter 4:16 - Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
 Though, not once does Jesus ask us to go forth and be Christians. Linguistically, a Christian is a "follower of Christ". The suffix -ian in both Latin and Hebrew is "of or belonging to"; therefore, a Christian is one who is belonging to Christ. That sounds like a good thing, right?

Modern day, however, has twisted the word to simply mean a religion that believes in Christ. These religions do not even have to have Christ at the center to be considered "Christian". I am not here to offend followers of any certain religion. I am not condemning them, but I do believe that it is important to understand the differences. I do believe that there is only one way to salvation and that is through Christ at the center.
Ephesians 2:8 - For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God
Specifically, I first think of the Catholic faith. This only comes to mind first because I was raised in the faith for 18 years. Along with having Christ at the center, the faith (in general, though not all Catholics) also has Mary at the center along with the pope as leader and the religion itself.  When I was in the faith I never knew or had a relationship with Jesus. I always called myself a "Christian", but how was I? I didn't belong to Jesus, I didn't give anything to Jesus, I didn't even really know Jesus. I never felt as though my faith encouraged it. So was I a Christian?
I next think of is the Jehovah's Witness sect of believers who call themselves Christians though their reputation among others is suspect. This group believes that Jesus was the archangel Michael and not God. As we learned in a previous post this is untrue as Jesus is clearly divine and God. 
There are so many others that range is dramatic from as far fetched as Jehovah's Witness, which is clearly incorrect, to Catholic, which simply places too much emphasis on other entities at the center. All of these are Christian. So I ask again, what is a Christian?

In the world, when one says "I am a Christian" people just assume that is a placating term that means they go to church, maybe do good deeds, and recognize God and Jesus have some role in their lives and in the world.

So, someone wants to be a good Christian. What does that even mean? That they do good works? That doesn't ensure salvation.
Titus 3:5 - He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit
Does it mean reading your Bible daily, praying, going to church, tithing, supporting a missionary, evangelizing? None of these things ensure salvation. There is only one way to ensure eternal life with Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:9 - that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
So, yes, being a true good Christian, which is being faithful unto God, praising his Name, trusting Him with your Life, believing that His Son came to earth and lived for us, died for us, and is living again as repentance for our sins. Am I that? Yes! However, is that what society sees as a good christian? No!

I want to be Christlike!

True followers of Christ who have been born again through the remittance of sin through Jesus Christ should strive each and every day to be more Christlike for
Romans 8:29 - For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Being Christlike means giving in full surrender to God. The disciples gave up their entire lives to God with the mere mention of "come with me". This doesn't mean that reading your Bible daily, praying, going to church, tithing, supporting a missionary, and evangelizing are bad. They are absolutely not bad, they are great! They should; however, be the result of your love for God.
James 2:18 - But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
This means, simply, that faith is vital and good works are a result of your faith. Good works are wonderful; however, they do not guarantee salvation or even prove that you are a Christian or Christlike. Good works through strong faith; however, is exactly how Christ lived his life. Is it possible to enter heaven without good works? Technically, yes as long as you have faith in your salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Is it possible to get to heaven with just good works? No, you must have faith with Jesus Christ our Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new
Recently I heard a couple having a conversation exactly like this at a table near me. The woman said, "I just don't think I could believe in a God that wouldn't let a person in to heaven that does charity and helps people every day." No, God will not let someone in to heaven for simply being a good person. Even the best person in the world is still a sinner and is still falling short of the perfection that God demands. Therefore, they can not access the kingdom of heaven except through acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Romans 3:23 - For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
So no, I do not want to be a "Good Christian" by the modern worldly definition. This is a meaningless drone. The world has made this phrase to simply mean a good person who may or may not acknowledge God in their daily lives, much less Jesus Christ.

I want to be a Christlike Christian. To be Christlike is to keep Jesus in the center of everything you do. Consulting God with your decisions, with your praise, with your worry. Acknowledging that you are a sinner, that you have fallen short of the Grace of God, and that you have been cleansed by and through the blood of Jesus Christ are the characteristics of someone who is Christlike. Being Christian is absolutely good. You should do good works to exemplify your faith, you should go to church, you should support missionaries; however, this should be secondary to the primary means of being Christlike.

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