How do I know if I am a Christian?
A Christian, by definition, is a follower of Christ , or a follower of the "Anointed one". Obviously then, for one to be a "Follower" it stands to reason that they are likewise a "Believer" in Him, who He was, and what He stood for. According to Jesus when one is truly a Christian this faith in Him saves them from eternal damnation. Therefore to be a Christian is also to have received- SALVATION
"So to ask "How do I know if Iam a Christian"? is to ask "Am I saved?"
This question, (which all men should ask) also asks "If there is a Hell, and God might send a person there, what then can they do to avoid such a possible punishment- and feel confident that it will not happen to them?"
Surely it is possible for God to create a place of eternal punishment, and nothing could be worse than one finding themselves under that condemnation . Therefore the question of: "What must I do to be saved" IS the most important and crucial question and concern that a person can have.
Now we know that many people want to immediately disregard any notion of hell for various reasons or explanations, nevertheless If (in any form) it could be true after all, than they would be making the most costly mistake possible! That is a risk that NO ONE can afford to take: (Where they will spend eternity), and therefore there is no more of a serious question (even if God and hell were a remote possibility). Assuming than, that you agree with the validity of the question, what possible answers are available?
There are various answers to this question by different religions however what belief, or lack thereof, according to information on hand, paints the most serious consequences?
JESUS CHRIST and Christianity is the only one which dogmatically states that it is the ABSOLUTE TRUTH and that there is NO other way to be saved. Therefore all other teachings would be based on lies- according to Christianity. Other teachings want to allow for everyone's opinion to be true- even though they may be diametrically opposed! In effect, these non-Christian teachings say that there are many truths, or paths, all leading to the same place- except for Jesus , who said:
"I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life, and NO man comes unto the Father (God) but by me"
Therefore believing or not believing what other religions say will make no eternal difference, however according to Christianity and the Bible, your belief in Jesus (or not)- makes all the difference in your eternal destiny. (Salvation). There are no gray areas in Christianity. The Bible clearly presents a hell (a place of severe and eternal punishment) see Matthew 25:46, and obviously nothing could be worse than that, and also clearly presents a plan of salvation from hell, providing after life a place of eternal and glorious pleasure - heaven, and obviously nothing could be better than that. (I Cor. 2:9, John14:2)
However, here is the Bad news of salvation:
"Broad (wide) is the road that leads to destruction, (Hell) and many (most) are going that way- and"narrow" is the way to eternal life (Heaven) and few there be that find it."
Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:13)
Therefore, according to Jesus, if you are just going along with the crowd down the "wide road", If your life, values and "WHAT YOU ARE SEARCHING FOR" are little different from most people, then you are probably on the wrong road. "LOST" and on your way to hell- not heaven,
(and the enemy does not want you reading this, or to take the message of salvation seriously).
The Apostle Paul put it like this by way of warning:
‘Examine yourself (look closely) and see if you are in the faith" (And not just kidding yourself) IICorinthians 13:5
or, as Peter put it
If the righteous scarcely be saved- (holy people barely make it)- Where (do you think) will the ungodly and sinner end up? IPeter 4:18
(no doubt- HELL!) (sorry but these are the hard words of the Bible)
"It's a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" Heb10:31
"...and whosoever was not found in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" Rev20:15
Don't take your eternal destiny lightly, or just believe what most people (on the "wide road") may have told you- for like Jesus said: "What shall it profit a person if they gain the whole world and lose their own soul?" (Has a great life but then goes to Hell- FOR ALL ETERNITY!) Mark 8:36
Now, you might ask, why would it matter to people like us, where you end up?
However, what could be more important to you, (or to us if we claim to truly LOVE others), then where you will spend eternity? Its like a neighbor knocking on your door late a night, and disturbing your sleep because he feels your house may be on fire- should he apologize for alarming you about what he thinks could be true? Is it not more his obligation to do so? And is that not why Jesus gave us these commandments- to love others and "Go into all the world and preach the gospel"? Shall we apologize if we disturb you by being obedient to our master? I think not, for we don't really love Him if we do not keep His commandment to love others- which includes you, whoever you are.
Therefore we continue...
Principal one (the BAD news of salvation) is that...
Most people, according to scripture, are blindly on their way to an eternal HELL.
Second: We need to examine ourselves whether we are saved or not.
Third: What must we do to be saved and to be sure that we are of the "few that find it"
This is the GOOD NEWS that there is an...
ANSWER: For Jesus said: "I AM THE way" (The only right road), "THE truth, and THE life And NO man can come unto the father (God- go to heaven) but by me." (Jesus)
And: "He that believeth in me" (Jesus) "Though he were dead" (spiritually- and on their Way to hell)"Yet shall he live" (Be born again-saved) John 11:25
The key (operative word here, then, for salvation, (going to heaven) is to "BELIEVE" on Jesus
HAVE YOU BELIEVED IN JESUS? (CLICK HERE For apologetics (support/evidence) regarding JESUS: "General Opinion Survey" Q's 50-86) , (PS: "Seek and ye shall find, Knock and it shall be opened to you").
HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU HAVE BELIEVED?
Remember, the Bible warns us that "The heart is deceitfully wicked, deceiving our own selves" Jer.17:9 So what does believing in Jesus really mean? After all, your eternity is the most important thing to you- though the enemy of your soul would have you stop reading this and think about other things- God is saying right now, friend, you had better be sure about this matter, and do not let the devil distract you until you've settled it.
ARE YOU SAVED OR LOST RIGHT NOW?
If God would pull you out of this world right now, DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU WOULD SPEND ETERNITY? You had better not do anything else until you are sure, if the Spirit of God is holding your attention at this moment , then hold on and don't look away until you are sure you are through the "gate", stop whatever else, and begin crying out to God in repentance for Him to save you.
A Prayer for Salvation (THE GOOD NEWS)
"Lord God, I want to be with you, I want to receive Jesus Christ as my God and my savior right now, I want His blood to wash away my sins, for I believe you took my punishment for me on the cross and rose victoriously from the grave. I DO BELIEVE IN JESUS, and I do surrender my heart and life to you Lord, be merciful to me and come into my heart as you promised, and henceforth, I want nothing more than to be found with you in Heaven when this life is over, and to hear you say in that day of judgment "You have been forgiven, well done thou good and faithful servant, enter ye into the joy of the Lord!"
(That, my friend- is THE bottom line of all life)
Friend, have you sincerely prayed a prayer for salvation, putting all your faith and trust in the shed blood of Jesus alone to save your soul? If so, you have crushed and broken satan's hold over you, and thereby are born again of the Holy Spirit of God.
But if so, what now?
What next shall I do or look for in my life so that my own heart does not deceive me, so that I can be sure that this supernatural rebirth has occurred? Jesus said:
"By their fruits ye shall know them" (Those that are truly saved) Matthew 12:33
What are these "fruits" (effects) of salvation that Jesus said we can expect to see if/when we are truly saved?
If you have just prayed a prayer for salvation for the first time, and meant it, (receiving Jesus Christ as your savior) His Spirit is now within you and has begun a work called "sanctification", which is a cleansing growth process of a new heart which is now spiritually alive (and this will have a lasting, irreversible and eternal impact).
However, you may have prayed like this before but didn't see any significant or lasting effects. (Then it simply didn't "take"- the prayer was not sincerely from your heart, you had not really fully believed, or was not yet fully convinced of the truth of Jesus Christ) see Matthew 13 about the "Sower and the seed" Maybe you've prayed that prayer before and it had some effect, your life and values are somewhat different from the crowd on their way to hell, but you MUST be convinced that you are saved, in such a most grave matter as your eternity. This is something that there is no room for any doubt- in 1 John it says: "These things have I written unto you so that you may KNOW (be sure) that you have eternal life." I John 5:13 "KNOW"- beyond a shadow of a doubt that the seed of the gospel has conceived in your heart and is growing to produce fruit (Read the book of James from the Bible about unproductive faith)
There are a number of powerful effects that the Spirit has in the lives of the children of God. One is a realization of what sin is, a hatred of it, and the strength to resist it. All unrightousness is sin which the Spirit drives out of your life and gives you victory and power over- even your old nature of the devil. God's new nature in you is pure, peaceable, and loving, and the primary fruit you can look for is LOVE
The fruit of love is why you are reading this right now. The Spirit of God within us is causing us to love you enough to be concerned about your eternity. There is nothing that pleases our Lord more than our obedience to His commands, which is to love Him by loving you and giving you this GOOD NEWS of salvation- for us to point you to the savior, that you may likewise be SURE THAT YOU ARE BORN-AGAIN. (as well as the bad news- if rejected).
If you are a new believer, or just thought you were, this is the primary effect to look for to be sure that you really believe and have been born again:
JESUS said: "BY THIS WILL ALL MEN KNOW" (Which includes you)
"THAT YE ARE MY DISCIPLES" (Have truly believed)
"IF YE LOVE ONE ANOTHER" and... John 13:35
"GREATER LOVE HAS NO MAN THAN THIS THAT HE LAYS DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS" John 15:13
If a person is truly born again, (saved from hell and on their way to heaven), their whole life is to love other's souls into the kingdom of God.
THAT'S THE INDICATOR AND FRUIT TO LOOK FOR TO KNOW YOU ARE SAVED
IS THAT WHAT YOUR LIFE IS ABOUT? "Christian"? Have you forsaken all, denied yourself and followed Him? Will you, even to the death for the cause of others, as Christ did? _____________________________________________________________________________ If you are saved the message that you are reading doesn't bother you, and in fact you rejoice with us in it, however, if something disturbs you about this message then you are probably lost, and on your way to hell.. In which case we hope it does bother you exceedingly, even enough by the Spirit of God that you repent and cry out to Him to save your soul. We pray that you would truly receive Jesus as your Savior right now, and that you may share with us in the soon return of Jesus Christ and His eternal glory.
If you may have read this to rapidly, copy and go back to it in a quiet place, there's nothing more important than your eternity. Don't let the enemy of your soul steal or snatch this seed out of your heart. Especially reread the "Prayer for salvation" and if your heart is convicted cry out to God to make it real and genuine in your life- to the inner most parts of your soul, and to produce the evidence of the fruit of His Spirit in your life- that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.
Further, find a Bible and begin reading the New Testament, and also try to find some others who truly love the Lord to fellowship and grow with. DON'T LOOK BACK UNTIL YOU ARE SAFE IN THE ARMS OF JESUS, keep your mind and heart steadfast on Him- looking forward to the kingdom of God,
Sincerely, your fellow pilgrim, Jonathan
Question: Why Does God take our sin so serious?!
"Because Adam and Eve rebelled against God, they were cast out of the Garden of Eden. They could not just simply repent of their sin, ask forgiveness and regain paradise. No, sin was too scandalous, too polluting and too blinding for God to forgive on the basis of prayer alone. God is extremely, almost incomprehensibly, holy and pure. He "lives in an unapproachable light whom no one has seen or can see..."(1Tim.6:16NIV) He cannot tolerate evil. He is "of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity" (Hab.1:13) His holiness and righteous anger demanded that there be a just punishment. Either the guilty party, or an innocent substitute, would have to be punished. Have you ever been so angry because of something wrong someone did or said to you that you banged the table, kicked the door,etc. ? I remember as a rebellious youth making my father so mad that he picked up an oak stool and slammed it into a nearby fish bowl. I thought "that could have been me." Well, it is sort of like this with God, in whose image we are made, except His anger is always righteous and justified. God has chosen instead to take out His anger on an innocent substitute so that when a man sees that a life had to be taken because of his sin, he would get the idea that "that could and should have been me."
In John chapter 3 a man name Nicodemus came to Jesus, and Jesus told him in no uncertain terms that "except a man be born again he can not see the kingdom of God". (Will not go to heaven but will spend eternity in hell, or again- Jesus said: "Like I'v been telling you- "If you don't believe that I'AM He (THE Christ) ye shall die in your sins"(and go to Hell- lost, in other words), or again, quoting Jesus- "He that believeth NOT shall be damned" (unquote).
John 8:24,Mark 16:15/16(includes some JS paraphrasing)
Sorry but, Plain and simple-that's what it says, take it or leave it- there are no exceptions provided and it's the whole package or nothing, - you can choose to have faith or not.You may consider these the "Hard words" or the "Good news"- (Sounds like your eternity is up to you). and if you believe- then..."Go ye into all the world and preach this Gospel"
Therefore we conclude that, based on the words of Jesus, that believing on Him creates a "rebirth" that saves our souls. The only question still outstanding than is- what is this critical belief in Jesus that makes such a difference?
1. NOTHING is more serious than a soul's eternal destiny
2. JESUS CHRIST is the most believable and substantiated authority and explanation,.
3. JESUS said that to be saved is two fold (even a simple gospel I John 3:23/24)
a. To be born again by believing in Him, and
b. We can be assured that we have the above by our love for others and victory over our old sinful nature (The manifestation of the rebirth)
Therefore when we look at our lives, in all honestly, regardless of what we may say with our mouths, if His Spirit of love for others is not coming forth from us than we have very serious grounds to wonder if we have really been born again, and also regardless of what our church might have told us as well, contrary to the Word of God in order to soothe our convicted consciences and possibly even cause us to end up in hell.
Friend, Im just giving you the gospel of Christ in all meekness and love as clearly and simply as I can by God's grace, and that is this, only truly believing in who Jesus is, (God in the flesh, born of a virgin) and how He loved us enough to die for us on the cross, rising again and victory, causes us to be born again of His Spirit , driving out he old human nature of the devil and resulting in a new nature of love for others. This new nature , even His Spirit now working in us, is our evidence of the new birth and assurance of eternal glory in Christ. Without that, we're on shaky ground . Just to go to church or say with seeming confidence- " I know IM saved" , or I made a decision", etc., is very weak indeed- especially if the primary fruit of the Spirit is not coming forth from you, See I John 2:4,4:20 and James 2:17
CONCLUSION AND BOTTOM LINE
Belief in Jesus is being born again of His Spirit which primarily produces the evidence of love for others,(which includes victory over sin, in that all sin includes lack of love for God or others).
What then does this love look like that I may know that I've been truly born again?
Being consistent with the premise of this article, the ultimate goal, function, purpose and fruit of love would have to obviously be utmost concern for others eternal destinies*
*( irrefutable logic)
Jesus said, "Love others as I have loved you" (What my Spirit within you will also produce) and(therefore) "Have given myself for you".
This Holy Spirit of agape love causes your life to be laid down on the alter of sacrifice for others. Where others will spend eternity becomes the foremost concern of your love and new life in Christ. For this, you are willing to forsake all and follow Christ, to serve him if it costs you everything, even your very life, there is nothing in this world that you want more than to see a soul saved- hence:
RADICAL REFORMATION REQUIRED
For this love you will sacrifice anything and everything, Having gospel tracts to give out is better than a day off from work, a loaf of bread or a drink of water given in His name is better than a new carpet, time spent with a sick person or one in prison is worth more than a hunting trip, teaching your children the Bible is more valuable than an hour of overtime., (working only to be consumed by your lusts), and I could go on trying to assist God ‘s Spirit show you the focus and outworking of His love through you, however, If the Spirit of God is in you, you are also being quickened to the purpose of the gospel of Christ, who came into the world to save them that are lost. (The lost, unbelieving- serving only themselves and thereby hating others- the opposite of love).
Our lord said: "Labor not for the meat that perisheth, but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life.
He that hath not forsaken all and followed me is not worthy of me,
and he said..."Fear not, from henceforth thou shalt catch men" and they:"Forsook ALL and followed Him" Lk5:10-11
except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.
"Now undoubtedly it is, as it was in the days of John the Baptist, the axe is laid at the root of the trees and every tree which brings not forth good fruit will be hewn down and cast into the fire. Therefore let everyone that is out of Christ , now awake and flee from the wrath to come. The wrath of almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging over every unregenerate sinner. Let everyone flee out of Sodom: escape for your lives, look not behind you, escape to the mountain lest ye be consumed"
"Feeling assured of this good cause we must be inflamed accordingly to follow God whithersoever He may call us, His word must have such authority with us as it deserves, and having withdrawn from this world we must feel enraptured , as it were, in seeking the heavenly life."
Above all, when we look to the martyrs of past times, well may we detest our own cowardliness (and laziness- js), the greater part of those were not persons much versed in Holy Scriptures so as to dispute on all subjects however, they knew that there was one God whom they behooved to worship and served, and that they had been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ - in order that they might place their confidence of salvation in His grace.
Let it be held than, as a fixed point, undisputed, solid, agreed, as a fixed point among Christians, that they ought not hold their lives more precious than the testimony of the truth"
"Broad is the way that leads to hell, and many there are that go therein, narrow is the way to eternal life, and few there be that find it.
The abc's of Salvation
So this is how you and the world knows that you are a child of God:because we have:
a. Believed on the name of Jesus Christ (and thereby been born again) and then the Spirit of God has confirmed this by causing us to:
b .love others, and
c. Live in righteousness and not in sin.(see I John, especially 3:10 and 3:23)
The Holy Spirit manifest a two fold reaction within believers, however there is a strong correlation between the two aspects we call repentance,
Christ's commandment for salvation is simple a, believe on Him (cause) and b and c (effect)
That is: be submissive to the Spirit of God now within you that He may do His work of sanctification, which the two effects of are of equal value, (however its really the power of His love that likewise destroys the sin in our lives). When looking for evidence of salvation, many look more for the cessation of certain negative things, (sins), rather than the starting of a number positive things (good fruit), the latter is the greater sign, (love for others) whereas the prior, (turning from sin) will not be left undone by the Spirit, for it is likewise accomplished (fulfilled) by the positive power of the Spirit of love. Even God working in them both to will and to do His good pleasure.
When one is genuinely saved, as demonstrated according to Acts 2:44-47, the primary reaction is their love and unity with and for the brethren, the sharing and spreading of the good news of salvation , and simultaneously repentance towards perfection, which growth process should be evident upon conversion, when, there should be nearly a dramatic demolition of the sin nature, and habits thereof from those bodies which have suddenly been changed from vessels of unrightousness, (filled with the Spirit of the anti-Christ), to temples of the Holy Spirit of the living God.
If one claims to have been born again, claims to have believed and therefore is transformed, and yet these manifestations of love and victory over sin are not occurring, then they are just kidding themselves, (study I John and the book of James), for according to the Word of God, such a one is either simply a liar, or their alleged faith is really nonexistent- "Dead" (or they are self deceived- what a tragic and common case).
Hard to understand, but nevertheless, true, that "Broad is the way that leads to destruction, and narrow the way to eternal life, and few there be that find it"- or are willing to pay the price for it-
Which case best represents your life?
(sorry- but that's the example of the master- whoever loves his life will lose it, but he who hates his life will save it- learn to die).
Are you really one of His sheep?
Or you just hoped you were- having thought you bought it cheap with the counterfeit money of easy believism?
True belief costs your life and being- heart, soul, mind and strength, all of your time, efforts, and resources- everything that you are and hope to be, all of your vain fleshly desires laid down in love for Jesus via others-
too much to pay? Than walk away- like the rich young ruler-
for the price of true discipleship is too high for you.
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