I’m reading a lot in different places about how everybody (that is talking) is a “Christian” and how there should not be division among the “Christians” and, in general, churches/ religions/ denominations.
They think that all they have to do is call themselves a “Christian”, when in actuality, there’s a lot more to being a “Christian” than just saying you’re a “Christian” and then doing a bunch of good things.
First, let us look at what it means to be a “Christian”.
The definition of “Christian”: Christ – like or Christ – follower
How do you become a Christian?
If you look at Romans 10:9-10, it says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”.
And then Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”
First, to be a Christian, we have to confess with our mouths that we are going to follow Jesus AND we have to believe in our hearts that God actually did raise Jesus from the dead on the third day, and that’s all it says we have to do. Then it says that with the heart man believes unto righteousness (or salvation or becoming a “Christian” by more than just name). Not only do we have to say that we are going to follow Jesus, we have to believe it.
It’s not enough to just believe that we are going to follow Jesus, but we also have to confess that we have, and to open our mouths and tell people and then, and only then will we be saved. (Step by step guide through salvation)
You see, there’s nothing there that says that we have to do anything special other than this, there’s no good works, there is no baptism, there’s no “Hail Mary”s. That’s IT!
Ephesians 2:8-9 backs up that statement by saying that it’s only by God’s grace that we are saved and the reason for that is: it can’t be because of anything WE DO, “and that not of yourselves,” means that there’s nothing we can do that will get us into heaven. Salvation is a gift of God, requiring no works because God doesn’t want any man to be able to brag about what they did to get to heaven.
Joining a church, giving money to a church or any other charity, working in a soup kitchen to help the poor, just generally being a good person, WILL NOT GET YOU TO HEAVEN! Really good people such as: Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Pope John Paul, Buddha, or your next door neighbor can NOT get to heaven by their works!
At that point, and only after all of this is completed, can we call ourselves, “Christian”!
If you have not done that, then you cannot call yourself a “Christian”! If you are relying on other things besides confessing sin and claiming Jesus as your Savior for your salvation, then you MAY NOT BE a Christian.
This is not being judgmental! This is only repeating what God’s Word says. It is stated again many other times through Scripture. What more do we need?
Once this is completed, the hard part begins. Now we have to BE LIKE Jesus!
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples,
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself,
and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Many people figure being like Jesus is just loving people. When in actuality, Jesus tells us to keep His commandments. How many commandments are we supposed to keep? Is it only “love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor”? No, it’s not!
We have to remember that Jesus is God, no question about it. We also have to remember that God gave the 10 Commandments along with many other commandments after that in the Old Testament.
Then we have the much-debated-upon “doctrines”. These doctrines come out of the same Book that tells us about Jesus and explains to us what Jesus wants us to do. The whole Bible is filled with His commandments. If we are not doing EVERYTHING that is written within the pages of the Bible, then we are not doing what God wants us to do.
Now, you want to know why people argue? It’s because of the doctrines! Are these important? ABSOLUTELY!
Some of these doctrines are cut and dried; you don’t have to wonder what they’re telling us to do. Some of them are not so cut and dried. That is where religions and denominations come in. That is why people have to argue. That is why there is dissension in our churches. That is why we have church splits as well.
With all of the “education” that we have out there today, each individual teacher (or pastor/priest) is going to teach their own point of view. In other words, too many of them, what the Bible says at that time means absolutely nothing. The unfortunate thing is that we, as the little people, end up being taught the wrong things… And we believe them.
We are told Acts 17:13, that we are to be like those in Berea, and search the Scriptures daily to see if any of these things are true.
You don’t have to believe me about any of this. You can go on living the way you want to. You can call me all sorts of names. You can do anything, but if you don’t believe the Bible, you’re wrong. I challenge you to prove me wrong. The Bible does not contradict itself.
I may consider myself to be a particular denomination; that denomination does not make me a Christian, nor does it even make me better than anyone else. I’ve chosen the denomination that I belong to, because of what they believe, instead of a non-denominational church because they don’t want to tell you what they believe or they only tell you part of the story.
It’s up to you to figure it out by studying the Bible and to find out if they are right or wrong. If they are wrong and you stay there, you are wrong. In James 4:7, it says, “for to him that knows to do good and doeth it not, to him it is SIN”! [emphasis mine]
I’ll tell you what, the journey really begins after a person becomes a Christian. As a Christian, we are to be discerning of what is right and wrong, and then call it what it is – and then do something about it!
You never saw Jesus, when confronted with something that was wrong, just walk around it. He always confronted it head-on. Think about the temple and the money changers and how He overthrew their tables, and He cast them out of the temple. He actually got mad. And this was Jesus – He got mad! Sometimes we have to, too!
When somebody says something that goes against what you THINK you believe, instead of trying to fight with them, try trying to figure out if what that person said is actually true or not. How do we find out? By going to God’s Word. Because, you see, if it doesn’t go along with what the Bible says, it’s most likely WRONG!
In a perfect world there would not be any argument between different religions or denominations. In fact, there would be no religions or denominations, we would all believe the same things. That IS coming in the near future. It will either be after Jesus comes to take us to be with Him, or it will be when this world sets up a (false) one-world-religion and demands tolerance among all religions.
There is only one way to heaven. If your church does not teach that, it is wrong! And, if you stay there, knowing what I have just said, you will be wrong too and God will hold you accountable for it at the Judgment!
IT’S YOUR CHOICE…
©2013 Mark Davis