Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
- Revelation 14.12
Anyone, then, who fears God, and loves Him, and does His will and keeps His commandments, will have honour among men here and blessedness with God beyond.
- Colmán mac Beógnai, Aipgitir Chrábaid, Irish 7th century
Who is a Christian? One who belongs to a political party by that name? One who attends church or is otherwise engaged in “Christian” activities?
One who claims to have “received” Jesus? Or to “believe” in Him?
Is one a Christian simply because he has prayed a prayer at some point and maintained an association, be it ever so minimal, with a congregation of others like himself?
The testimony of Scripture and of the saints is otherwise: One is a Christian who fears and loves God, believes in Jesus for the forgiveness of his sins, and lives increasingly the life of holiness, righteousness, and goodness which is the result of obedience to God’s Law and all His Word. This is a lifetime commitment, and not just an episodic blip on the radar screen of one’s life.
Real Christians work out their salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2.12).
Real Christians endure every hardship with joy, pressing on through trials to know the Lord and follow Him, come what may (Rom. 5.3-5).
Real Christians bear witness by the indwelling Spirit to the resurrection life of Jesus Christ (Acts 1.8; 1 Pet. 3.15).
Real Christians engage in daily works of ministry which build up the Body of Christ in unity and maturity in love (Eph. 4.11-16).
Who is a Christian? It is instructive to discover how others might answer this question. Try asking a few friends, coworkers, or neighbors: Who is a Christian? Then take them to our text for today and ask them point blank, On the basis of what you see here, can you fairly describe yourself as a Christian?
If they are, won’t they rejoice to be so affirmed by God’s Word?
If they aren’t, well, isn’t it about time they began to know that?
If they think they are but aren’t, what better work of love could you do for them than to set them straight on this most important matter of life?
Being a Christian is serious business, engaging us in all our thoughts, affections, values, priorities, and practices. We are not free to be Christians on our terms. God stands ready to bless with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit all those who sincerely belong to Him.
Psalm 24.3, 4 (Foundation: “How Firm a Foundation”)
Oh, who may ascend to the Lord’s holy place?
And who may appear to His glorious face?
All they who are clean in their heart and their hands,
And true in their souls with the Savior shall stand.
Lord, in Your mercy You lifted me up and set me on a high place; help me to live as You will, and to proclaim Your goodness to others. Adapted from Patrick, Confession
What does it mean to "believe" in Jesus, anyway? I'll answer that question in this week's ReVision column.
Events in Missouri of late are finding people crying out for "justice"? But what is "justice"? We begin the discussion of that question in our In the Gates column a bit later this week.
Want to share the Gospel, but not sure just what the Gospel is? Order a copy of The Gospel of the Kingdom from our bookstore, and I'll take you through an explanation and exercise designed to help you be ready to give an answer to those who ask a reason for the hope that is within you.
T. M. Moore, Principal