Yes, I am a Christian
That is wonderful news; but be careful, for Jesus says that many will claim to be Christian on the day of Judgment, and even claim to have done good works in Jesus' name, but He will say depart from me, I never knew you (Matthew 7:21-23). Notice that He says the word 'never', instead of 'once', and then they backslid. Also notice that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, it is not that you know Him, but that He knows you, and that is what gives you entrance.
Think of it this way, if you try getting into the White House by saying you know the President, they will never let you in; and you may even be arrested in the process. But if the President comes out and says that he knows you, then they will let you in, and only then you will be given access.
In 2 Corinthians 13:5, we are told to "examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you fail to meet the test!"
Well, how do we examine ourselves? Well compared to everyone else, we seem to be pretty good, but God does not judge us by the people around us, but by His standards, by the Word of God. Well where in the Bible does it tell us how we can know if we truly are a Christian?
Many of Jesus' parables speak of true and false Christians; and also in the First Epistle of John, often referred to as First John, in it, the Bible gives some clear examples how we can truly know, if we are really a Christian.
Before we get started, let's look at the purpose for First John, and also for this web page: "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." 1 John 5:13 (NIV). Now let's begin:
Based off of 1 John 1:5-7 (NIV), we know we are Christian if we do not walk in darkness, are not unholy, and also that there is a clear difference between us in the world.
Based off of 1 John 1:6, it says that if anyone claims to be a Christian, but still has an unholy lifestyle, is a liar. You say that you are a Christian, but can you honestly say, that there is no difference, between you, and the rest of the world? Let's look at the verse in detail: "If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth." 1 John 1:6 (NIV) Well you might be noticing that it says 'darkness', not 'unholy' right? Well, what is darkness; it's the opposite of light, and in the verse just before, 1 John 1:5, it says what the light is: "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all." Before we move on, let's look at 1 John 1:5-7 (NIV) for context:
"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."
We know we are Christian because by God's Grace we are no longer what once were, but we are standing right along side the Apostle Paul when he said these words "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" Any Christian that claims to be without sin, is a liar. Do Christians still sin? Yes, but not continuously, and when we do, it grieves us. Where as with the rest of the world, they would revel in their sin. And a true Christian does not only repent only once for their sins, but continually, and for being sinful, another words, a wretch. How many Christians in the pews these days see themselves as a wretch? If the Apostle Paul claims to be the chief of sinners, how can we claim to be anything better?
"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us." 1 John 1:8-10 (NIV)
Let's move on to the next chapter:
"We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person." 1 John 2:3-4 (NIV)
"This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did." 1 John 2:5b-6 (NIV)
We know that there is no Christian on earth that is without sin, but how do we reconcile that with 1 John 2:2-6? Think of it like this, you may have heard this from a parent, or if you are a parent, did you teach your child the word 'no'? A true, adopted, child of God will either say 'yes' to God's commands, or 'no' but followed with repentance, and them submitting to God and saying 'yes' to His commands. Furthermore, our attitudes will be similar to Christ Jesus, the Son of God, saying to the Father, "not as I will, but as you will."
Let's move on to the next part of the chapter:
We know that no one can be Christian if they hate anyone within the Church where they are a member.
"Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them." 1 John 2:9-11 (NIV)
Let's move on to 1 John 2:15-17 (NIV):
"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever."
Now quickly sit down and make a list of your goals in life. Now pause a moment, and try to mentally compare your list to that of your neighbors and coworkers. And honestly try to see what the differences are. Now is the time to be honest to yourself and your family, because by God's Grace, you have been given just enough time to change the direction you are now going. But that can only happen with God strengthening you, and you must first humble yourself and submit to God in repentance and faith and belief in Jesus Christ for your salvation. A true man or woman of God will not have lists of goals for their life that mirrors the world, but will have distinct and sharp differences, mainly the inclusions of sharing the Gospel, Evangelism, supporting the Church and its members and missionary programs. With some nice additions to that list being Prayer, Bible reading, and volunteering in Jesus Christ's name, and all on a regular basis.
Let's move on to 1 John 2:19 (NIV):
"They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us."
A great example of this is Dan Barker. Dan Barker is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and co-host of Freethought Radio. After 19 years as an evangelical minister, Dan "saw the light" and announced his atheism in 1984. In your evangelism, you will encounter many who were once 'Christian' and they can probably quote scripture better than you can, but so can the devil. But they "saw the light" and went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
"But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist, denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us, eternal life. I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit, just as it has taught you, remain in him." 1 John 2:20-27 (NIV)
Moving on to the last part of the chapter, we know a true Christian will continue to run with patient endurance the race that lies before us, yes stumbling at times, but they will continue till the finish line, while keeping the faith, and that a true Christian will run with perseverance, the race marked out for us.
"And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him." 1 John 2:28-29 (NIV)
Let's move on to the next chapter:
We know that a true Christian cannot be without sin, "but we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure." 1 John 3:2b-3 (NIV), and that a true Christian will not continue in sin. For example any Christian that steals, will stop stealing. "Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need" Ephesians 4:28 (NIV)
"Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God's child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister." 1 John 3:4-10 (NIV)
Let's move on to the next part of the chapter:
We know that there are tares among the wheat, Matthew 13:25, within your Church. This is visible when there is any anger, hatred, discord, jealousy, resentment, and or bitterness between Church members. Do you love everyone within your Church; this is another way how you can know if you truly are Christian.
"For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:11-18 (NIV)
Well, that's the end of the test, how did you do? We cannot sufficiently complete this test from First John as intended without closing with the final verses of chapter 3:
"This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God's commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us." 1 John 3:19-24 (NIV)
John the Apostle now says, "we are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood." 1 John 4:6 (NIV) "This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world." 1 John 4:13-14 (NIV) So come and Join Us, and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Not near Washington DC? Go out in to the highways and byways, Luke 14:23, where you live; and here are some Gospel Tracts to help you, and or visit our free Training Resources and Video Resources.
"And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." 1 John 5:11-12 (NIV)
Spiritual awakenings always begin by prayer, we must pray for a revival, and our evangelism and missionary work must be covered with prayer:
"remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins" James 5:20 (NIV)
"When I say to a wicked person, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself." Ezekiel 3:18-21 (NIV)
"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise." Proverbs 11:30 (NIV)
"in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them." Romans 11:14 (NIV)
May "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)