More is Needed to be a Christian

Unfortunately, there are people who call themselves Christians but are not. Oh, they may attend church. They may even read the Bible occasionally. They could hold positions in the church. They may be of high character and personality. None of these things, however, qualify a person to be an actual Christian.

The Bible teaches that God created a plan of salvation with the sacrifice of Jesus as its means. In addition, the Bible says that believers are elected or chosen to become God’s children. The idea of elected indicates a selection by God and an obligation by mankind. Also, the idea of election includes a holy purpose. There is nothing that man can do to merit God’s election. The plan of salvation was created by God, implemented by God, and established by God. The Bible teaches that faith is a gift given by the Holy Spirit.

In John 3: 18 there is a contrast between people who believe and those who do not believe. Condemnation hangs over all of our heads. Believing is not something that alters the plan of salvation. It is something that alters us.  It is an indication that the individual willingly receives what God has established for all mankind, but in particular it is for those who recognize their need for salvation.

In Romans 10: 9, 10 Paul explains what this means. He said that the potential believer must have a deep conviction that Jesus rose from the dead. He also said that there must be a verbal confession on the part of the one who is receiving Christ as Savior. This differentiates those who pretend to be Christians by merely attending church and reading the Bible. The new Christian must have a conviction for the work and ministry of Christ and his relationship with the Heavenly Father. The new Christian must have confessed how that relates to him.

In short, God established a plan of salvation for all according to John three sixteen. This does not mean that everyone becomes a Christian automatically nor does it mean that a person is automatically going to heaven. A simple example is someone who wishes to play football. The rules have already been established. The location where to play has already been established. The equipment has already been provided as part of what was established. The only thing that is missing is the player. He must put on the uniform. He must agree to abide by the rules. He must invest himself in the action.

Jesus explained it in a simpler way by telling Nicodemus in John three that we must be born again. Nicodemus looked at this as a physical second birth in which the person would voluntarily enter into his mother’s womb again. Jesus corrected him by saying that a human being is first born of water or have a natural birth and then he must have a spiritual birth through belief. This is not the kind of belief similar to saying he believes George Washington was the first president. That is hand-me-down information. The belief to receive Christ as Savior is an individual conclusion that one is incapable of doing anything about his spiritual condition. He then would invest himself in God’s grace by recognizing and accepting all that God did for salvation.

This voluntary belief does in nowise nullify the idea of election. In fact, it confirms election. Instead, it places one’s spiritual condition in the hands of God who created that means to be elected into the family of God.

Therefore, to be a Christian, one must verify in his heart and mind who Jesus is and what he did. Likewise, to be a Christian one must admit their helplessness and need. That admission is a faith investment. It is a reception for the resurrection of Jesus to be applied personally to the believer. As a result, the plan of salvation means that all are elected, but few are chosen because the majority do not offer a conviction for Jesus.

Search your heart and mind. Who is Jesus to you? Do you believe that he is the son of God who died and was resurrected in your behalf? Do you wish to avoid the condemnation that you have inherited from Adam in the garden of Eden? Do you wish to be known as a child of God? Are you willing to admit that you have a spiritual need and cannot resolve that need? Can you in good conscience confess all of this with every intention to serve God hereafter? Avoid living a good life. Live a godly life instead. Live the life of the Christian who has committed himself to the person and ministry of Jesus. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life as a teacher, guide, and comforter. Be a unique person that has been born again because it was your good pleasure to avoid condemnation and have an eternal destination of heaven.

We all have responsibilities in life. That includes our work in the job that we do and the careers that we have. It also includes the responsibility to display a godly born again example to our children, extended family, friends, and coworkers. Following belief the first thing a person should do and continued there after is tell other people about their born-again experience. The word responsibility means an obligation and an opportunity. To be a part of God’s family, we have an obligation to recognize our sin and the salvation that Jesus offers. As a result, we have an opportunity for a new and better life with the promise of eternal life in heaven.

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