Monday, April 18, 2011

Why is it that so many of us are often quick to associate who is and who is not a Christian by whether they: (1) go to church and (2) read their Bible?

Sadly, I'm even guilty of doing this myself. But, this amazes me. First of all let's establish the reality that going to church and reading the Bible does not make anyone a Christian. I firmly believe there are many people in the pews who are not saved and I believe there are people who read their Bibles who are still unsaved. So this does not make anyone a Christian.

And these two things are not the only two traits that flow from someone who is truly a Christian. Certainly going to Church is good but for a true believer it's not out of absolute necessity that he/she goes to Church but rather it's because there is a longing to be with God's people, to hear from God's Word, to pray with the saints, and to corporately worship with the redeemed. This is a heart-longing of a true believer.

Someone who is saved by Christ will also have a heart-longing to be in His Word. I can't fathom someone who claims to be a Christian not wanting to be in God's Word. That's as foolish as saying someone can live day to day without food and still get along with life just fine (that just doesn't happen). So being in God's Word is not out of necessity but out of love for Christ; out of a desire to be with Him; to learn from Him; to learn what He demands of us as we grow in holiness; and to fellowship with our Savior.

Being a Christian is not about doing things. Being a Christian is about serving Jesus Christ and whole-heartedly being in love with the One who died and took the Father's wrath in my stead. This, then, results in a LIFE of holiness and love for Him which includes Church, Bible reading, prayer, evangelism, holiness, worship, and on and on and on.

Rather than saying who is or who is not a Christian by whether they 'go to church' or 'read their Bible' perhaps it'd be better for us to stick close to the gospel and use that as our criteria. Those who have repented of sin and who have been delivered from God's wrath by Christ's blood through His grace and they are now walking daily with Christ bearing fruit for Him for His glory.

Perhaps this would be better — and a clearer testimony to the lost that we're not legalists or Roman Catholics but that we are sinners saved by grace by means of Christ who are now living, by the Spirit's enablement, to honor, love, and serve Jesus Christ.

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