"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14
Am I a Christian?
By: O. Bruce Miller
Am I A Christian? What a tremendous blessing to keep this question working in my mind while searching the Word of God for the divine knowledge He meant so much for us to have. I find it a blessing because while having this fellowship with God through the Word, and keeping this question alive in my mind, it increases my determination to seek the truth, that must exist between my God and me, if I am going to call myself a Christian.
Oh! how thrilling, while searching the scripture with all my heart, to suddenly perceive in my mind another great truth concerning My Obligation To God, that if fulfilled, makes it possible for this greatest of all friendships to continue. And then, how disturbing when it is necessary for me to admit that here is another truth that I have been ignoring, thus limiting the peace and joy that could be enjoyed between me and my God.
This must be what is commonly known as conviction. Because as soon as my mind grabs hold of these truths, my conscience will not give me one minute's rest until I get right with God on that particular point, and convince Him that I have no intention of continuing to disregard such truth.
One of the most thrilling realizations that I have been blessed with while studying God's Word is that living a life with Christ, and not just professing such a life, is what really matters. The fact that we must take a firm and complete stand on the side of Christ is made quite clear in Matthew 12:30, "He that is not with me is against me;" Also we find in Revelation 3:15-16 that it is more distasteful to God for us to be lukewarm toward Him than to be completely cold. In Matthew 7:21 we read, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Jesus goes on to tell us in Matthew 8:11-12, that many who are Christians in name only will be cast into hell.
The truth here then is that God desires something more of us than to simply use the Lord Jesus as a name for our organization.
It appears to me that the only real security and joy of a Christian life is in following fully and completely the teachings of Christ as He shows us so clearly how to steer clear of sin. And, of course, there is no greater proof of the possibility of faithfully following these teachings than the fact that He commands it of us. For God to command us to do anything, is the same as an oath from Him that it is possible for us to obey. Following are a few of the many references that give us these commands: Isaiah 1:16 "cease to do evil", Ezekiel 18:30 "turn yourselves from all your transgressions", John 5:14 "sin no more", Romans 6:12 "let not sin reign in your body", I Corinthians 15:34 "awake to righteousness and sin not". What other conclusion can we come to, except that God does not want us to SIN? A good study of the first epistle of John will lead to this very conclusion.
We are told in God's Word, with no uncertain terms, just what our relationship with Christ must be if we are going to call ourselves Christians or disciples of Christ. First we read in John 15:14 "Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you", said the LORD Jesus. This leaves no room whatever for willful disobedience, but only to live the will of God.
The Lord Jesus goes on to say in Luke 14:33 "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple:" I learn from this that it would not please God if I were to use my time, my money, or what little talents I have, as If they were mine and not His. As a matter of fact I could not even call myself a Christian, because Christ says I could not be His disciple.
Christ then proceeds to teach us about separating ourselves from the world so that we can stand with Him. In Titus 2:12-14 we are told that if we deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, He will purify us and make us a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Also in Ephesians. 5:5-11 we are warned about being partakers with the children of disobedience, and that we should have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. I believe that the reason for the above warning is found in I Corinthians 15:33 "Be not deceived, evil companions corrupt good morals."
Then we are told, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world," 1 John 2:15. In II Corinthians 6:14-18 we find the following commands, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, . . . come out from among them and be ye separate, ...and touch not the unclean thing."
If we do not conform to the above kind of teaching, the Bible has this to say about us. "You are like unfaithful wives having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God! Do you not know that being the world's friend is being God's enemy? So Whoever chooses to be the friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God." James 4:4 (Ampl. N.T.)
How long can I hold my head up and say that I am a Christian, or a disciple of Christ, if I refuse to live the life that He commands of me? How long can I feel free to come to God in prayer, expecting my prayers to be answered if instead of forsaking all for Christ Jesus, I am still holding back a part to satisfy my own selfish lusts, keeping myself the center of attraction instead of Almighty God who suffered death and humiliation that I might pass from death into life? How long can I pretend that I think God is happy with me when I pay no attention to such scripture as I Peter 5:6-7 which says, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, ... Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."? How long can I say that I trust the promises of God, if I do not claim for myself such promises as are found in Luke 12:22-23. "...Take no thought of your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat and the body is more than raiment."
If I do not live the kind of life that the Lord Jesus teaches me to live, if I do not have the fellowship with Him that he is pleading with me to have, I must ask myself that same old question: AM I A CHRISTIAN?? And if I am not truly a Christian, does not God say that I am on my way to hell?
ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?
PEACE WITH GOD
People everywhere are searching to find some way to know God. They long to have peace with Him.
Why, then, if man is seeking after God, does he not find Him?
The answer is: THEY ARE NOT SEEKING HIM WITH THEIR WHOLE HEART.
In the Bible God has said, "Ye shall seek me, AND FIND ME, when ye shall search for me with ALL YOUR HEART."1
People are not finding the peace with God that they desire because they want it on their own terms. "My way is all right," they say. "I simply cannot understand why God will not meet me on my terms." But the Bible says, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."2
You see, man has his thoughts and actions centered upon doing what he considers good for himself. He is so wrapped up in living for himself first that he has no time for God, or his fellowmen, except when he can gain something from them. THIS IS SELFISHNESS. It is the basis for all sin. It is that which makes man a rebel against God and alienates him from God.
Therefore, as long as man persists in pursuing his own way--even his own way to God--he will not find peace.
What Then Are God'sTerms For Peace?
First, God requires man to turn from his sins, saying, "...except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."3 Now this turning from sin means a turning from living for self first to give God His rightful place as the Supreme Being in the Universe. It also means giving your fellow men their rightful place as beings of equal importance with yourself. The Bible commands, "...thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, ...soul, ...mind, ...and ...strength: ...And ...thy neighbour as thyself."4
Secondly, to have peace means to be reconciled to God. On God's part, this was made possible through the death of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, on Calvary. Because Jesus died for the sin of the whole world, God is able to be merciful and forgive the sinner and still uphold his righteous government. Therefore, as ambassadors for Christ we beseech you to be reconciled to God.5
This reconciliation is not a paper transaction. It must be an actual fact, accomplished in your heart. A sinner is in an attitude of enmity and rebellion and does not love or desire the will of God. There must be a change of heart attitude, which is a transaction of the will. The Bible calls this repentance.6
No man can experience the peace of salvation without repentance. God requires it. No man can believe to the saving of his soul without repentance. Saving faith follows repentance, and no amount of understanding the facts of Bible doctrine with our mind will substitute for this saving faith. The Apostle Paul says he taught "both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."7 You must repent. God cannot repent for you.
Thirdly, just as faith follows repentance, obedience follows faith. In fact, obedience and saving faith are inseparable, because in the act of repentance, your will becomes reconciled to the will of God to do His will. So the Scripture says: Jesus "became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him;"8 "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."9
To recognize Jesus as our Saviour is also to recognize Him as our Lord. No one is more fit to govern man and the universe, which He created, than the Creator Himself. Obedience to the will of God is necessary for the welfare of all men.
You must agree that all God requires from rebellious man to have peace with Him is reasonable and just. God has necessarily pronounced judgment, that is, separation from His presence, upon man because of his sins; but He has also graciously found a way to reconcile repentant sinners to a renewed relationship with Himself through the death of His Son. "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through Jesus Christ our Lord."10
God has said, "I have set before you life and good, death and evil."11 You do not need to die in your sins. Choose the life that is in His Son, Jesus Christ. He is "the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE:"12
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The following is a list of the references used in the writing above. All scriptures are taken from the King James Version.13
- Jeremiah 29:13.
- Proverbs 16:25.
- Luke 13:3 and 5.
- Mark 12:30 and 31.
- II Corinthians 5:20.
- Acts 17:30.
- Acts 20:21.
- Hebrews 5:9.
- James 7:17.
- Romans 5:1.
- Deuteronomy 30:15.
- John 14:6
- Except in the body of the messages where the authors may be paraphrasing or another version is cited.