Marks of a True Christian – Part I

To say that the church in the United States has lost a sense of scriptural living is an understatement. We live in a time of feel good pulpit sermons, the primary concern not being serving people with the truth, but serving their wants. Not being a church conformed into the image of Christ, but conforming to whims and desires of what the congregation wants. We have peddled ‘the gospel’ as a product to be consumed and shaped to the consumer, not to shape the disciple.

One way that we’ve helped in this is Christian hocus pocus when it comes to salvation. It usually goes something like this: “If you say this prayer and truly believe it in your heart, you’ll be saved.” The scripture that’s used to give this legitimacy is in Romans 10:10 which says:

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth is made unto salvation.

Through an erroneous application of the scriptures, we begin to give false hope to those who truly don’t understand what it means to be saved. We exacerbate the problem of creating false converts by this method of unbiblical mysticism. In order to understand the context and meaning, we must go deeper.

Reading the Signs

True belief can be summed up in two words. The first is repentance.

…except you repent, you shall likewise perish. (Luke 3:3)

The word repent is translated from the Greek word metanoeo which means to think differently or reconsider. The Holman Bible Dictionary says it like this:

…repentance refers to a deeply seated and thorough turning from self to God…the call to repentance is a call to absolute surrender to the purposes of God and to live in this awareness.

The Lord Jesus considered this to be the cornerstone of His ministry:

I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Luke 5:32)

Paul tells us in Romans 12:2:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Here we see that a renewed mind should lead to a renewed life. It shouldn’t be that we’re the same as the world, but we’re someone different. The word transformed is the Greek metamorphoo which is where we get the word metamorphosis which means to be transfigured. When we think of this word, the change from a caterpillar to a butterfly comes to mind. It’s not the caterpillar being changed into a new caterpillar. It’s the process of being changed into a whole different creature.

Simply believing in the mind is not true faith. True faith is not head belief. It’s life belief. So if someone is proclaiming to be a Christian and yet living with the same mindset of the world, the same desires as the world, and the same lifestyle of the world, then the bottomline is that they’re of the world, not of Christ.

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips but their heart is far from me. (Matthew 15:8)

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vain glory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1 John 2:15-16)