Pound Lane Free Church

Am I really a Christian?

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We live in an age where the label 'Christian' is used in many ways and means different things to different people. To attempt to clarify what they mean by it, some choose alternative labels - 'born again', 'committed Christian' 'Bible believing Christian' etc. Some speak of a Christian as someone from a particular country or ethnic background, to others it relates to whether or not they've been christened or baptised, and yet to others it carries political connotations.

Our intention is not to express a personal opinion as to who is or is not a Christian, but to simply put forward God's definition as clearly stated in His Word - the Bible. We have included a very few of the many biblical references to support this position. We pray that by reading this, you may be able to honestly assess where you stand before the Lord, and having done so we hope that you will want to find out more concerning the true Christian faith.

What identifies someone as a Christian in God's sight?

  1. It is a personal issue. No-one else can make you a Christian, or speak on your behalf. Once someone becomes a Christian it has to be made public (Romans 10:9), but the actual issue is personal between you and God.(Mark 10:17)

  2. It crosses all nations, languages, racial boundaries, social status, and ages. It has nothing to do with traditions, parents beliefs, or any ceremonies that one has gone through including christenings or baptism.(Luke 24:47, Rev 5:9)

  3. Christianity is a faith not a religion. Much has happened, and continues to happen in this world under the banner of 'Christianity' that is clearly contrary to the true Christian faith - wars, conquests etc. This happens when Christianity is understood as a religious cause rather than the personal faith that it really is.(John 18:36)

  4. No one can be born a Christian. There must be a personal experience in a life when one becomes a Christian. The Bible uses different expressions for this experience: being 'saved', 'born again', 'reconciled to God'. (John 3:3, Acts 2:47, 2 Cor 5:18)

  5. Being a Christian has got nothing to do with how good a life you've lived. The Bible makes it clear that we cannot be saved by our 'goodness'. Indeed Jesus assured the chief priests and elders of His time that the prostitutes and tax collectors were being saved ahead of them (Matt 21:31-32)

  6. To become a Christian, there must be a recognition of personal failure to live before God as He requires. Becoming a Christian is not like joining a club. As well as believing certain truths, there must be a right attitude of mind and heart. The greatest obstacle to becoming a Christian is personal pride - a refusal to accept that I need God's forgiveness for the way that I have lived my life. This is not to say that everyone has lived an equally bad life, but rather, that no-one has lived a good enough life, and that even what we consider to be our good acts have no saving merit in God's sight. (Acts 2:37-38, 1 John 1: 8-9) See also 'Am I really a Sinner?'.

  7. There must be an acceptance that this failure makes it impossible either to please God, or to reach Heaven by any means other than the way God Himself has made possible. We tend to judge ourselves against the actions of other people and in that way clearly we can find many who act in worse ways than us. God measures our action against His standards, and even the best of us fall infinitely short of His standards. Indeed, He states that our best deeds are as 'polluted garments' in His sight. Furthermore, heaven (His home) is perfect in every way and must forever remain so. (Isa 64:6, Rom 3:10)

  8. It requires an act of repentance before God. No-one but God can forgive sin (the Bible's collective word for all of our shortcomings and wrong doings - both in nature, thought and action). No priest, 'saint', or any other person (dead or alive) can forgive sin other than God Himself. He freely forgives, when we truly repent of our sin (this means both being truly sorry for our wrong doing and being totally committed, by God's grace and in His strength, to turning from it), seeking His forgiveness on no other ground than the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 John 1: 8-9, 1 Tim 2:5, Acts 4;12)

  9. It requires a step of faith in God. Jesus Christ (who is Himself truly God), has eternally existed, he came into our world, taking human form, being born of a virgin. He lived a sinless life despite being tempted in every way as we are. He gave His life freely and sacrificially, not because He deserved to die, or because anyone deserved His sacrifice, but despite the fact that no-one deserved it. God the Father promises forgiveness for sins, and a home in heaven for all who come believing in Jesus. Believing in Jesus goes far beyond believing in the facts of His life, death, resurrection, and future return. It means putting all of my hope of forgiveness, and of gaining heaven in His completed work at Calvary and in that alone. (1 Pet 1:3)

  10. It requires a fundamental change towards God and His holy law. In coming to God in repentance and faith, He not only forgives, but comes Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer (Eph 1:13-14). He does this as He now reckons (legalls considers) the true believer as being without sin and righteous in His sight since Jesus Christ has Himself both paid the debt for the believer's sin and lived a sinless righteous life in his place (Rom 4:5). Having been brought into this new relationship with Him, He requires that we live from then on in light of this change (Gal 5:16-25). Not only wanting to live for Him, but in the power of the Spirit living in obedience to His Word (the Bible), in fellowship with Him (through prayer), finding our pleasure in serving Him in the world and in a local church, and seeking to glorify Him in all we do(1 Cor 10:31).

  11. It brings an overwhelming sense of joy, peace and assurance. Being a Christian is primarily about being brought into a right relationship with God in which we can start to honour and gloriy Him as He deserves. However, we immedaitely discover a wonderful truth: that God's chosen means for us to glorify Him is through our enjoyment of Him. He immediately starts to pour out His blessing upon us (James 1:17), and we respond in thanksgiving and joy thereby glorifying Him (Psalm 100:4). We discover that the greatest pleasure is found in enjoying every aspect of a new and right relationship with God (Psalm 37:4); being at peace with God (Romans 5:1) and through that at true peace with oneself. Having the assurance that not only am I now in the right relationship with God, but that whatever the future holds, He will keep me(Romans 8:31-39), and that death is no longer something to fear or to avoid thinking about, as it is the time when I'll meet my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (John 14:1-3, 1 Cor15:54-57, Phil 1:21-23), and be welcomed by Him into His kingdom, to spend eternity in His presence (1 Thess 4:17).

Referenced verses

John 3:3

Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."[ESV]

Acts 2:47

praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.[ESV]

2 Cor 5:18

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;[ESV]

Matt 21:31-32

Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.[ESV]

Acts 2:37-38

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. [ESV]

1 John 1: 8-9

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [ESV]

Isa 64:6

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. [ESV]

Rom 3:10

as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one;[ESV]

1 Tim 2:5

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,[ESV]

1 Pet 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [ESV]

Acts 4;12

(speaking of Jesus) And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."[ESV]

Mark 10:17

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"[ESV]

Luke 24:47

and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.[ESV]

Rev 5:9

And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,[ESV]

John 18:36

Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world."

[ESV]

Eph 1:13-14

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. [ESV]

Rom 4:5

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,[ESV]

Gal 5:16-25

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Gal 5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [ESV]

1 Cor 10:31

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.[ESV]

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[ESV]

Psa 100:4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name![ESV]

Psalm 37:4

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.[ESV]

Romans 5:1

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.[ESV]

Romans 8:31-39

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. [ESV]

John 14:1-3

"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. [ESV]

1 Corinthians 15:54-57

When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. [ESV]

Philippians 1:21-23

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. [ESV]

1 Thessalonians 4:17

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. [ESV]

Romans 10:9

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.[ESV]