Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Will The Real Christian Please Stand Up

Where is the real Christian today? In a recent poll commissioned by Christianity Today the following statement was made:

“The United States is described in mainstream media as largely Christian (between 70 and 80 percent, depending on the study, identify themselves as “Christian”), and compared to the rest of the world, this is certainly the case. However, not all within this vast group of Christians are alike.”

The most important question in the world is this: “Are you confident that the faith you have will take you to heaven?”

You will know if your faith survives through the trials of life that will come upon you. Tragically, there are many fair-weather Christians, who in times of testing, will find their faith wanting – and they will fall away. One chief reason why this is true is that people are being taught to embrace the love of Christ without embracing the Cross of Christ. Christ and the Cross are inseparable!

An intellectual ascent to the teachings of Christ is simply not enough. People today wish to embrace the spiritual but refuse to acknowledge the supernatural. They like many aspects of the gospel of Christ: love, being a good neighbor, being a peacemaker, etc, but they have rejected the Person of Christ. Consequently, when trials, persecutions and even death come, these ‘Christians” will fall away. And in falling away, they prove themselves to be false Christians.

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” – Matthew 16:24-25

Where is the self-denial? Where is the self-sacrifice? To a true Christian, the central pivotal point in their life is the Cross of Christ – that is where they met Jesus! Meeting Christ at the Cross changes a person’s life forever. The Apostle Paul wrote it this way:

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20

Human faith rejects the Cross, it is repulsive to it. Saving faith embraces the Cross, its very nature is drawn to it. Why? Because saving faith is part of the gift of salvation:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

Saving faith can’t fail! It is unfailing, undying – true faith endures! This is why the true Christian has a living Hope that the Apostle Peter talks about. Read how Peter states it:

“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, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” – I Peter 1:3-9

Are you a Christian? Is the self-denial and self-sacrifice of the Cross seen in your life? Are you relying on your human faith, or the gift of saving faith? Will you be one who falls away in times of tribulations, or will you stand for Christ? Don’t fool yourself, where you spend eternity will depend upon the answer. Is Christ Jesus living His life through you?

Time will tell.

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