Who is the True Christ Believer

In some exchanges of email among some friends, the issue of who is a real Christian comes out. Can we define it? How can we tell? Is he therefore saved?

The Inner Being Issue - Only Yourself can answer.
A true Christ-Believer is someone who know, believe that Jesus is the Son of God and has a relationship with Him.

John 3:16 tells us "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

We need to know first before we can believe. So I put know before believe. v16 tells us to know that Jesus is the one and only Son sent from God.

This is repeated in Jesus' prayer to His Father God in John 17:3
"And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."

We need to understand another term well "eternal life". Eternal life is not just about never ending life. This is because everyone has a never ending life anyway. When the physical body died, the spirit and the soul of man continue to exist. The more important question is the where does the after death spirit go? To hell with the devils or to heaven with God and angels? So the eternal-life should mean more than just eternal but life with God. Hebrew word eternal is olam meaning more than long-time but as the horizon beyond, another dimension of life, the heavenly life of God. To have most intimate relationship, we must be of the same kind. Man can have a good relationship with dog. But man can have a higher and more intimate relationship with man/women(wife). Man have a good relationship with God since we are created in the image of God. But man can have intimate relationship with God when man is rebirthed by the Holy Spirit of God into the same form of life as God and live as children of God.

Of course, one shouldn't just stop at knowing Jesus as Son of God. We would like to know more of Him and to talk with Him so that we can have a on going and real life relationship with Him.

When we are rebirthed by the Holy Spirit, we took upon Jesus' righteousness and we are pure and clean. Our conscience becomes very sensitive and sharp and some things in the past that we used to think are ok are now not ok! Our new identity will naturally be uncomfortable with sins and evil. However, our spirit is new born but our mind and our body remain as before. We need to grow up in spiritual maturity to control our mind and body.

Not Just the Sinners' Prayer
Most of us judge whether another is a born-again Christian by asking them whether they have prayed the sinner prayer (the most simplified form is: Jesus, I believed you as the Son of God who died for my sins. I confessed that I am a sinner. I received you as by Savior and Lord. Amen.). But such is not the requirement of John 3:16. The 'sinner's prayer' of the thief at the cross with Jesus is ""Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Luke 23:42 and Jesus' response was most immediate, " Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." The key to salvation and rebirth is not about confessing your sins but about knowing Jesus as from and is God and acknowledging Him as our God.

There are people who just merely say out the sinner's prayer to get rid of such pushy Christians or to satisfy their girl-friend's requirement for being a Christian first before marriage. So we cant tell whether a person is truly a Christian or not by what he say or claim. Only God and him can truly know.

Nevertheless, Believers must exhibit Believers' Behavior.

1) By Your Fruit
Mat 7:16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

The Fruit of the Spirit rebirthed Believer is:
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

2) Love for One Another
John 13:36 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

3) Abide in and Obeying Christ and Follow After the Spirit

Read the John 15:1-17. Here are some key verses:

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

17 This is my command: Love each other.

4) On His Mission & Equipped with Power from God
A believer is on a mission and should be mission minded executing the mission.

The Mission:
Mark 16: 15 ... “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

The Power: 
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: 
In my name they will drive out demons; 
they will speak in new tongues; 
18 they will pick up snakeswith their hands; 
and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; 
they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.

What about you? Are you a true believer of Jesus of Christ?
Only you can answer yourself.
But if you are sure that you are a true believer of Jesus Christ, then the fruit of love, joy, peace, ... will be shown in your life if you abide in Christ first. The power of healing and other signs will come to you automatically as you minister in His Name while executing the mission of sharing the gospels.

Please remember that we are born anew as a spiritual baby and baby needs to take good spiritual food, exercise and love to grow up. Give yourself time to grow up. Find good fellow believers for fellowship. Even Paul went through tough struggles as in Rom 7. But the secret weapon is to abide in the love of Jesus Christ. Spend time to know and be loved by Him. We get to know Him more also by moving out in obedience and taking on challenging tasks to taste that His grace is sufficient resulting in increasing trust and obedience.

For details on growth see ...Christian Transformation & Growth -The Unified Model

May we all grow up in maturity into the image of Christ. Rom 8:29.

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