What Does It Mean To Be A Christian?
What Is Salvation?
Why Should I Care?
What Does It Mean To Follow Christ?
These are the big questions that most people have, and unfortunately there is a lot of confusion out there due to misinformation. Through your time spent reading this I pray that all of your question are answered and that you can see and accept the most amazing gift you could ever receive. The gift of salvation and eternal life through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord.
There is a lot of information to cover here so this is somewhat of a long read, but please take the few extra minutes out of your day and read through all of it. I care about you, I do not benefit in anyway if you read this or not, but I truly do care about you and want you to know the truth.
I think it is important to address the question of “why should I care?” first.
You must understand why the message of Jesus Christ is so important to you specifically, and why each of us needs salvation like we need the air in our lungs to breath.
The Character Of God
In order to understand why you should care, let’s take a look at who God is and who we are. God is holy, pure, good, righteous, and just. He has provided us with His law, the 10 commandments as a reflection of His character, and I am sure most of us have heard these at some point in our lives. The Ten Commandments are also known as the moral law, and having an objective standard of right and wrong allows us to look at ourselves honestly, to see that we are sinners, that we cannot uphold Gods law, it is impossible for us. When we see, and understand that we are sinners, wicked in the sight of God, that we are not good, we are able to understand why we need Jesus, why we need a savior.
We are all made in Gods image, and we all have His moral law written on our hearts. We know when we are doing something wrong, even if we have never been told so. This shows the truth of God and His desire for us to be holy as He is holy, and if that is true, we must also believe His Word that He has given us to be true.
God will deal harshly with sin, He does not take it lightly. If you are His child, born again into His kingdom, He will not let you continue in sin. Your Heavenly Father will correct you and discipline you just as a loving earthly father does. The Word of God is the instruction book for eternal spiritual life, spend time in the Word of God everyday, learn what He expects from you, learn all that you can about Him.
“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you.For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?”
“For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”
I would like to take just a minute to explain my statement above regarding morality and the moral law of God. We all make judgements and have beliefs of what is right and what is wrong. These do not always line up from person to person, that is because many of the beliefs that we hold as individuals were formed by the culture around us, the people we spend our lives with, the news and media we watch and listen to. However, there is an underlying moral law that we can all agree on. We should not harm little children, we should not steal, we should not kill, we should not sleep with another persons husband or wife, etc.
Now, regardless of the fact that we may have different cultural moral standards does not negate the fact that there is an underlying morality that we all have. You must ask yourself, where did that moral standard come from?
If we were all here by accident through the process of evolution, why would it matter if there were injustices in the world? Why would we care if there are homeless and hungry children in the world? Why are we completely broken if a loved one is killed? Based on evolution we are here by accident, with no purpose, and these things would just be random acts of nature, survival of the fittest.
But we all know that is not true. If it were true we would not send aid to foreign countries in need of help. We would not give our time or money to help others in need. We would not care if a certain group of people were treated unfairly or unjustly. If you look around you, and are honest with yourself, you would recognize that everything you see had an origin. There is not a single thing that originated from nothing.
The fact is, we do care, we all agree that every human being on this planet deserves dignity and respect. That is because we were all made in the image of God, and He has written His moral law on each of our hearts.
Now that we have established the basis of understanding for God, and the truth for the scripture that he has provided for us, we can begin to look at His law or standards that He requires of us.
You may be thinking I’m a pretty good person, I always try to do the right thing, I’ve never killed, or robbed anyone. Overall I have led a really good life and I try to do the right thing most of the time.
The scriptures say “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it” – James 2:10
Think about it this way.
– If someone decided to break into your house, they beat you, and you ended up in the hospital for several weeks, and that person was taken before a judge what would you expect to happen? Could they say, I know I did these horrible things but every Sunday I go to church, and on Saturdays I feed the homeless. I have done a lot of good things in my past, can’t you just let me go? Doesn’t all of the good things I have done make up for this?
What do you think the judge would say?
– If he let that person go, you would think he is corrupt
– You would expect him to uphold the law, and give that person the punishment they deserved right? If he was a just judge that upheld the law, he could not let him go regardless of anything else he had done.
He would be judged on the crime he committed and nothing else.
God is the same way – He is Holy, Pure, and Just – He must uphold the law.
Because God is Holy and Just, all sin must be paid for. He cannot simply forgive you and let you go. The penalty for sin is death, God takes all sin very seriously. That penalty has to be paid for your sins. That is what Jesus did for you, He paid the price that you could never pay, He sacrificed Himself on the cross and took all of Gods wrath that was meant for each one of us. He paid the price for us so that we may repent and turn to Him, to have a relationship with Him, and that if we put our faith in Him we may live holy as He is holy. God loves you, He loved you so much that He sacrificed His one and only Son for you. Jesus defeated death and sin on the cross that day. Turn from your sin and follow Christ.
You must have a personal relationship with the Lord, you must give up your will and earthly desires to follow Him. When you are born again, He will give you a new heart with new desires, your greatest desire should be to please and glorify Him in all that you do.
Think about it this way.
If you visited someones home and it was brand new, everything they owned was pure, white, spotless, and clean. You knock on the door, and when they open it you are standing there covered in mud. Would they just let you in, or would they require that you be clean? What if it was just a little mud, maybe on your shoes, think they would be ok with that? Of course not!
Or to put it another way. You go up to a house, all of the family is there, and you knock on the door. You don’t really know the owner, you have heard of him but that is about it. You just lost your home and you heard they had a really nice place, so you decided you were going to live there. You felt like you deserved it because you have been a pretty good person, so they should just let you move in. What do you think would happen?
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
We are all guilty and fall short of the glory of God
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
We will never be good enough. Salvation is a Gift of God
“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.”
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
But there is good news! The gospel of Jesus Christ!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
“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.”
Baptised by water and by the Holy Spirit
“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Grace empowers us to overcome sin, it does not justify it. You must repent and turn from your Sin
Romans 6 1-4
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
“John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 6 1-14
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
Romans 6 15-19
“What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.”
1 Peter 1:13-19
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
Living your life for Christ
1 John 3:1-10
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.”
Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.
Acts 2 42-47
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Live your life for Christ, He lived the perfect sinless life and has given us the perfect example of how we are to live. Live your life in obedience to the will of the Father.
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
You must remain in Christ
John 15 7-17
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”
Prepare for the trials, Stay strong in your faith
1 Peter 1:3-9
“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.”
Remain pure in heart
“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.”
“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.”
2 Timothy 2:21-26
“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, Patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
What do you strive for?
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”
1 John 2:6
“Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”
1 Peter 2:21
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Repent, turn from all of your sin, for you have been crucified with Christ and raised again. The old you is gone and you have been raised a new creation in Christ. Live every day to please the Father, seek His will in everything you do, strive each day to become more like Jesus Christ.
As you grow in your faith and as your relationship with your Heavenly Father grows, the Holy spirit will start to reveal sin in your life that you didn’t know was there. Repent when He shows you these things, strive to be holy and to walk more like Christ every day.
“For the Good News must first be preached to all nations. But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.“A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!”
“The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!”