Are you really a Christian? Or do you just identify as a Christian because you went to church a long time ago when you were a kid? Or maybe that’s what your parents were, so you identify that way.
Being a Christian is far more than just saying you are. Do you realize that most people live their entire lives without ever knowing “WHY?” They exist year after year with no idea of why they are alive or God’s purpose for their lives. The most basic question a person can ask is “What is the meaning of life?”
Everyone wants to be happy. People try many ways:
… Some look for happiness by acquiring possessions.
…Some look for happiness by experiencing pleasure.
…Some look for happiness by gaining power & prestige.
But real happiness and genuine love can only be truly experienced and understood by knowing the love of God in your life.
KEY POINT: God lovingly created us in His image to display His glory through our enjoyment of Him.
RESULT: Each person has great value, great responsibility and great accountability to God.
Rom 3:19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;
Rom 3:20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
KEY POINT: We all rebel from God’s loving rule and choose instead to pursue our own enjoyment and our own glory.
RESULT: Rather than life, meaning and freedom, we are robbed of our humanity and the God-intended relationships with each other and our Creator. Because of sin we are now spiritually dead, enslaved and under the wrath of God.
Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death…
KEY POINT: But God has lovingly acted to rescue and restore humanity through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Why Jesus Christ?
Therefore God cannot simply pardon sinners. Would a judge be righteous to allow a murder or rapist to go free because he said he was sorry? A righteous judge must punish sin.
Therefore our sin against God is of an infinite nature. A finite person cannot remove an infinite offense against an infinite God.
Therefore only a man can pay the penalty for mankind. Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man. Fully man to stand as a fitting substitute for man. Fully God to absorb the infinite wrath of God.
Why His Life?
Part of what happened on the cross is the righteous life of Jesus is credited to our account. He was one “born under the law” and in order to give us righteousness He had to perfectly keep the law.
Why His Death?
The penalty for sin is death. Jesus died in our place as our substitute. It was the Father’s will that He take upon Himself the wrath that should have been stored up for us. He thus made a complete and everlasting sacrifice to pay our penalty.
Two things stand in our way of a relationship with God: our sin and God’s fitting response to sin – wrath. Because Jesus’ death removes these we are now able to be reconciled to God.
Why His Resurrection?
RESULT: Redemption and restoration is found in no one else.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 He (God) made Him who knew no sin (Jesus) to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
KEY POINT: Because we are held accountable to God for our shortcomings and because redemption and restoration is found only in Christ, we must decide whether or not we will submit to Christ as Lord of our lives.
God calls every person to repent and believe.
Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Because there is “no other name by which men may be saved”, to not respond to God’s loving command is to remain in your sinful condition with the consequences of sin still upon you. Eternal death (hell) is the only option left for those that do not have their sin covered by Christ.
Faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin.
– It means asking for forgiveness.
– It means agreeing with God about the nature of your sin.
– It means changing your mind about God and sin and turning from it.
– It means transferring trust in yourself to trust in Christ alone.
– It means you stop trying to please God by your own efforts.
– It means you see Christ as a treasure and you grab hold of Him.
Faith is essentially trusting and treasuring.
Trusting in Christ alone is the outcome of His position as the only Savior and our response of repentance and faith springs from this commitment to trust in Him.
RESULT: Everyone that calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13).
Rom 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
Rom 10:10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
So, are you really a Christian? Have you repented of your sins and called out in faith to Jesus Christ and asked Him to save you? Being a Christian – a real Christian – is far more than just praying a prayer once, walking down the aisle to shake the preacher’s hand, signing a decision card, etc. Being a real Christian is living your life for the glory of God. It is submitting your life to Jesus Christ as Lord of your life. It starts with crying out to God for mercy on your soul and it continues by walking closely with the Lord day by day.
If you would like to know more about what it means to be a real Christian, we invite you to join us at any one of our services. Our pastor would love to talk with you about what a genuine faith means!