Christian in Name Only is not Christian

Christian in Name Only is not Christian

It may be hard to believe but people all around you, maybe even including you, call themselves Christians but do not actually follow Jesus. The evidence of salvation (James 2), to include the denial of self and taking up the cross daily (Luke 9:23), is largely missing. In addition to that, there seems to be very little spiritual transformation (Romans 12:2) and overall commitment to discipleship and service (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, James 2:14-26). In their minds, they are saved strictly for heaven instead of saved to serve Jesus (Ephesians 2:10). It’s sort of like claiming to be a machinist in a factory but never showing up to work. You might say the lifestyle doesn’t line up with biblical Christianity. When this is the case, it isn’t Christianity because it demands a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior. Instead, it is dead religion and false hope.

Before I continue, allow me to say that it is absolutely and unequivocally true that a person, any person, is saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). To elaborate, we can’t work for or deserve our salvation. Jesus did all the work necessary on the cross for our salvation. All we have to do for salvation is receive his free gift of grace by faith. So then, what is all of this talk about works and service?  Works and service come as a result of our salvation (Ephesians 2:10). Every person born again by God through faith in Jesus will bear fruit (John 15:2-5). In fact, we are given spiritual gifts by the Holy Spirit like teaching, evangelism, preaching, leading, serving, etc. to build up the body of Christ and for the common good (1 Cor 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4).

All in all, I think you’d agree that it would be impossible to experience the love of God (Romans 5:8, John 3:16), be saved by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8,9) and be indwelled and empowered by the Holy Spirit (John 14:17) to remain in a repetitive sinful lifestyle and consistently make selfish choices (Romans 6:1-7). I think you’d also agree that it would be impossible for a true Christian, follower of Christ, a disciple of Jesus, to ignore or refuse the call of Jesus to follow Him (Luke 9:23). Yes, of course. It may go slow at times. There will be proverbial bumps in the road. But, with all of that acknowledged, others can see that you, even though a work in progress, are following Christ.

All in all, real Christians, not Christians in name only, live transformed lives (Ephesians 4:20-24). You can accurately say it is a new life in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14-17). As a result of this new life, Christians live separated lives as (2 Corinthians 6:17). This means that we no longer entangle ourselves in worldly pursuits and relationships. Don’t take this the wrong way. Christians are not isolationists. After all, we are called to witness (Acts 1:8) and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). In any case, the Apostle Paul is calling us to live without any entanglement or influence of idol worship of any kind. This applies to every area of our life including career, politics, business pursuits, recreation and personal relationships.

With all of that said, the question that begs to be answered is this, how do I live an authentic Christian life instead of adding to the growing number of Christian’s in name only? First, place your faith in Christ as Savior and Lord (Romans 6:23, 10:9). Second, ask the leaders in your church to teach you about baptism and get baptized in obedience to Christ. Third, start reading your bible and put what you read into practice. Fourth, ask mature Christians to mentor and disciple you (Matthew 28:18-20). This includes joining a small group where there is relationship, support and accountability. Fifth, worship and serve others. Sixth, learn to share your testimony and the gospel with others. Seventh, join a local church and learn to “be” the church (Acts 2:41-47).

Are you tired of dead religion and false hope? I am too. Instead, develop a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior. Align your lifestyle with the teaching of Jesus that you read in the Bible. As well, make a commitment to follow Jesus and serve in support of His kingdom work. Of course, we all want to go to heaven. We have the promise of heaven through faith in Jesus. What a marvelous and satisfying truth. But don’t stop there. That’s just the beginning. Develop the habits necessary to grow in your faith. Yes. That’s right. Actually follow Jesus. Glorify Him. Praise Him. Worship Him. Serve Him. Do this now. Don’t wait. After all, Christian in name only is not Christian.

A Work in Progress,

Pastor Gene