How to Know That You Are a Christian

Am I really a Christian?

Do you ever ask yourself that?

It’s a healthy question to ask once in a while, don’t you think? After all, we don’t want to take something like eternal life for granted.

Think of the Pharisees, who thought God put them on “auto-save” by virtue of being Abraham’s descendants. But John the Baptist warned them, “God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9 ESV) So, I think occasional self-examination is good for the soul, for instance when we receive Communion.

photo of man with doubt

Okay – so, let’s examine ourselves. We look in a spiritual mirror, so to speak, and we’re looking… and… um…

Well, we’re not really sure what to think, are we? How do we know the right answer? How do we judge this? By what criteria? Am I a Christian if I’m a good person? Someone others respect? A good spouse and parent? Is that it?

If it is, it seems awfully dependent on me, and not God. It seems like it should be less subjective, right? And shouldn’t God play a role somehow?

No, I don’t think focusing on our behavior is the right way to answer the question. I think it’s more about what we think and believe and trust and hope.

So if you’ll indulge me, I’d like you to consider the statements below as a description of the way Christians think about being a Christian. This isn’t a formula for how to become a Christian, it’s just a description of the things Christians grow bit by bit to grasp about God, His Son, and ourselves that assures us that we indeed, belong to Him.

I hope it helps you.

 

I’ll Know I’m a Christian When…

  • I understand God is perfectly holy and righteous…
  • I understand He requires my perfect obedience to His holy law…
  • I understand how miserably I’ve failed to obey that law…
  • I understand God’s perfect justice in condemning me for this…
  • I understand that death is the penalty God demands and I deserve…
  • I understand I have no appeal I can make and no defense I can offer…
  • I understand that nothing I do can earn a reprieve…

❯ Because Then…

  • I will repent of my offenses against God…
  • I will plead for His mercy and pardon…
  • I will cry out for a savior…

❯ And Only Then…

  • Will I marvel to hear God, my judge, declare, “I am your salvation.”
  • Will I rejoice to hear the gospel of Jesus, the Son of God, sent by the Father, to save sinners like me…
  • Will I be amazed by the grace that God would count Jesus’ perfect obedience as my obedience…
  • Will I be stunned to hear that God counts Jesus’ voluntary death as my death…
  • Will I be awestruck to hear God’s merciful decree: “Not guilty. Debt free. Forgiven.”

❯ So Then…

  • I will believe the gospel, the good news about Jesus…
  • I will trust in Him, my Savior, alone…
  • I will rest in Him alone for my hope of heaven, despite my repeated sins…
  • I will relish the wonder of His full forgiveness…
  • I will perceive the beauty of God’s holiness…
  • I will adore Him who loves me so, the love and life of my soul…
  • I will offer my whole life to Him, to His service…
  • I will discover the joy of pursuing His glory and fame…

❯ And Now…

As I grow in these convictions, as I begin to fathom them, and embrace them more and more…

I will grow in the assurance that…

I am a Christian.

P.S. You’ll notice that I didn’t quote or reference Scripture here, so I do hope you’ll look to the Bible to see whether I’m close to the mark or not. If so, perhaps you’ll consider some of these next time you receive Communion, or next time you’re in doubt, or next time you just need to know God loves you.

P.S.S. If reading the Bible is a strange new world for you, you may find these Bible-reading tips for beginners helpful.


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8 thoughts on “How to Know That You Are a Christian

  1. Pingback: "Only God Can JUDGE me"… « Dr. Sherry E. Showalter – "Keepin It Real"

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