ARE YOU IN THE FAITH ????
I understand Billy Graham was quoted as saying “THE BIGGEST MISSION FIELD IS THE LOCAL CHURCH“. Meaning that so many who regularly attend church services are hoping or thinking they are Christians because of certain things they believe that makes a person a Christian like:
My parents are/were Christians. There is no spiritual genetic link between parents and children.
I was baptised/Christened as a baby.
I was baptised by immersion
I attended a Catechism/Disciplesip class and then took my first Communion.
I prayed the “sinners praye”.
I regularly attend church
I pay my tithes regularly.
Not one of the above are proof that a person is a Christian.
Paul writing to the Corinthians in 2 Cor. 13:5 NKJV writes Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.
N.L.T. Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine.
If I am correct that the long list (and I guess it could be added too), are not proofs what can we do to examine ourselves to see we are in the faith?
Let us go back to firstly to what Jesus said, in John 3:5 & 7 if we are to see and enter the Kingdom of God we must be BORN AGAIN.
Then in Peter’s 1st Pentecostal sermon in response to the crowd’s question he said in Acts 2:38-39 NKJV “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
The very first thing we must do is REPENT, which we are not personally capable off doing unless we receive God’s grace and faith to assist us, Eph. 2:8-9 NKJV For by GRACE you have been saved through FAITH, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
When we are truly born again there comes such an ASSURANCE on the inside that we have received the Gift of eternal life , and that our names are written in the “Lamb’s book of life”. 1 John 5:13 NKJV These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may KNOW that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
I read a Paul Washer quote only yesterday, where he states the essential importance of THE NEED OF REPENTANCE (to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins STRONGS).Paul Washer goes onto say, that there must not just be the initial change, but the Believer must continue to be CHANGING AND REPENTING..
Oh that we would hear more in Evangelical circles that REPENTANCE MUST BE A LIFESTYLE NOT JUST A ONE OFF DECISION.
The “sinner’s prayer” puts too much emphasis on “verbal confession”, and not enough on the “heart” Rom. 10:9 NKJV That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
The Greek word for believe is pisteou which means “to have faith” and believe what God has said to you. Thank God He gives us the ability to believe and have faith that he hears us and will forgive us.
Being born again, (repenting) is the start and must become a lifestyle, and we must then desire to GROW 2 Peter 3:18 NKJV but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We must become part of a local church, and be discipled, and recognise we can’t make it on our own, because of our sinful nature, and that we have an enemy (the devil) who wants to do everything to stop us growing.
I believe we can say WE ARE IN THE FAITH, if we have repented and live a repent lifestyle and are growing more and more like Jesus.
I did something I have never done before I wrote in FB I was going to write a blog on this topic and asked for comments, I received a good number of replies, and most were very helpful and Biblical.
I would appreciate some feedback and comment please?