Friday, June 2, 2006

Almost a Christian?

Are you a Christian? I'm not asking you if you've been baptized as a baby. I'm not asking you if you attend church. I'm not asking you if you are a "good" person. I'm asking you if you are a Christian.

The word "Christian" can be so ambiguous these days, so let me spell out for you what I mean by the term:

1. You acknowledged that you were a sinner, and that those sins were worthy of eternal punishment because of the prefect justice of God.

2. You confessed that you were a sinner to God.

3. You believed in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

4. You believed that God the Son was born of a virgin named Mary and, at his conception, he became Jesus of Nazareth, the God-Man.

5. You believed that Jesus lived a sinless life and willingly died on a cross for the forgiveness of your sins, an atonement sacrifice to bring you and God into relationship.

6. You believed that Jesus Christ rose from the dead early Sunday morning and later ascended into heaven to take his place at the right hand of God.

7. You prayed to receive Christ's forgiveness--Jesus is the only way to God.

To quote John Wesley in his sermon, "The Almost Christian":

“The right and true Christian faith is” (to go on the words of our own Church), “not only to believe that Holy Scripture and the Articles of our Faith are true, but also to have a sure trust and confidence to be saved from everlasting damnation by Christ. It is a sure trust and confidence which a man hath in God, that, by the merits of Christ, his sins are forgiven, and he reconciled to the favour of God; whereof doth follow a loving heart, to obey his commandments.”

8. You found a church to attend and participate in. (I'll talk about this in another post.)

9. You were baptized in water. (This doesn't save anyone, but a new Christian is to obey the New Testament teaching by confessing his salvation through his submission to baptism.)

If you haven't sincerely prayed to receive God's forgiveness through the death and resurrection of Christ, pray a prayer like this:

"God, I am a sinner. Please forgive me of my many sins. I believe that Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead for my forgiveness. I accept Christ as my Savior and Lord, and I give my entire life to you. Thank you for forgiving me now!"