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What is a Real Christian?

The Bible seems to give us different ways of answering this question. Some parts of the New Testament indicate that “real Christians” show their faith by the way they live. Other sections of the Bible show that “genuine” children of God can live without faith. So, what’s the answer?

In short, here’s an attempt to net it out…

  1. Only God knows for sure, when it comes to “judging the lives of others.”
  2. Personally, we can know in our own hearts whether we are “in the faith” and trusting Jesus as Savior and Lord.
  3. The Father loves us enough to accept “as is” broken people who put their faith in his son, and too much to not care if we stay that way. So he has his ways of “correcting” those who by faith in Christ have been born into his family.
  4. In reality, there is a difference between being a child of God, and a “disciple of Jesus,” even though, in theory, there should not be a difference.
  5. Acting like a real Christian involves growth in Christ-like attitudes.
  6. Real Christians who do not stay in close relationship with Christ have the capacity to do anything the Bible urges us not to do.
  7. We are called to lovingly encourage anyone who claims to be a real Christian, while not living like it, to realize the difference between what is claimed– and lived.

Some Scriptures that come to mind for above thoughts are (1) Matt 13:24-30; 2Tim 2:19; (2) 1John 5:10-13; (3) Heb 12:6-8; (4) Luke 14:26-33 ; (5) 1Cor 3:1-4; (6) Both testaments; (7) 2Cor 13:5

PS I thought twice before using the term “Christian” because of all the baggage the term has picked up over the centuries. But it is a biblical term in that the history of the Acts of the Apostles tells us that “the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). Prior to this it seems as they were known as disciples or followers of Jesus or members of “the way” (Acts 24:14).

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61 Responses to “What is a Real Christian?”

  1. sawaybon says:

    I will look forward to thoughts on the meaning of the expression “children of God”. I have a theology professor who claims that all humans are children of God, but that some don’t know it yet. Those of us who claim to be Christians know that we are God’s children. This is a new concept to me, for I have grown up with the understanding that only followers of Christ are children of God. I am not convinced otherwise yet.

  2. tonyj says:

    “In reality, there is a difference between being a child of God, and a “disciple of Jesus,” even though, in theory, there should not be a difference.”
    Gee, having trouble with this statement. I can understand the rationale behind why it is stated, looking around the Christian landscape, but the problem lies in dividing the Body of Christ into two different categories of Christians. If there is one thing that I continually get from reading the scriptures (especially the Epistles) is the unity of the Body of Christ.
    I am wondering if the context of the above statement comes from some of the demands and expectations expounded from the mound just outside Capernaum. Not sure, but if so, then I can see why we could make that division of believers. Yet when we study that sermon, it is clear that Jesus in talking to Jews, under the law, to whom salvation by faith in His finished work at Calvary, had not, as yet, been revealed.
    So, for us today, as believers, we must look to the Epistles which explain to us what exactly happened TO US, at Calvary.
    As I read the Epistles, I get a glimpse of the magnificence of the new creation, which is far greater and fuller than simply being a “child of God” or “disciple of Christ”, it is the great wonder of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).

  3. rokdude5 says:

    For me, its far easier for me to judge whether I’m a Christian and no one else. I know when I do things that its not in God’s will then later I have regrets, then I know that I grieved the Holy Spirit that lives in me.

    To me if some one profess that Jesus is Lord and believe He was raised from the grave (Rom 10:9-10), then that person is a Christian. There are some that claimed Jesus is A Son of God rather than THE Son of God. At that point, I leave that for God to deal with unless someone approaches me on this issue then I will do my best to explain my reading of the Scriptures.

    The Bible does talk about growing in their respective walk which isnt easy at all. (Is 40:11, John 8:31-32) One of the first realization for me about God is that I really own nothing and if God chooses to take it all, so be it. I will praise His Name for letting me use the stuff in the past.

    Very few of us became “instant disciples” following all of God’s commandments from the get-go. Self-denial of “wants” has been a major but necessary hurdle for me and no doubt, others. Keep in mind, “wants” are not just possessions, prestige and power but includes one’s health and relationships too. Im not saying we shouldnt strive to be healthy and make the effort to be in loving relationships but how many of us enjoy the full spectrum of both? Again at that point, I leave it at the Cross. Anyway, to me there are various “levels” and “rates” of growth in Christianity.

    I know that when I dont leave my “wants” at the cross (Ps 23:1), then Im stopping God from leading me where He wants me to go. I now choose to fall into temptations.

    As an aside to Rdr regarding a “real man” which I think you already know the answer to: A “real manly man” IS a Follower of Jesus. I think Jesus came as a man because us guys dont get it how to be a man so Jesus showed us how.

  4. sitsathisfeet says:

    I struggle with this. I consider myself a born again Christian of 20 years. However, I have not lived a Christian life and walked with the Lord consistently the whole time. I have been stubborn, rebellious, disobedient. I have a lot in common with the Israelites, the Corinthians etc. The other day I was in a classroom (secular) situation in which ideas contrary to what it says in the bible were being expounded upon. Now there are two other Christians in that class, and they both spoke up. One said we should follow Jesus, the other said we should love one another, but hate sin, (all sin is equal). I remained mute on Christianity, but said we should treat each other with respect as individuals. I was distressed about it later, because I hadn’t spoken up for Christ in class. During the break one of the other believers came to me, and I said I struggled with how to respond to the issues, and said I was glad that the issue wasn’t one I had to deal with on a personal level. But, when the instructor believes so opposite and presents “evidence” to the contrary of what it says in Scripture, how do you present your defense? Later at church I asked for prayer about it. I was prepared to deal with Darwinism, Evolution theories, science etc. but this human relation issue surprised me when the teacher so clearly was using it as the “bully pulpit”. I pray the Lord helps me in this area.

  5. SFDBWV says:

    Romans 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
    :15 For as ye have not recieved the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have recieved the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry,Abba,Father.
    :16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.

  6. SFDBWV says:

    Janice, I am currious, so if I am too “nosey” just say it’s too personal. I’ll understand.
    What type of secular class are you taking that discusses the Bible vs ?

    Don’t beat yourself up. We all are guilty of letting ourselves down. But dear sister I am sure you haven’t let down the Christ. He knows you and I better than do we.

    Peter wept when he denied knowing the Christ. Sometimes it is best to say nothing unless the Spirit speaks through us. As we just make the matter worse. By being drawn into a trap set up by another. Jesus knew well when to say nothing.

    You already know all too well the full armour of God is our only defense against the firey darts that come from such people.

    Pray about what to say, and when the oportunity comes again you will be prepared. It sounds as though your instructor has a great deal to learn himself. About everything. as there is no “Real” evidence contrary to what is said in Scripture. Only the lack of understanding it. Remember we see through a glass darkly for now. But the Spirit will lead us into all truth. It may take my lifetime plus eternity for Him to do so. But I will be patient.

    Your Friend

  7. SFDBWV says:

    Christian “A person professing belief in Jesus as the Christ.”

    This is a “real” Christian.

    This shouldn’t be a hard question. All the baggage added to it only confuses and divides.

  8. daisymarygoldr says:

    Good question and a wholesome answer! Agree with 1-7. Everyone starts their Christian journey as a child. Jesus encouraged us to have child-like faith. Faith of a child always believes and never questions or doubts. Here is a helpful tip for anyone who wants to experience this kind of faith: try and volunteer to teach a Sunday school class for children at your Church. It will be a guaranteed double blessing… both for the Children’s’ ministries who are always hurting for want of teachers and a rewarding opportunity for you to serve God. Personally, in teaching them, I actually learn more from the little ones.

  9. daisymarygoldr says:

    We should be child-like in faith but follow Christ with a mature grown-up understanding. Simon Peter started out as an eager child. By faith, he readily left his nets when Jesus called him. He followed along with wide-eyed wonder to see his Rabbi doing mighty miracles. In child-like faith he also acknowledged Christ as “the Son” of the living God.

    However, his immature understanding could not grasp the need for his Messiah to die on the cross. Peter’s child-like ignorance swayed from one radical extreme- the use of his sword to defend his Master to the other cowardly extreme- outright denial of having to do anything with the name of Jesus!

    Peter must have really felt very “unmanly” about himself. I’m assuming he may have even avoided direct eye-contacts with his risen Savior. Hence, Jesus walked him through the whole painful denial-around-the-fireside scene to bring him to the point of self-denial. In repeatedly assuring his love, Peter’s heart was so crushed by the love of Christ that it compelled him to love God above everything else and follow His Lord …even to the death on the cross!

    That is the moment when Peter, the disciple was born. I believe, God leads each one of us- His children, through that unique fireside encounter that helps us decide, to deny ourselves, pick up His cross and be His disciples…to go out into the world and make more disciples in His name!

    sitsathisfeet, please, don’t feel bad about yourself. There are times in those kinds of secular settings when a disciple should use discretion to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. In situations like the one you described, presenting your defense is useless…Jesus asked us not to cast pearls before the swine. You did the right thing by being mute and you also gave the right answer. So cheer up!

  10. sawaybon says:

    Good answer, rdrcomp! Thanks for steering me in that direction. I like the focus on relationship, and the focus on Jesus Christ.

  11. mjday11 says:

    When I first became a Christian, I spent a great deal of time and effort trying to “figure out” the Gospel, from an intellectual point of view. I finally came to understand that it’s not “understanding”, but accepting, or believing that’s important. My college education was getting in the way of my spiritual progress. I was making it harder than it was.

    In order that all may come to receive salvation, it must be simple. It’s not brain power, but belief that’s the key (John 3:16). Thank you Jesus!

  12. Borntoride says:

    Great topic and some really good replies. “sitsathisfeet” I want to encourage you to not be so hard on yourself. I found myself in the same situation… a confessed born-again Christian who didn’t “walk the walk” very well at times or with much consistency. For many years I spent my life thinking God was mad at me because I wasn’t acting like what I though a “real” Christian should.

    It wasn’t until many years later that I allowed God to show me that it was Him and Him alone, through what Jesus did on the cross, that was what made me holy in His eyes. It had absolutely nothing to do with my performance or “how good I could be” or anything like that.

    Our salvation is based solely on the finished work of Jesus Christ, and that’s a gift He offers freely to everyone… it’s simply up to the person to accept that gift. The Bible says, “All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” and “If confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

    To me, being a Christian is:

    1) Realizing and admitting that I need a Savior
    2) Believing that Jesus Christ is who is says He is – THE Son of God and the Savior of the world
    3) Believing that He died on the cross for my sins and that, in rising from the dead, He paid the price for all of my sins in full.
    4) Accepting that gift of salvation that He freely offers.

    As Hal Lindsey once wrote (paraphrased), “It sounds like God gets a raw deal but that’s precisely His plan… He gets our sins and we get His righteousness.” That’s why I love these two verses:

    Romans 5:8 – “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

    2 Corinthians 5:21 – “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

    Experientially, as we grow in Christ, we will certainly stumble and fall along the way. But our position with God is not based on our performance but the perfect, finished work of Jesus Christ. When I realized that my desire to be more Christ-like was borne out of love for what He did for me and not because I was trying to earn anything, it made such a huge difference. I truly believe that understanding this truth can really liberate us!

    Two of my favorite quotes in the “Our Daily Bread” devotionals read:

    “Our salvation was infinitely costly to God, but it is absolutely free to us.”

    “Grace is everything for nothing to those who don’t deserve anything.”

  13. net1962 says:

    I just blogged about this very subject on my MySpace page about a week ago.
    I believe that first of all, we are all born Children of God and that whether we become a follower of Jesus Christ is up to us. God always states that the freedom to accept is ours and ours alone; however my own experience has been that He is there tugging at our hearts as long He sees a glimmer of Hope in our listening, He will keep tugging until we obey and start to become a new creature in Christ!

    My journey was a long one; in sharing it with others I hope to shorten someone elses.

  14. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    I truly believe we will see people in Heaven who would never pass the test man has put on being a Christian.
    Its really quite sad. I ponder often why we do that. We make a list of do’s and don’t’s and if one steps out of the rule area we assume they can’t be saved. The Bible is full of Christian people who would certainly fail today’s standard. It’s in the heart …where only God can see….

    SFDBWV “A person professing belief in Jesus as the Christ.” I totally agree and only God knows the validity of that statement.

    A short story: A young man responded to a altar call and after the Pastor spoke with the young man he then reached up into the young man’s pocket and removed his cigarettes and told him Christians did not smoke. I know this person I speak about and I know the struggle he had over the cigarette issue and I find it sad that we reduce salvation to whether one smokes or does not. I don’t condemn the Pastor as I am sure he meant well but have pondered the action.

  15. jewels says:

    Thanks so much for writing this, Mart! It’s a God-thing that I came to your site, because this is my first time here, and I’ve been struggling with all sorts of spiritual questions since the unexpected passing of my mom a few weeks ago. #2–that bothers me, because my mom questioned her salvation. But, then again, I’m thinking (and hoping) that was the work of Satan causing that doubt. QUESTION: Do you believe once saved, always saved? If so, what if a person doubts, and in their doubting, may at times rely on their own goodness. Could they loose their salvation…is this a form of blasphemy? #4–Wow, so well put! I feel badly, because, for the last couple of years, I’ve been struggling with this. Some ministries say that all one needs to do is ask Jesus to be Savior, while yet others say that is not enough…He also needs to become Lord of your life. I regret that I did not come to a conclusion on this before my mom’s passing. Instead, I was confused, so that didn’t help me to help her by proclaiming the grace message. Thanks for listening and for any thoughts anyone shares. Oh, one more QUESTION: Do you think God judges black and white for example: Saved, go to Heaven; not saved, go to Hell. Or, do you think God, since He is loving and all knowing, takes into consideration if a person’s heart and mind were opening up to Him prior to their death, but yet had not made a commitment? Thanks again!

  16. poohpity says:

    Mart, when someone breaks into someones else’s property it is such a violation of a personal sense. Glad your very important things were left untouched especially your person.

    I offer heart felt sorrow in the loss of your mother.

    To me a real Christian although the name Christian is used by some to mean another religion. I have always believed that:
    #1 A believer in the God of the OT
    #2 That that God of the OT became a man
    #3 That God/Man died on the cross for the sins of mankind.
    #4 That He rose again in three days
    #5 After He rose He left His Spirit to guide us unto all truths about God.
    #6 That faith in all the above is a gift from God.
    #7 The responsibility of that gift is that one wants to do the will of God.

    It is a far reaching servant hood as was shown by Jesus that reached beyond our little world to the greater world around us. It is more than our “Christian” fellowship (church) and those that already believe. It is going out of our comfort zone and touching someone else’s life in the name of Christ. Do not misunderstand me that it is not done in perfection but in an imperfect human way to show love to others outside of our families and those close to us because that is safe.

    It is speaking in that class when every nerve says keep quite. It is touching that soul that smells and may have no teeth. It is asking someone to stay with you who may have no home. It may be forgiving the person who just violated you by stealing your car. It may be by doing something like God asked the prophets of old to do which seems so shameful to our civilized reasoning. It is doing and going out of our comfort zone maybe to the rejection of your peers.

    Everyday I look at what it means to truly be a disciple of Christ, the Good Teacher, and find that I do not take many risks for the kingdom other than what is safe. I want to learn more and do more for the Kingdom of God that will make me feel uncomfortable because in a comfort zone I do not grow or learn, I become complacent in my faith.

  17. BC says:

    A couple of Bible verse that I didn’t see noted are:

    1 John 2:3-4 ‘By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep his commandments. The one who say, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.’
    1 Peter 1: 14-15 As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in your conduct,

    These verses aren’t the complete answer, but they are part of it. Obedience, or at least a a sincere desire to move toward obedience, is one indicator of true faith.

  18. sitsathisfeet says:

    Steve Thanks for the response I will pray about it and when and how to respond It is an early childhood education class for my instructional credits, as well as personal education. This class is a survey of parenting education books settled in the context of childhood development and parenting etc. also the history and cultural context beginning 1700 – present. Someone brought in a Dobson book, known as a Christian doctor parent educator, and off it went. (btw sorry to say my friend knew of no web site) Daisy I probably can’t change the instructors views, but I can be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading whether or not I should speak etc. I guess it’s something that any Christian views are mentioned at all. My pastor’s wife, is taking her classes to teach from the same college so I plan on asking her how she handles some of those conflicting issues between secular education and our christian beliefs. Also my pastor sometimes teaches in the public school so I might ask him. Poohpity, You are so right I feel. Very succinct, we must walk the walk. In case I’m not blogging much after this week. I hope to be working and taking care of some other things. Just in case, until we meet again thank you all. With Christ’s Love, Janice

  19. sjd says:

    Mart, I believe all 1-7 are truthful.

    Loved the reminder tonyj gave us of “Christ in you, the hope of Glory!”

    For me the definition of a real Christian is a person that is indwelt by Christ!

    The question then comes in how this comes about. I believe rdrcomp was just answering this.

    It is all about receiving.

    John 1:12-13 (NASB95)
    12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
    13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

    I was reading a book recently where this scenario was brought up that helps us understand a person’s faith, not completely of course. Ask them a simple question: “If you were to die tonight, and face God, how would you answer this question from God, ‘Why should I let you into heaven?'” (I am not saying that is how it will happen.:)) The answer will tell a lot. If they answer anything about doing good things or say “I am a good person.”, then the author would assume they are not saved, until shown otherwise.

    It makes sense to me. It would be “another gospel” as Paul mentions in Galatians, as it appears that something has to be done on man’s part to be “saved”. And salvation is not about faith in Christ plus anything.

    So a real Christian is one that recognizes his condemned state and trusts completely in the finished work of Christ, in Christ alone he receives this precious gift. Others have shared wonderful verses supporting this.
    Christianity is more about receiving a Person than it is about a way of living. Having said that, it should follow that if Christ is alive in our bodies, that we should “walk” a certain way. I now use the “perseverance” Scriptures more as a way to help people examine their lives before God, so that they can enjoy God now as they glorify Him, than to assume they are not saved. I still battle the temptation to think if they are living a certain way, that they must not be saved. Then I think back to times I was purely putting on a show. I do not believe I was lost at those times, but I was not resting in the finished work of Christ in me. I was not offering my body as a living sacrifice, not living daily by faith in Jesus, having once come to faith in Christ alone.

    So I look more at what people are trusting in, or really, Who they are trusting in. That helps me see a real Christian.

  20. sjd says:

    Another question I like to ask people to try to discern if they are a real Christian is “To you who is Jesus?” If the answer is very impersonal, I want to introduce them.

  21. kaliko88 says:

    Thank you Mart for the topic and thoughts, and everyone else for their thoughtful comments. Real life is kicking me down and at the moment I don’t want to be a ‘real’ Christian. I want to be the child of God who can throw a tantrum and have a good cry on God’s shoulder. So, this reminded me to hold on and ride the valleys out.

    It was interesting to see all the different views and ideas on this. I feel as if they were all pieces of the same puzzle. Personally, my idea of a ‘real’ Christian is one who begins as a child of God and grows towards being a disciple. How that journey takes place or how long it takes depends a lot on the follower’s focus. Specifically how much focus is on Jesus and how much is on ourselves.

    That growth, I think, also speaks to sitathisfeet’s encounter. I don’t think it’s embarrassment of our faith that keeps us from speaking, it’s inexperience. Not only are we still learning what to say, but we are learning how to say it. It’s hard to read people and figure out what they will listen to or how they will react. Sometimes we have no time at all to study them. If we learn from each encounter, though, and use the learning to do better the next time, then that will make a difference.

    And so I do not think the statement about the difference of being children of God and being disciples is contradictory or confusing. We all start as children, we just don’t all grow to be disciples. Some don’t grow up much at all, but they remain children of God. If I were to look at myself, I’d say I’m a grade schooler who sometimes wants to just be a bratty toddler. I guess I’m grown enough to skip the tantrum, and the pouting that comes with it. I’ll still cry. God has a big shoulder.

  22. Ted M. Gossard says:

    I don’t like #4, but you word it well, and there’s no way you can get around it. Even the twelve disciples of our Lord did not always act like it. They weren’t always good disciples.

    A full-orbed faith is surely one way of looking at what it means to be a Christian. That it involves belief, trust, reliance, commitment. I think to be orthodox is a good indicator, as in confession to the Apostle’s or Nicene’s Creed. But we need orthopraxy, or practice as well as confession of faith. As James tells us, faith without works is dead. Nominal Christianity is all too common. We look for the real thing in ourselves and others. Of course finding that only in and through Jesus.

  23. scottn says:

    Hey Guys,
    Genesis 1
    1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
    I would have to say a real Christian is one who has a home that is not of this earth.

  24. jam200 says:

    I think there are two types of people who profess to be Christians. First, people who have made a genuine profession of faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, and second, those who look like, talk like and act like they are Christians, but have not accepted Christ.

    That’s why as Christians, it is important to realize that others are watching our actions all the time. God wants me to display my faith in love, and always be ready to give a testimony, to pray for friends and enemies and to know that He is God. It is not for me to determine who is a Christian, but it is for me to love my brother as myself.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective on this topic.

  25. BC says:

    As we consider the question of what is a real Christian, we need to be clear about the distinction of how we become a Christian and how we should live after we become one. To become a Christian, the formula can be stated as Christ alone, grace alone and faith alone. One we have accepted Christ as our savior, we should also seek to make him our Lord and that is where obedience to his Word, although imperfect it may be, should be our goal.

  26. SFDBWV says:

    Jewels, I am sorry for your pain in the passing of your mother. Jesus will comfort you.

    Once saved always saved? The short answer I can give you to that question is Yes!

    If it were up to you, the answer would be no. But the answer is that it is not up to us. Thank God.
    We have been saved (Eph 2:8,9) We are being saved (Rom 6) We shall be saved (Rom 8:23)
    John 10:28-29 “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand> My Father, which gave them to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

    In answer to one of your other questions about how God judges…We are covered by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ no Christian is judged, for our sins. All others are judged according to their works. Rev 20.

    Welcome to the blog

  27. BruceC says:

    Very interesting read, and good answers.
    I have to agree with Borntoride on this one as I think he put it best.
    Also have to agree with the brother that spoke of James and faith without works being dead. But care needs to be exercised here as it can easily become salvation by works. I’ve had some unpleasant experiences being around what I call “super Christians” who thought you had to do the same works as them, at their level, and as much. These folks can do a lot of damage in the body of Christ, even though they may mean well. I’ll leave the maturing work in my life up to the Holy Spirit and the Word. And that will lead to the “works” spoken of, whether it satisfies another or not.

  28. chfranke says:

    Thought I’d add my 2 cents in. I’ve heard it said God calls us (Christians) to be witnesses, not judges and lawyers. I’ve also heard God wants us to catch ’em; he’ll clean ’em.

    Note to D-M-G: God still hasn’t told me what my position about the Israel-Arab confict is. I plan to study some more on it today.

  29. sjd says:

    Just a few more thoughts:

    Beyond salvation, Real Christians are ones that continue to live out the truth of their new life in Christ by faith. We after all are new creations. I happened to watch part of the second Ice Age movie recently. I can’t recall the name. One of the main characters was a mammoth that was raised by an opossum family. Subsequently this huge animal was living like she was an opossum, playing dead when a hawk flew over, hanging by her tail at night in a tree, and doing whatever else opossums do. It is obviously ridiculous to think that a mammoth would live like a tiny opossum, not living with the strength that is hers.

    It is just as ridiculous if not more so to think that we as believers should live our lives as if nothing happened, and we are living as something we are no longer, living in our former weakness. Now we are new creations. We have died with Christ, been buried with Christ, risen with Christ and now indwelt by Christ. In fact He is our life. He is our strength. We have been sanctified, but also are being sanctified as we yield to Him. Our continued walk should be one of continued unveiling of who we now really are in Christ. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The real me is not an opossum, but a glorious new creation, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Let’s be “real Christians” and walk in the reality of who we are, possessors of at least four new realities, Christ’s righteousness, a new identity as children of God, a new heart, and the indwelling life of Christ. Unfortuantely, I am still playing opossum at times.

  30. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    This little poem helps keep things in perspective for me. A Christian is giving God the control of your life.

    He alone can mold and shape.

    “I carry a cross in my pocket

    A simple reminder to me

    Of the fact that I am a Christian

    No matter where I may be.

    This little cross is not magic

    Nor is it a good luck charm

    It isn’t meant to protect me

    From every physical harm.

    It’s not for identification

    For all the world to see

    It’s simply an understanding

    Between my Savior and Me.

    When I put my hand in my pocket

    To bring out a coin or key

    The cross is there to remind me

    Of the price He paid for me.

    It reminds me, too, to be thankful

    For my blessings day by day

    And to strive to serve Him better

    In all that I do and say.

    It’s also a daily reminder

    Of the peace and comfort I share

    With all who know my Master

    And give themselves to his care.

    So, I carry a cross in my pocket

    Reminding no one but me

    That Jesus Christ is the Lord of my life

    If only I’ll let Him be.”

    This was written by Verna Thomas

    rdrcomp, I enjoy your comments and relate to them in my heart.

  31. bdbuie says:

    I always wonder why, when examining personal faith, we do not think much on the importance of loving the Body of Christ. If we are not part of the Church we are not part of Christ because we cannot truly love him without loving, and being part of, his Bride.

    As St. Cyprian said, “No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother.”

    Sometimes I grow discouraged from hearing so much talk about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and very little about a community driven corporate relationship with him.

  32. daisymarygoldr says:

    BruceC, Just wanted to let you know that your words- “super Christians” have hurt me very much… just like the words “mastered it all” “on top of their game” “superior”… which others have used on this blog. For me, those words evoke unresolved fears associated with painful memories…which I will struggle with… until the day I die.

    As I said in my earlier posts, those words do not belong to the body of Christ and brothers and sisters should not accuse each other as “self righteous” within the household of faith. It only shows our disdain and hatred for each other…which then causes discouragement and disunity. We are called to first, love our own in Christ and only then we can love others and bring them to Christ.

    Those from outside may accuse Christians of a “righteous than you” attitude…its OK, because they are ignorant of what it means to put on Christ by faith and to be covered by His robes of righteousness. But within the family, we always see each other as God sees us…righteous saints in Christ. Good works (a.k.a righteous deeds) without faith (in Christ) is like filthy rags and faith without works is dead. Let us then stir each other to love and good works….

    Those who love the Lord will always love His righteousness (1John 3:7-10). In case you missed it, please, read my response to you in an earlier post “Let’s Learn to be Different Together.” Thank you so much for your patience in understanding my pain.

  33. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    I trust all believers love other believers even when they may be in disagreement. Without the personal relationship with Christ can there be love for anyone? I don’t think I agree with St Cyprian. My experience has been one soul at a time. God will corporate and bring us all together. Who is St Cyprian as I am not familiar and please don’t interpret my disagreement as personal against him or you.

  34. Robert Slone says:

    A real Christian – John 3:16. I believe every Christian (a saved sinner) is a disciple. You are a good disciple when you are close in your walk with God, and when you are sinning you are a bad disciple for God and He will chastise you as a father chastises his children when they are bad, until you return to your close walk with God. We are treated as the individuals we are. We are all different and our relationship with God is different from others. No one is better than another, for we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. We are told not to be stumbling blocks for others. I heard a sermon on Zachiaus the little tax collector. The preacher asked, do you know who all those people were, that were standing in the way of Zachiaus seeing Jesus? Then he said church members.

  35. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    Another thought just for clarification. Christ died for anyone who would believe and repent. If you had been the only one who ever believed then you alone would be His church. Thank our Dear Lord many have believed and we too are the church.

  36. tcochrun says:

    As creatures of the Creator, we are all children of God and provided a way to the Father. But as followers of Jesus, perhaps calling ourselves Christians, we face a Divine scrutiny. Nothing in our heart and mind is unknown to God. We are blessed that Christ works as our mediator. Once we have learned of the wondrous gift of Grace, and been renewed by the blood of the new covenant we should live in gratitude and joy.

  37. Robert Slone says:

    I believe what the old preacher meant by church members are the ones that belong to a church (building, congregation) not the Body of Christ-Church. The two get very confussed today.

  38. poohpity says:

    Amen Robert there is confusion about what constitutes the church and what the churches work is.

  39. sjd says:

    Some of what bdbuie says, resonates within me as I have been frustrated in the past and recently with the lack of commitment I see toward others in the body. The gathering of the saints seems to be lowest on the priority list when it comes to how to spend our time in this life. If you read Ephesians and elsewhere in the New Testament you see the high position of the Church in God’s program.
    I was sharing with the elders of our Church the other day the enjoyment, and challenge I was receiving from reading and interacting on this blog. I long for a similar desire and willingness among our Church members to challenge, encourage, and love one another that I see happening here.
    What is the greatest way to love one another? How can we spur one another on to love and good deeds the best? Paul in Galatians was in the “pains of child birth” in wanting to see Christ formed in the Christians he was writing to. (Galatians 4:19) Paul loved the body dearly, and was constantly seeking to show that in his letters and personal teaching. I do not know of a better way to show love for my brothers and sisters in Christ than to point them to our Lord, and to help them understand their position in Christ, ad to walk in that relationship. As that happens I see a natural inclination for them to love and want to share with others in their growing excitement in Christ.
    I agree, do not forget the body of Christ, but do them a favor and interact in a way similar to what is happening here. Open the Word, point them to the Living Word, encourage them to live by faith. “…The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) None of you will ever satisfy me completely, but you can point me and others to the One who can and does.

    Thank you bdbuie and others for your willingness to try to help bring balance and understanding to this life of faith.

  40. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    Robert Slone There is much truth in what you stated. In regards to the old minister I hope that is what he meant as I hope the Body of Christ would not get in the way, however in our imperfection it is possible as I remember Peter’s actions when Christ stated Get behind me Satan. So even a believer can get in the way of other believers, at least in my understanding. I am sure along the way I have done some harm as a Christian even if done in ignorance. Peter thought his thoughts were in the mind of Christ but they were not. I believe that this can happen to all of us. I do ask God to help me always in this area.

  41. daisymarygoldr says:

    chfranke, I appreciate your valuable insights and though rare, it is always a joy to hear from you! About the Israel-Arab question…I realize it was a mistake to have let my curiosity take the better of me. You are right…God calls us to be witnesses. Sorry, if I sounded like a judge or lawyer:(

  42. SFDBWV says:

    bdbuie, It saddens me to read that your are discouraged by hearing so much attention about a personal relationship with our Lord.

    Saddened because this you see is where it all begins. One on one with me and God. No person could draw me to the Christ. Only the Christ only by the power of the Holy Spirit in me can my spirit be drawn to God.

    It is that personal.

    The Church will not save you.

    Whereas it is true we are to belong to a gathering of believers. That we are to edify one another. And most importantly we are to Love one another even as Christ Loves us. We are also to Love our enemies, individualy and as a collection of people, light the way in a dark world toward the Christ.

    Each person a member, in the whole body of Christ. That body is the Church.

    All believers are Saints, all believers are given the right to call God Father. We constitute the Church.

  43. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    SFDBWV As always Steve your warmth and love come right through. You are so right it all begins with that personal relationship. I too was saddened for bdbuie however I did not respond with the comforting words you used. I regret that.

  44. SFDBWV says:

    Thank you gr8, I was actualy unhappy with the subject of a “Real Christian.” As the topic infers that there are unreal Christians.

    People have a tough enough time keeping their spirit convinced that they are accepted by Christ by being just as they are.

    To produce a subject that they may not match up to another, can be harmful to new or weak believers. All who call upon the name of the Lord are saved. And are by conviction therefore “Real Christians”

    There are no “super Christians” No one is able to be or do anything for Christ unless Christ in HIm does the work Himself,

    gr8 I hope your having good weather there in Texas. We are having a taste of Spring today. There is still 10 inches of snow though on the ground.

  45. SFDBWV says:

    Just as an afterthought, for all the technocrats out there. There are wolves in sheeps clothing.

    So all who claim they come in the name of Christ may not be as they seem. So we are to test all spirits.

    The test I think is simple.

  46. desert rose says:

    I like to use the word Believer instead of Christian, since Christian is such a broad word for so many. I did not see where any one used the scripture Acts 16:31. In the Amplified Bible, the word believe is: to adhere to, cling, to rely on. So when the Bible says “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” indicates to me that it is more than just an acknowledgement of what you wrote. I am afraid that so many individuals have professed salvation, but they do not really possess. The Bible also tells us that Jesus will, at the day of judgment, look upon many and say “Depart from me, I never knew you.” Then they replied, “Lord have we not….etc.”

    Just thought I would mention that it is important to understand what the word believe means.

    Thank you. I am away from home and my Bible, so I could not give the reference.

  47. Robert Slone says:

    gr8grannyjacobs, there are some that have as much trouble with the word Christian as I do with the word church. Maybe I should use believer in Jesus and body of Christ. I am one of those that has been gravely betrayed by wolves in sheep clothing and am very careful not to go down that path again, and I believe well meaning Christians do cause harm at times. This is why we are warned not to be stumbling blocks especially to children. I do not hold resentment to the church (building, congregation), there are some wonderful people there. We are told not to forsake the gathering of yourselves. This blog is the closest thing I have found for gathering with people that genuilly care as Christians in about 30 years. I have loved and learned from what everyone here has had to say, but I haven’t found that in a church building. Thank you and love you all in Christ Jesus, the only way.

  48. poohpity says:

    When I first started attending a church I felt very envious of all the people that were there with there smiles on dressed so nicely, I wanted to be like them so much. As I continued to read my bible and be taught the word by only the Holy Spirit, I attended some bible studies and found that those people I wanted to be like so much were not what I wanted. None it seemed were very honest about anything they were going through and found that many never had even read the bible. The Lord at that point told me I love you, Deborah just the way you are and use me as a model to follow. I also found that I was never to compare myself with them only Christ and so my eyes spent more time looking at our Savior then other people.

    I still after 20 years shake my head in disillusionment about what some say compared to what I see them do. I know perfection is not a requirement but to see some progress in their faith would be nice. It would seem I still hold high expectations of those that say they believe compared to the world around them and sometimes when I look in the mirror I see the world. Everyday I have to look at myself and ask that question do people see Jesus in you or the world.

    I want so much to be like Jesus but I fail in so many areas and that is what keeps me humble. The only person that needs to be impressed by our behavior is Jesus and He knew what we were going to be like and still died for us. So I guess the best way not to be disappointed is to keep looking up and not around us.

  49. Robert Slone says:

    I agree totally with what you are saying. I have come a long way in my growth in the last 30 years and am still growing and pray that I don’t stop growing. Today when I see people like that now, I pray for them. I fall short also, but I keep running the race. Thank you for your comment. Look at Jesus, not people. God is good.

  50. daisymarygoldr says:

    Mart, you have done an excellent job in presenting a well-balanced Biblical perspective supported with ample scriptural references to define a real Christian. It has thoroughly satisfied my spiritual appetite and I really look forward to sumptuous posts like this. I, for one have found this subject very timely, useful and important to the “corporate” function of the body of Christ. Personally, I have gleaned so much from what others have shared:

    “rokdude5: I know that when I don’t leave my “wants” at the cross (Ps 23:1), then I’m stopping God from leading me where He wants me to go. Borntoride: Experientially, when I realized that my desire to be more Christ-like was borne out of love for what He did for me and not because I was trying to earn anything, it made such a huge difference. net1962: He will keep tugging until we obey and start to become a new creature in Christ! rdrcomp: When our hearts and minds get hold of this wonderful truth, Christian behavior will follow. Not perfectly, but we won’t want to displease Jesus at all. kaliko88: Personally, my idea of a ‘real’ Christian is one who begins as a child of God and grows towards being a disciple.”

    “Ted M. Gossard: practice as well as confession of faith. We look for the real thing in ourselves and others. Of course finding that only in and through Jesus. scottn: a real Christian is one who has a home that is not of this earth. jam200 Says: That’s why as Christians, it is important to realize that others are watching our actions all the time.
    BC : One we have accepted Christ as our savior, we should also seek to make him our Lord and that is where obedience to his Word, although imperfect it may be, should be our goal. Obedience, or at least a sincere desire to move toward obedience, is one indicator of true faith.” Contd below…

  51. daisymarygoldr says:

    “bdbuie: If we are not part of the Church we are not part of Christ because we cannot truly love him without loving, and being part of, his Bride. tcochrun: we are all children of God … But as followers of Jesus, perhaps calling ourselves Christians, we face a Divine scrutiny. sjd: None of you will ever satisfy me completely, but you can point me and others to the One who can and does. “BruceC, I’ll leave the maturing work in my life up to the Holy Spirit and the Word. desert rose: I am afraid that so many individuals have professed salvation, but they do not really possess. Robert Slone: am still growing and pray that I don’t stop growing. Today when I see people like that now, I pray for them. I fall short also, but I keep running the race. poohpity: I want so much to be like Jesus but I fail in so many areas and that is what keeps me humble.”

    gr8grannyjacobs, your love for God’s children is an immense blessing to the body of Christ!

    Steve (SFDBWV), I wholeheartedly agree, “All believers are Saints, all believers are given the right to call God Father. We constitute the Church and there are no super Christians”. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. A wolf is someone who draws us away from Christ. That is how I test the spirits. Would like to know more of your thoughts on “The test I think is simple.”

  52. david and christine wade says:

    “Other sections of the Bible show that “genuine” children of God can live without faith.”

    Given the fact that faith is a gift given at salvation, any one living without it cannot be called a Christian. God requires faith-full-ness from His children, folks – there is no other way. Faith is not something we conger up for ourselves.


  53. ruthheiss says:

    Hi. This is a new experience for me..writing like this. The question is what / who is a Christian? A Christian is not someone we personally “conger up” no more than congering up faith. It is, however, an attitude toward life and the others who populate our life.
    I have been reading the newest insert for March on Jesus and Tolerance and it has got me thinking. As a christian I do not tolerate lawlessness…but in this “new society” who defines lawlessness? Is it just disobiedience? To what? to Whom?
    This has always been on my mind, this defining of a person being Christlike. If we, as a Christian, are not to judge, and to be tolerant, who will we leave the judging to in this world? I ask this question because of two points: First, I am a great-granddaughter of half of a family burn like logs in Germany. I am a surviver, and I will judge others abhorent debasing behavior(!!!) Second, I strongly believe every life, even unborn, is important. The day United States felt the unborn were expendable was the day we began a walk down a very slippery road. For if the unborn were to be expendable, when would the old and sick become inconvient?

  54. david and christine wade says:

    “A wolf is someone who draws us away from Christ. That is how I test the spirits. Would like to know more of your thoughts on “The test I think is simple.”

    1 John 4:1-3

    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that *confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

    Confrontation with the spirit of the antichrist demands a sound faith and obedient life. Your confidence must be in Jesus, not yourself or your church (institution). It will be revealing as you are led by the Spirit of God into questioning other’s motives and attitudes. Ask the questions *above and sit back – do not allow any distractions to sidetrack you.

  55. david and christine wade says:

    “Faith is not something we conger up for ourselves.” Dave wrote !

    Sorry, folks. A conger is an eel – I don’t have faith in them either ! I meant to write conjure – “cause to appear as if by magic.”

    As our Bible is my only source of authority I take it literally where Rom 12:3
    specifically proves the source of our faith. Confirmed in Eph 2:8, our faith is a precious commodity that must be maintained and strengthened by our growth as Christians.

    Welcome ruthheiss – may you grow in HIM, by faithful prayer and the study if His word. I concur with your opinion of the USA and the abortion issue, although the moral fiber of America began to decompose long before.

    As for the elderly, Doctor assisted suicide is now the law in Oregon and three European countries — Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands. California and Washington State are considering legislation to permit (encourage ?)it. All is lawlessness in God’s eyes – clearly defined by Scripture. Jewish Law agrees – “One who is in a dying condition is regarded as a living person in all respects. (Talmud – Smachot 1:1)”

    You wrote “If we, as a Christian, are not to judge, and to be tolerant, who will we leave the judging to in this world?” The short answer is in 1 Cor 5:11-13 where Paul establishes the priorities for evaluation of behavior – but never condemnation. In the world outside of your own congregation be tolerant, but in your own church, where you may observe their conduct, you must maintain purity by proper discipline.


  56. jewels says:

    Not sure if anyone will even read this since Mart’s original blog post was 1 week ago, but I can only get on-line once in awhile.

    ~~poohpity: Thank you for your condolences.

    ~~Steve (SFDBWV): Thank you for your condolences, for your welcome to the blog, and for answering some of my questions! I like your answers and pray my mom is in the presence of Jesus right now!

    ~~Dave (post prior to this one): “Our faith is a precious commodity that must be maintained and strengthened by our growth as Christians.”
    QUESTION (to anyone): Do you believe one needs to continually have faith in Jesus in order to be saved? I know that would go against the “once saved, always saved” belief. But, this is a question that just came to my mind last night. Does one need to always believe, or can they have doubts (especially when they die), but still be saved? Thanks!

  57. Rick123 says:

    A true christian according to scripture is:

    Mar 12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

    12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment.

    12:31 And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

    12:32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

    12:33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love [his] neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices

    12:34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him [any question].

    Notice what Jesus said unto the scribe>Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.

    Jam 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world

    Mar 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest:<(Love) go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross,<(Living a crucified life) and follow me.

    Pro 13:7 There is that maketh himself rich, yet [hath] nothing: [there is] that maketh himself poor, yet [hath] great riches.

    2Cr 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich,<(In Heaven before he came to our world) yet for your sakes he became poor,<(He divested Himself of his heavenly Glory) that ye through his poverty(Word was made Flesh) might be rich.(Eternal life in Christ)

    Isa 58:6 [Is] not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

    58:7 [Is it] not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh

    58:10 And [if] thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness [be] as the noonday

    1Jo 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

    Jam 2:14 What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

    2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

    2:16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit?

    2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

    2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

    2Pe 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

    1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

    1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

    1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    1:9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

    1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

  58. shonam says:

    I was lead to ask a young girl at Church, who professes to be saved, “how long have you been saved?” she responded “since I was 5 years old”. Than I asked “do you have a relationship with Christ?” She said “yes” and that is where it ended. When someone is a Christian people should be able to tell, without that person saying they are saved, right?
    I began to think about the saying “once saved always saved”. At my church during alter call sometimes our Pastors calls for people who may need to rededicate their lives. So where they saved and are now unsaved?
    I realized today I need to rededicate my life on a daily basis, not because I am a cereal sinner (doing the same sin over and over after I have repented) but because living in this world it is easy to get off focus! Seems as if I get amensia!
    But if we are once saved always saved than what is the point of trying to live a life that resembles Christ,what is the point of being sold out? When someone else is not and we will still make it to the same place! What’s the point of it all?

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