What does it mean to be a true Christian?


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What does it mean to be a true Christian?

 

Jesus defined this for us:

Matthew 7:21-23 NLT
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

In this brief passage, Jesus lays out several things that mark the true Christian:
1.    A true Christian does more than call Jesus ‘Lord’. A true Christian does the will of God.
2.    A true Christian knows the Lord and the Lord knows them.
3.    A true Christian obeys and follows God’s laws.
What does it mean to do the will of God?
Jesus explained that too:

John 5:19 NLT
So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.

Some time ago I wrote here:

“Sin isn’t what most people imagine. There isn’t a list somewhere—not even the Ten Commandments.
The word ‘sin’ means ‘missing the mark.’ But the mark is not a commandment or a law. The mark is the full measure of who God is—His goodness, kindness, faithfulness, holiness, justness, righteousness and love.”

Doing the will of God then is imitating God. You see what He is doing and you do the same. He forgives freely, so we do likewise. He loves His enemies, so we do likewise. Whatever we see the Father do, we do. Whatever we hear the Father say, we say. Monkey see, monkey do.

John 12:49 NLT
I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.

Somehow, the Church has muddled the message of what it means to be born again. A child imitates his or her parents. We are commanded to have no father except God above. Why? Because God is looking for His own features and attributes in the face of those who claim to be His.

Jesus told us that we must become like a little child if we are to enter the kingdom of heaven. He wasn’t talking about child-like faith except where a child naturally imitates the Father.

When we imitate the Father, we do the will of God. We care for the orphans and the widows. Why? Because that is what God does. We give without regard for receiving back. Why? Because that is what our Father does. We go about doing good, because God is good and every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above. God is good so we are too.
Jesus said:

Matthew 12:50 NLT
Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”

A true Christian doesn’t have a list of commandments. He has his or her eyes on God. In loving God with all his heart, the true Christian sees God and like a child, imitates what he sees.
1.    A true Christian does more than call Jesus ‘Lord’. A true Christian does the will of God.
2.    A true Christian knows the Lord and the Lord knows them.
3.    A true Christian obeys and follows God’s laws.

A true Christian has been born again of the Spirit. God has become “Abba”.  What God does and Who God is has become the pattern of their life.


Ken Van Horn is pastor of My Father’s House Family Church at 501 Broad Street in Cusseta, Georgia and author of the book: “A Greater Reward,” which is available from Amazon on Kindle. Questions for him should be asked in the form below. You may also contact him through Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

 

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