How To Know If You Are A Christian

Here are 5 questions to ask:

1. Have you invited Jesus to come into your life?

Only one thing makes someone a Christian. It's not the church you attend, the rituals you practice, or the family you grew up in. "Christian" means "Christ in one." A true Christian has Jesus living inside. That's why Paul writes in the New Testament letter to the Corinthians, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you - unless indeed you fail the test?" (2 Corinthians 13:15)

So how can we know if Christ has come to live in us? John writes in his gospel, "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." (John 1:12) Receiving Christ means welcoming Jesus into our hearts as Savior and Lord. Jesus says in Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me." Have you invited Jesus to come into your life? According to His promise in Revelation 3:20, where is Christ right now in relation to you? He promised He would come into whoever sincerely invites Him. Would He mislead you? How can you know that Christ has answered your prayer?

2. Do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead?
Paul writes in Romans 10:9, ". . . that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." To sincerely ask Jesus to come into your life means you must believe that He's alive today. Do you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead? what does the Bible promise to those who sincerely believe in Christ's resurrection? That you will be saved.

3. Are you depending on God to save you or are you depending on yourself?
Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." Religion is spelled "DO" because religion is about all we must do to save ourselves: keep the rules, attend worship, etc. But Christianity is spelled "DONE" because the good news of the gospel is that we are not saved by anything we do but by what Christ has done for us by His death and resurrection. Salvation is a gift to be received by faith, not a reward to be earned. That's why Paul writes in Romans 4:5, "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness." A real Christian has stopped trying to earn his salvation by anything he does and instead trusts in what God has done to save him through Christ, knowing that God will declare him righteous because of his faith.

4. Have you acknowledged your sins to God and asked Him to forgive you?
God forgives sins, not excuses. As long as we refuse to be honest with God about our crimes against Him and against people, we can never be forgiven. John writes in 1 John 1:8-2:2, "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." When someone is unconcerned about his sins or pretends that he doesn't sin, it is doubtful that he is a real Christian. The good news of the gospel is that we can receive forgiveness and cleansing from all our sins - past, present, and future - because of Christ's sacrificial death on the cross. He died the death we deserved to die and paid for our sins so that we wouldn't have to. So have you honestly confessed your sins and your need for forgiveness to God?

5. Do you sincerely want to change?
Becoming a Christian is beginning a brand new life and so if we have no desire to change, it is doubtful whether we're a real Christian yet. Peter preached, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name ofJesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Repent means to change ones mind, to move in a different direction. Once I have honestly faced my sins, I will want God to change me. I will want to live life differently.

If you answered YES to all of these questions, stop asking Jesus to come into your life and thank Him that He has on the basis of His promise.

You're now ready to begin growing in your relationship with Him. Here are some simple suggestions for spiritual growth:

Pray Daily. Thank God for His blessings and ask Him for whatever you need.

Read The Bible Daily. God's Spirit speaks to us through the Bible. Try to read several chapters a day. Begin in the gospels.

Obey Christ. As you read the Bible, you'll find commands. The more you obey those commands, the more real the presence of Christ will become and the more you'll see God working in your life.

Tell Others About Jesus. Tell others what Christ has done for you and how your life is changing.

Trust God. The Christian life is lived by faith (trust.) Whenever you're tempted to worry, pray instead and ask God to take control of the situation and work out His perfect plan.

Don't Go It Alone. You're in the family of faith now. Don't try to live the Christian life by yourself. Attend church regularly. Get into a small group of Christians for study and prayer.

Visit here for more information about knowing God.

Resources

Biblical Literacy: Elder Position Papers
TOPICAL Bible Study Method
Bible Reading Plans

Contact John Bruce at (510) 430-0607 for more information about these resources.