A true Christian is one in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. This is the definition of a Christian as stated in the Statement of Beliefs. After becoming aware of their sins and repenting of them, becoming convicted of their lost state and confessing their sins, being baptized and receiving God’s Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands, the individual is a Christian. Read the Key Verse again. Without God’s Holy Spirit you do not belong to Christ! His Holy Spirit is essential to the Christian (Romans 8:14). Now begins the process of conversion, growth and recognition of the importance of obedience (1 John 5:3).
Simple belief is not enough. The real Christian must be dedicated to Christ and surrender his will to that of Jesus. Many people believe that there is a God, but they have put Him on a shelf and take Him down only when they are in trouble and need something spiritual to lean on. The rest of the time they do things their way. Buddhists and Hindus have their Nirvana, the attainment of enlightenment and freeing of the spiritual self from attachment to worldly things, but they do not accept Christ and without this they cannot have God’s Holy Spirit. This leaves them unfit for God’s Kingdom. People claiming to be Christians and calling Jesus “Lord” but not allowing Him to really be the Lord of their lives are no better off than these Buddhists and Hindus (Luke 6:46). Jesus had many criticisms of the Pharisees, but this was His only one of His followers because it revealed a lack of faith. Belief without commitment won’t get you there (Matthew 7:21). Satan and his demons fit this category (James 2:19). They don’t just believe, they know! John has a name for those who give lip service to the Lordship of Christ but have no commitment to live under it (1 John 2:4).
Christianity is not a religion, it is not a denomination, it is a way of life. You don’t practice being a Christian; you live and walk a Christian life (1 John 2:6). In every daily decision he makes, great or small, the real Christian attempts to emulate the action he believes that Christ would take (1 Peter 2:21-22). After becoming a Christian, anything in your life that may be offensive to your Lord should be removed from it, just as the early church did (Acts 19:19) regardless of the cost. Giving up some cherished pagan habits may hurt sometimes. Many in God’s Church dearly love the taste of bacon, but when they were converted and found out He calls it unclean, they stopped eating it. Although the analogy in no way approaches the suffering of our Savior, going through this transition from living in sin to living under the Lordship of Christ could be considered our act of being “crucified” (Galatians 2:20). As we grow in the faith and learn more about what is expected of the Christian, we divest our life of all of the unpleasant attributes that have infested it prior to conversion (Galatians 5:19-21). Most people here are not likely to have indulged in the full list of the “works of the flesh”, but there are many testimonies to the fact that many sinners, guilty of the foulest acts, have completely changed and embarked on a life of happiness and peace after becoming a Christian, surrendering their will to Christ and banishing these things from their life. The Spirit-filled life enjoys the benefits promised (Galatians 5:22-25). When the flesh is crucified as mentioned earlier, that is, put to death and buried in baptism, the creature rising from this watery grave is a new person, flesh and blood living with a spiritual attitude (in the Spirit) and behaving in a spiritual manner (walking in the Spirit).
When those moments arise where the Christian is tempted to compromise and try to “duck the bullet” because the right thing to do is the difficult thing to do, remember that not even the Son of God was immune to this, but He overcame it (Luke 22:39-42). Consider for a moment what the plight of Christians today would be if Jesus had not taken the cup the Father handed Him and then be mindful of the fact that somewhere out there some lost soul may be the beneficiary of an act of yours because you decided to take the cup and become a REAL Christian.
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
Proverbs 15:18 Be slow to anger.
Proverbs 16:32 Exercise self control.
Proverbs 25:28 He that does not rule his own spirit is like a desolate city.
Matthew 18:3 You must be converted and have the faith of a little child.
Romans 12:21 Don’t give in to evil, but overcome evil with good.
1 John 5:4-5 Those converted with the Spirit of God and believing Jesus is the Son of God overcome the world through faith.
Revelation 2:11 Those who overcome the world shall not suffer the second death.
Revelation 21:7 Those who prevail over the world shall be God’s child and will inherit all things.
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