What Kind of Christian Are You?
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Do you consider yourself to be a Christian? If you do you have aligned yourself with the greater part of the American population! A release from the Barna Research Group, Ltd. says More than four out of five Americans call themselves Christians. In other words, 82% of Americans say they are Christians! Yet later in that same news release I read 25% of the Catholics and 57% of the Protestants surveyed claimed they were Born-Again Christians. As I pondered the survey results I realized that the people surveyed differed in their opinion as to how one becomes a Christian. I wish the survey would have gone a step further and asked the participants who professed to be Christians why they considered themselves Christians. Since they did not ask that question, I decided to develop this article and do my own survey.
SURVEY QUESTIONS (Answer these question in your mind)
Question #1 --What do you think Gods qualifications are for getting into Heaven?
Question #2 -- If St. Peter were to meet you at Heavens gate and pose this question, Why should I let you into Heaven, what would you say?
(I will share several thoughts with you about your answers toward the end of this article).
THREE VIEWS OF CHRISTIANITY
As I mentioned earlier, there are differing views among Americans as to how a person becomes a Christian. In fact, after talking to a wide variety of people who call themselves Christians, I find that they fall into one of three different groups
Lets look at each group individually.
Perhaps you are wondering, What is a man-made Christian? A man-made Christian bases his view of Christianity upon what others have said, especially their spiritual leader(s). For example, when I was growing up, I heard this or similar statements from the minister and other church workers They said to me, Youre a fine Christian boy!
I must admit I went to Sunday school and church, said my prayers, obeyed my parents more often than not, and was a happy young fellow. Indeed, I felt good when they said youre a fine Christian boy. In fact, for a number of years I believed myself to be a Christian because I was told I was by people I trusted! The truth be known, the biggest promoters of MAN-MADE CHRISTIANITY are the Christian religions. The majority of people who have believed the man-made Christian line have done so because their religious leaders have told them they were Christians, and they just took their word for it.
Let me share another example. As an adult I remember going to the funeral of a man-made Christian. The funeral message was filled with contradictions. In the beginning the priest said the infant baptism of the person made him ready for Heaven. Mid-sermon he changed his tune and said that no one could know for sure they would be with the Lord in Heaven. He concluded by urging the mourners to light candles and have Masses said for the person so that some day his soul might reside in Heaven.
It was obvious that many of the mourners were ambivalent about the service and I can understand why! The truth is, there are millions of MAN-MADE CHRISTIANS who believe that they are real Christians because they were told, taught or it was implied that they were Christian for whatever reason, be it baptism, religious activities, keeping religious traditions, etc.
But, there is a MAJOR PROBLEM. True Christianity is not based upon what some person says, be they a minister, priest, teacher or whatever. True Christianity is based upon what the Bible says. Acts 5:29 says We ought to obey God rather than men." This passage makes it clear that it is not what man says that is important. It is what God has to say in the Holy Bible. In fact, human traditions are worthless unless they are Scripturally based. Christ confronted the scribes and Pharisees on this issue in Matthew 15:3 when He answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
NEW TESTAMENT ILLUSTRATIONS OF MAN-MADE CHRISTIANS
Are there any biblical illustrations of man-made Christians in the New Testament? The answer is YES. Before Paul became a real Christian he was a man-made Christian. Philippians 3:4-6 points this out. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Paul had been born into the right family. The right religious rituals had been performed in his behalf. He was personally active and zealous, BUT none of these things made him a Christian! In fact, until he trusted Christ as his Savior he was lost and on his way to Hell. You see, MAN-MADE CHRISTIANS ARE NOT CHRISTIANS AT ALL. Though many man-made Christians are sincere, they are sincerely lost, headed for Hell. Their religious leaders have sold them a bill of goods.
Christ addressed the religious leaders of His day who were promoting MAN-MADE CHRISTIANITY instead of the Bible Christianity. He says, Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to made one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of Hell than yourselves. Matthew 23:15
Man-made Christians trust what they have been told by others, especially their religious leaders. They have not bothered to carefully search the scriptures for themselves to find out what the Bible has to say about being a Christian. That is a BIG mistake because the passage of scripture just quoted makes it clear that they were children of Hell and not children of God. Dont make the same mistake the scribes and Pharisees made.
One more thing before we move to the next point. There are some man-made Christians who have heard the truth of the Gospel and yet still do not accept it. Why? Because they are worried about what their family might think if they change religions. The truth is, it is more important what God thinks! You need to be like Paul and dump the counterfeit and adopt the real thingBiblical Christianity.
What is a self-made Christian? SELF-MADE CHRISTIANS think they are accepted by God because of all the good things they have done. They think that because they try to be trustworthy loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent God has to let them into Heaven. They either do not know or have ignored the Bibles teaching on good works. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast."
An illustration of a SELF-MADE CHRISTIAN is found in Luke 18: 9-14. On one hand you have the Pharisee (who was a self-made Christian). He thought he was praying to God but God would not hear. He thought he was right with God but he was not. But, the tax-collector, on the other hand, cried out for mercy and God heard and answered his prayer and saved him from his sins.
SELF-MADE CHRISTIANS are often good moral people. They are active doing good things. They try to keep the 10 Commandments. They are involved in their church. They have a list of good works as long as their arm that they will tell you about, and yet when SELF-MADE CHRISTIANS stand before Christ, they will discover they are NOT REAL CHRISTIANS. Look at Matthew 7:21-23, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in they name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." These are sobering verses.
I have met many SELF-MADE CHRISTIANS who are doing their best to earn their way to Heaven. People wonder, How could God deny them? The fact is, God is sovereign. He makes the rules, not man. We all MUST play the game by His rules. Tragically, those who are trusting in their own works for salvation are not even in the game. The Bible is the book of Hoyle for Christianity. Have you ever looked at what it says about human effort gaining salvation? Consider the following passages of Scripture
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Titus 3:4-5 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
My point is simply this, neither the man-made Christian nor the self-made Christian are real Christians. In fact, the destiny of all Man-made and Self-made Christians is the same... Hell. But, dont lose heart! CONTINUE READING!!!
The only REAL CHRISTIAN of the lot is the GOD MADE CHRISTIAN! The God-made Christian must become a Christian Gods way!
There are many verses that clearly point out Gods way of becoming a Christian.
And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 1 John 4:14
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6
John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Do you remember the questions at the beginning of this pamphlet? How did you answer them?
What do you think Gods qualifications are for getting into Heaven?
If St. Peter were to meet you at Heavens gate and pose this question, Why should I let you into Heaven, what would you say?
The ONLY Biblically correct answer is -- I HAVE RECEIVED THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS MY PERSONAL SAVIOR.
Have you received Christ as your personal Savior? If you are not sure that Jesus is your Savior, then you are not a real Christian. Take a moment and be SURE you are a REAL CHRISTIAN.
HERES HOW TO BECOME A REAL CHRISTIAN
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. I Peter 2:24
Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Romans 4:25
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke 13: 3
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13
Dear Lord, thank you for loving me enough to send your Son to die for my sins and to raise Him from the dead that I might be saved. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I know that none of my good works can ever earn your forgiveness. I believe what the Bible that salvation is a free gift given to anyone who puts his or her faith in Christ. Lord Jesus Christ, come into my life and be my Savior. Amen.
If your was genuine and heart felt you can KNOW THAT YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD BY FAITH IN CHRIST
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. John 1:12
Let us know of your decision for Christ that we might rejoice in Gods goodness to you.