For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
I am a Christian. I do not adhere to a religion. I submit to, dedicate and devote my life to a person – the Person of Jesus Christ. He is my Creator (John 1:1-3), my Lord (Philippians 2:11), my Master (John 13:13) and my God (John 20:28). I owe my entire life (John 1:4), in this present physical state, and in a future and glorified state, to Him. I have this assurance because I have placed my complete trust in Him for my present welfare and my future security (Romans 10:11). There is nothing that I have done or can do to procure that right. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, emphasis added). I know this to be true because, “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), and that applies to me. I know the truth of this because He placed His Spirit within me and His Spirit confirms with my spirit that this is indeed true. “Now he which [establishes] us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22, emphasis added), and “The Spirit [Himself] beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16).
I am a Christian. I believe that the Bible is THE Word of God. That being the case, it is without error (inerrant), and it is faithful and true (infallible). The Bible may include some things that I cannot understand or explain, but I accept it nonetheless because, coming from God, it is true. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:26, emphasis added). The Bible did not come to us by the device of man, but rather by men as inspired and directed by God. “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed … Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 2:19-21, emphasis added). The same Spirit of God that inspired the scribes of God’s Word also gives understanding to those who have “ears to hear.” Jesus promised, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26, emphasis added). As a Christian, I reject that a Pope or any other so called “spiritual leader” has greater insight into the Word of God than what the Holy Spirit has given me, so long as I submit to His leading and not to my personal preferences. Those who reject the Bible do so not because they do not understand it, but because they do understand and are unwilling to comply with its teachings. But regardless of what men say, the Word of God will stand when all others fall. God says, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11, emphasis added). Jesus echoed the same assertion this way: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18, emphasis added). So, when Genesis 1 records that God created the universe and all that is in it – earth, sun, moon, stars, plants, animals, and man – in just six 24-hour days, I accept that as truth, regardless of whether or not science can confirm it, which, by the way, it does. When Jesus says “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3), I know that is true.
I am a Christian. I know that Jesus will return as He promised (John 14:1-3) to snatch away those who have placed their trust in Him. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1Thessalonians 4:16-17, emphasis added). Those who have placed their trust in their own devices or gods of their own making are destined to an eternity separated from God in Hell. The Apostle Peter puts it this way:
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; (2 Peter 2:9-12, emphasis added).
However, this is not the will of God. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, emphasis added). But there is only one way to obtain eternal life, not many ways as many would prefer. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6, emphasis added). “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, emphasis added). While many see this as narrow and intolerant, I would be quick to point out that the holiness of God demands that all sin be punished “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, emphasis added). It is only through His grace and mercy that we even have this “way” of salvation.
I am a Christian. I am not sinless. I am not perfect. In my own strength I am no greater that the worst offender. Any right standing that I have before God is only through the covering (atoning) blood of Jesus Christ my Lord who shed His precious blood in my stead to completely pay my debt of sin, and not mine alone but “whosoever” will believe in Him (John 3:16). However, even though I am not sinless or perfect, my heart’s desire is to please my God and emulate my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and that distinguishes me from someone who is not a Christian. Even this is the result of God’s Spirit in me rather than something I manufacture through my own effort.
I am a Christian. I continue to learn and grow as I strive to follow the example of my Lord. The Bible tells us that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26). A “disciple” is a student or pupil. In the first century, a disciple did not sit at a desk taking notes from an instructor. Rather, they attached themselves to a teacher and tried not only to learn the “teachings” of their teacher, but they tried to emulate his life style. These students at Antioch learned indirectly from Barnabas and Saul (Paul) the teachings of Jesus, and they tried to emulate the life of Christ to the point that outsiders took notice and assigned to them the moniker of “Christian.” My desire, as a Christian, is to so live my life in such a way that others will see Christ in me.
Will you join me and take on the name of Christ? You will not be in the majority. Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). The Greek word translated “strait” is stenos which means “narrow” and it carries the idea of a very tight passage through which one must squeeze with great effort. Thus, it is easily overlooked. The Greek word translated “narrow” is thlibō which means crowed, not because many are on the way, but because it is narrow (like a deer trail) and the few that are on the path overcrowd it easily. It is a road fraught with affliction, tribulation and trouble. It is a perilous road that will alienate the traveler from friends and family and the world. It does come with a cost, but Jesus said:
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:34-38, emphasis added)
I am a Christian. My first allegiance is to Christ. Yet, as severe as these words of the Lord are, there is a paradox. Jesus also said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, emphasis added). There is nothing that the Lord takes away, that He does not replace with something much better. Those others along the crowed narrow way are your brothers and sisters in Christ, and often, they understand the struggles you face because they have faced them too, and they are there to help you along the narrow way. God’s family is greater than any earthly family or any worldly friends. That is just one more reason I am glad I am a Christian.