Many people will be happy to confess that they are Christians in our country of South Africa. The majority of people, about 80% or more of the population, declares their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Do you confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead? Almost all the time, the answer to this question is Yes. This question comes from Romans 10:9:
Rom 10:9 (ESVST)
This is what the bible says and therefore anyone who confesses with their mouth and believe in their heart, they are indeed saved. Paul says in Corinthians that:
2Co 5:17 (ESVST)
So, as a saved person, as someone who has confessed with his mouth and believed in his heart, you are indeed in Christ and therefore a new creation. What does this mean that you are a new creation? Lets look at this.
2Co 5:15 (ESVST)
Rom 14:7-9 (ESVST)
Again here Paul says whether we live or die, we live or die for the Lord. Paul says this is the reason why Jesus died and lived again so that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living. Therefore, it is clear that once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we need to start living a life for him and no longer for us. This means, living a life that reflects that we are a new creation. Living a life that reflects that we are in Christ and Christ is in us.
Luk 6:46 (ESVST)
Jesus said in John 8:31:
Jn 8:31 (ESVST)
A true disciple of Jesus, is a disciple that continues to abide or remain in Jesus’s word. the opposite is true, if you fail to continue in his word, then you are not truly his disciple. Jesus says in John 14:15 that if we love him, we will keep his commandments. Jesus also says in John 14:23 that if anyone loves him, he will keep his commandments and God will love him. Jesus says in John 15:10 that if we want to remain in his love then we must keep his commandments. Jesus said in John 15:14 that we are his friends if we do what he commands us. Jesus also said in Luke 8:21 that his mother and brothers are those that hear the word of God and do it.
So, clearly Jesus does not only want us to believe in him but he wants us to show that we believe in him by keeping his words, keeping his commandments. It is clear that a continued relationship between us and Jesus is dependant on us continuing to obey his commandments or his word. This is the reason why James said that Faith without works is dead. James challenges anyone to show his faith without works and he will show his faith by his works. This is not to say that you need works to be saved but rather that, you need to show your faith by your works.
Jesus says in Luke 6:43 that a good tree will always produce good fruit and a bad tree bad fruit. He says in Luke 6:45 in explaining this tree parable that, out of the good treasure of his heart, a good person will produce good and out of his evil treasure, an evil person will produce evil. So, a good heart will always produce good and an evil heart will always produce evil. This can never work vice versa. Whatever comes out of a man’s mouth, reflects the status of his heart.
Paul addressing Timothy said this:
Tit 1:16 (ESVST)
This is precisely what Jesus is talking about. Those who claim to be Christians but their works reflect an evil unregenerate heart. Those that claim to be Christians but continually and knowingly disobey Jesus’s commands. These are what we call Hypocrites who worship with their lips and not with their hearts as indicated in Mark 7:6
Mar 7:6 (NIV)
In Eph 2:10, Paul says that we are created in Jesus for good works. In Eph 5:8, he says we are to walk as children of the light. In Eph 5:11, he says we must avoid unfruitful works of darkness and expose them. When speaking to Timothy, Paul said;
Tit 2:7-8 (ESVST)
I could go on and on but, it is clear that good works need to follow a repented and regenerated heart. If anyone claims to have accepted Jesus in their heart, their works must reflect that Jesus is in their heart. James gives us a good summary of what I am saying above:
Jam 1:21-22 (NIV)
John in 1 John 2:6 says that whoever says he abides in Jesus, has to walk in the same way he walked. Jesus commanded us to love, and John in 1 John 3:18, says that we must show our love through our works and in truth.
I cannot say this anymore clearer, if you say that you are a Christian but you do not obey Jesus’s and God’s commandments and you continue to disobey, then you are lying to yourself, you are not saved. This is the reason why Jesus said in Mat 7:21, that it is not those that confess Jesus as Lord that will enter heaven, but those that do the will of God. The will of God is that we believe in his Son Jesus Christ and obey him. In John 8:44 Jesus told the Jews that they were sons of the devil because their will was to do the devil’s desires. Then Jesus said in John 8:47 that whoever does not hear God is not of God. So, if you don’t do the will of God then you do the will of the devil and you are of the devil.
A true Christian will sin from time to time but, he will hate the fact that he has sinned and disobeyed God. A true Christian will repent from that sin and ask God to forgive him and help him overcome that sin. A true Christian does not enjoy and justify sinning.
Now, if you find yourself currently in your life living a life contrary to what God has commanded us, if you find yourself living a life of disobedience to the word of God, stop trying to find reasons why you should continue in that kind of life and instead, stop, repent, ask for forgiveness and forsake that kind of life. if you try and twist the word of God so that it accommodates your sinful life then you are just like those that Paul referred to in Romans 1:
Rom 1:21-22 (ESVST)
So, don’t make yourself wise by trying to find a way of justifying your sinful live. Use God’s word as a mirror to your life. If your life is not compatible with God’s word, don’t change the word of God, change your life by surrendering it to God and allowing him to reside in your heart and produce fruits through you. Don’t claim to be a Christian, if you continue, knowingly, to disobey God. On judgement day, you might find yourself among those to whom Jesus said, as in Mat 7:23, I never knew you, depart from me you workers of lawlessness. Remember that if you are a Christians as Paul says, it is no longer you that lives but it is Christ that lives in you. So, let your life reflect that.