“What is your name for the record?”
“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”
“Sir, today you are going to stand trial for your crimes against a Holy God, and this is going to determine your eternal fate, do you understand?”
“You’ve stated that you are a Christian and that My Son is your Lord, is this true?”
“What can you say that will convince Me of this?”
“I have nothing of myself that I can say, but that my only hope is in the righteousness of Your Son, I have nothing to offer You but my filthy works, and I am not worthy to enter Your kingdom. I fall upon the mercy of Your Holy court and place my hope in Christ.”
“I will open My Book and see if your name is here.”
Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. – Hebrews 4:11-13
The question has gripped me for the last twenty-four hours. Maybe it wasn’t even a question directed toward me, but it certainly had an effect on me. The discussion ensued and the statement was made, what evidence do you have that you are a Christian?
How many people identify that they are Christians, but don’t live like it? In the United States, it’s something close to 80% of the population identifies with some form of Christianity. Will they all be saved?
Then there’s a subset of that number that actually practice a form of Christianity by going to church and doing religious things. How about them?
If you were asked to prove yourself a believer where would you start? You will stand before God and give an account of your life and whether you believe that or not is irrelevant. Or it might even, for some people, be a true truth. In other words, you’ve heard, you even “believe” it, but you don’t live like it.
Please hear what I just said. If you don’t live like it, it’s a contradiction and there is no assurance of salvation.
I want to look at the greatest sermon ever preached as a starting point to what it means to be a Christian.
Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Step 1: Poor in spirit. What does this mean? To be poor in the days of Christ was a lot different than being poor today. People were ashamed of their poverty, and if we don’t recognize our sin and are broken, wretched and poor over our offenses against a Holy God, we cannot be saved.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Step 2: Mourn. Over what? When you come to grips with the reality of your sin, and that you are under God’s wrath, you will mourn. You will beg for mercy, and plead with God to save you.
“Blessed are the meek. For they shall inherit the earth.”
Step 3: Meekness. Meek is not weak. A broken horse is still a very powerful animal, but he is useful for his master’s purposes. So must believers be useful for their master’s purposes.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
Step 4: Mercy and forgiveness are signs of a new creation in Christ. Those that have been given mercy will be merciful.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
Step 5: How can a man be pure in heart? Only by the redeeming work of Christ on the cross, if we think we have any purity in ourselves we are grossly deceived. When God changes a heart, sinful man sees his wretchedness for what it is and God imputes His purity and righteousness upon the believer.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
Step 6: Make peace with men. The only peace possible is that men understand they are at enmity with God and the believer calls them to repentance by preaching the gospel of peace. Christ did not come to bring peace, but a sword, and preaching the gospel of peace will bring conflict.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:2-10
Step 7: Get ready! For those that are now saved and realize their purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, this will mean preaching the gospel of peace to those that hate God. This will bring persecution. If you are not being persecuted for righteousness sake, you would do well to examine your witness. Are you a witness? If you’ve been saved, this is now what you are being commanded to do. Those derelict of duty have no assurance of salvation.
He didn’t save you for your benefit. He saved you for His glory!
How will you respond on that day?
The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. – Revelation 20:13-15
Saved for His glory, by the grace of God