OceanSide church of Christ

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Are you a religious person or a Christian?

By Wayne Rodgers


          Sincerity may make a person religious. Having a good moral character may make a person religious. Going to church may make a person religious.  However, alone these traits are not sufficient to make a person a Christian, because they are lacking something. 

              First, the Bible teaches that sincerity is not enough (Matt. 7:21). Second, the Bible teaches that even a good man might lack something, like Cornelius (Acts 10). Also, Jesus rebuked the lukewarmchurch of Laodecia (Rev. 3:14) for their indifference, which would be their downfall. 

              Just being religious does not make a person a Christian.  Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to make a Christian (Rom. 1:16). Today, we see many people who seem religious, but if we examine closely, there are identifying marks of a Christian that will be evident.  The scriptures teach we must be obedient unto Christ (Heb. 5:8,9), we must obey the truth (1 Pet. 1:22), we must obey the Gospel (2 Thes. 1:7-9), and we must be faithful even unto death (Rev. 2:10). 

              Obeying the Gospel, the truth, and Jesus, according to Scriptures, means that we must believe that Jesus is the Christ (John 8:24), we must be willing to confess our faith in Christ (Matt. 10:32,33; Rom. 10:10), we must be willing to make a change of life, which is seen in repentance (Luke 13:3,5; Acts 17:30), and we must then be willing to be baptized (immersed) in water for the remission of our sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  At this point, the person is saved by the power of the Gospel, the blood of Christ washes away the sin and the Lord adds those to His church (Acts 2:47).

              In the Scriptures, we see several different responses of people who heard the Gospel preached.  In Acts 7, Stephen preached the Gospel of Christ and they stoned him to death, because they were angered at what was preached.  Likely, Stephen thought what the apostle Paul would later write, “Am I become your enemy because I tell you the truth” (Gal. 4:16).  In Luke 18:18-28, we find a man who had it all and had kept the Old Law faithfully, yet he lacked something. Christ told him what he should do, but he went away sad.  In Acts 2, the apostle Peter preached the Gospel of Christ with a multitude of people present, they were pricked in their hearts and asked “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”  Realizing they were lost, they were glad to hear this Gospel and the offering of salvation.

              How will you respond to the Gospel? Will those who preach the truth become your enemy or your best friend?  The difference in a religious person and a Christian is in obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Become a Christian today by obedience to His Gospel.