In my younger years, I remember asking people, “Are you a Christian?” Their response was always “yes”. Can you blame them? Of course their response would be yes! I live in the south, (also known as the “Bible belt”). For the vast majority of the culture, it's more unusual to claim a religion other than Christianity.
Nowadays, I've learned such a question is foolishness. Why? Christians are known by how they live. They don't have to tell people they are Christians. Their life speaks volumes already. They live as changed people who have been brought from death to life. No, they are not perfect, but they strive to glorify God by living in continual repentance.
So, how do you know a true Christian from just a church-going person? Based on Scripture, here are 3 ways to discern Christianity:
Repentant of sin (1 John 1:6 and 8-9).
Repenting is more than feeling sorry over sin, (2 Corinthians 7:10). Repentance is about continually turning away from sin.
Obey God's Word (1 John 2:3-4)
Christians will strive to keep God's commands because it's what he calls us to do, and it's what we desire to do.
Love Others (1 John 1:9)
Motivation to love others is fueled by God's unconditional love for us.
This week we will begin a five-week study on 1,2, and 3 John. If you can''t join us this week, then feel free to jump in at any time. We will be studying several verses from each chapter. Please download this week's reading guide here. Let's begin by taking a closer look at a verse we will be studying this week in 1 John.
“If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” 1 John 1:6, NIV
As you read this verse, consider the following questions:
What is the lie this verse is referring to?
What do you think it means to walk in darkness?
How might you be walking in darkness today?
If you'd like to know how to become a Christian, please visit this page.
Photo: Jacob Meyer