December 15, 2019
What does God expect of us once we become Christians?
The short answer is this: A whole lot!
Not long ago, I posted an article on my blog which was a very controversial subject. I knew it would get some arguments. And it did. A lot. I don’t have time to list all of them. but I do want to rebut one of them. And this argument was made to me by several readers of my blog,
The argument was that all we have to do to be a Christian is to believe in Christ-no repentance or changing of lifestyle-only believe.
James 2:19 says that even the demons believe in God and tremble. Are demons Christians since they believe? No reasonable-thinking person would believe that.
So where do people get the idea that all it takes to be a Christian is to believe? Before going further, let me say that that I agree – you have to believe to BECOME a Christian. But there’s a tremendous body of evidence throughout the New Testament, that Christ expects a lot more of us than just to believe.
Probably people think “only believing” comes from John 3, where Jesus is having a conversation with Nichodemus. Jesus indeed does tell Nichodemus that he must believe in Christ. But we don’t know what else Jesus told him. Surely that was not the whole conversation.
Then there’s the story of the woman caught in the very act of adultery in John 8:11. Jesus told her he would not condemn her (to death), but to go and SIN NO MORE. Surely Jesus said other things to her, too. Jesus stooped down twice and wrote something on the ground. Maybe about repentance? We don’t know.
One other example: the thief on the cross. The thief admitted his guilt, professed belief in God, and called Jesus “Lord”. Then the thief asked Jesus to remember him. Jesus said, “This day you shall be with me in paradise.” The thief said nothing about repentance, but the implication was there that he was sorry for his sins. Of course, in the thief’s life there was no time left to change his ways.
John the Baptist is written about in all four of the Gospels. John’s major message was repentance. He even refused to baptize some until they repented.
Jesus Himself said twice, just in one book (Luke 13 in verses 3 and 5), that if you don’t repent, you will perish.
Not everything concerning salvation, repentance, how to live, what to do and not do, could be written about. The last statement John wrote in his book that was that Jesus did so much, that if everything He did was recorded, that the world itself could not hold the books.
We have to work hard to be good Christians. Remember that word literally means Christ-like. Philippians 2:12 says we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
The Bible teaches that people will be known by the fruit they bear. There is a question about – can a fig tree produce apples, and can a steam of water produce at the same time sweet water and bitter water?
If one will read the whole Bible, it is very obvious that we are expected to do worthy deeds for Christ, NOT just believe. Read the list of Christian fruit we are supposed to produce in Galatians 5:22-26.
Everyone interested in this debate should read James chapter two. It says that faith without works is dead. Also that faith is completed with our works.
I don’t have time to write about everything we should do after repentance. Such as baptism, attending a church and not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, and many other things.
Please don’t accuse me of believing that good works alone will get you to heaven. I don’t believe that.
But I do believe it takes more than just believing.
I’ll close with a brief story about an athiest I was discussing God with. He said, I don’t believe in God.” I said, “Well, I do. And I try to live for Him and obey Him to the best of my ability. Suppose I‘m wrong, and there is no God. I’ve lost nothing. But suppose you’re wrong, and there is a God and you’ve done nothing for him? You lose your immortal soul and will go to hell.“
God Bless You,