I have been thinking about what it means to be a Christian a lot over the last few months. And of course as a person who attends a bible believing church, I have talked with lots of people who call themselves Christians. But what is a christian? The bible tells us the term originated in the city of Antioch as a title for those who were students/followers of Chrsit, “and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). So it is fair to say that all of those who follow the teachings of Jesus could rightly be called “christians.” The bigger question then in my mind is do all christians, or disciples of Jesus go to heaven. In other words does identifying oneself as a Christian and doing christian things make one a Christian.

I believe that the biblical evidence supports the position that it is possible to think oneself to be a christian when one is not really for the following reasons:

  1. Some Professors are rejected by Christ. Matthew 7:21-23 describes a person who claims to be a follower (i.e. claiming Jesus as Lord), but Christ will tell him to depart from Him.
  2. The Profession of faith cannot be the basis of salvation. If the profession of faith is the basis for salvation than salvation is no longer of grace, but is the result of a work…namely that of claiming or professing faith. Ephesians 2:8 tells us that even faith must be given to us by the grace of God. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
  3. Profession (or faith) is never listed as the basis of assurance. The bible gives to basic basis for assurance to the believer. First and foremost, “We exult in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:2). The foundation upon which all hope must rest is the character of the one who saves. It is the assurance that comes from knowing that God is true to his promises (Heb. 6:9-20). The other main basis of assurance is “proven character” (Rom. 5:4). Read 1 John sometime and you should notice that the primary basis for assurance is how you live. James told us that “faith without works is dead” (Jam. 2:26). Now to make clear I am not ascerting that a person needs to do works to be saved, but that if you do not see fruit (Gal. 5:22-23) in your life and if your live is not being conformed into the image of the Son, you should probably question whether your faith is genuine.

All that to say that I would encourage everyone to check themselves for a pulse. Are you being conformed into the image of Christ? Or are you continuing to reflect image of the devil? Are you a child of God? Or a child of the devil?