That’s very important – to be attentive to the Word of God. It is capable of resurrecting us from the death, of changing our life. It is a light. It is our food. It is nutrition for our spirit. I understood that there are real things in the life and there are counterfeit ones. The real and false things we meet in all spheres of our life. There is real money and counterfeit money, or real and false medicines. Some industrial companies produce good, quality products, but there are also some companies, which produce defective articles, but present them as if they are of good quality. The most offensive issue in this case is an intention of counterfeit things to be similar to real ones; they present themselves as though they are authentic.
Of course, it is possible in any city to buy a good copy of any famous artist’s picture for some hundreds of grivnas, while the estimated cost of its original is in the millions of US dollars. It is quite a common “normal” thing. This phenomenon becomes abnormal, when it begins to spread within Christianity. Let’s read one more time the verse from the first Epistle of Apostle John:
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
1 John 3:1
Pay attention to the phrases: “we should be called” and “that is what we are”. The concepts “to be called” and “to be” are completely different. There are many persons in Christianity, who call themselves “Christians”. The majority of Ukrainians call themselves “Christians”. In our country almost every person will say: “I’m a Christian because I have a cross on my neck, I’m a Christian because I was baptized in my infancy”, etc. These things are all good, but are they the criteria of a real Christian?
There are four criteria, which will help us to understand if we are real Christians or not.
The life of a Christian must have been radically changed. And if the person’s life has not experienced any change, he/she cannot be considered a real Christian. Yes, this person can be called a Christian, but he/she cannot be a Christian in essence.
Many people go by the broad road. It means that a person declares to know the truth by his understanding and figures out for himself what he has to do. It path where there is no responsibility or duty, but there are only rights. It is a way without any goal. And it is a life outside of Christ.
We can see a lot of changes realized through biblical anti-heroes in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament. Such persons are Paul, Peter, Abraham, David, and others. Their lives are divided into two parts: before repentance, and after repentance. God gave us a narrow road leading to life. It is a narrow road. It is a road where a person is being reshaped. It is a road that does not destruct, but builds. An indicator of a real Christian is the changed life. And I can’t call a r a person who considers himself to be a believer while he continues to smoke and drink, a real Christian, yet in his life nothing is changing.
It is written:
“…anyone who is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
2 Corinthians 5:17
Draw a line! Burn all bridges that connected you with sins, with persons who seduce you. Draw a line through all these things and begin a new life. The old has gone and the new has come: new world view, new values, new view of wife and children, etc.
Church. Our church is like an army, and it’s like a family too. There are not to be either bad or good persons in the family. It cannot be that the one is accepted, and the other is not. Anybody is welcome here. Otherwise, it would be equal to saying that one can be a real Christian only by becoming a church member.
“So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch”.
But what does belonging to a church mean? It means regularly attending church. A true believer must have a pastor. He has to serve in the church as well. Serving is a part of belonging. The Word of God says:
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms”.
1 Peter 4:10
The phrase “each one” is principal here. Each one serves with a talent he has. We have to serve in a certain sphere of activity, and by this we show that the church is our house. Tithes and offerings also demonstrate our belonging to the church. And we endeavor to adhere to the church’s code of conduct; and strive to help achieve the goals and objective of church.
Written by Vitaliy Snezhik
Edited by Kizito Leacock