Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Am I Really A Christian?

Michael McKinley has written a little book titled "Am I Really A Christian?" He blogs about it at 9Marks here. I think this is an important question not just for people who aren't sure of their standing with Christ, but also for Christians of all levels of maturity to occasionally go back to the basic question of "am I really a Christian"? After all, the Bible tells us to examine ourselves and test ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5) and to make our calling and election sure (Peter says we should be "eager" to make our calling and election sure - 2 Peter 1:10). JC Ryle (who is quoted frequently on this blog ... I find the man's insights and writings compelling; in my view, he rivals Spurgeon) asks "Are You Born Again?" So, let's examine ourselves:

Are you born again? This is one of life's most important questions. Jesus Christ said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

It is not enough to reply, "I belong to the church; I suppose I'm a Christian." Thousands of nominal Christians show none of the signs of being born again which the Scriptures have given us—many listed in the First Epistle of John.

First of all, John wrote: "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin" (I John 3:9). "Whosoever is born of God sinneth not" (5:18).

A person who has been born again, or regenerated, does not habitually commit sin. He no longer sins with his heart and will and whole inclination. There was probably a time when he did not think about whether his actions were sinful or not, and he did not always feel grieved after doing evil. There was no quarrel between him and sin; they were friends. But the true Christian hates sin, flees from it, fights against it, considers it his greatest plague, resents the burden of its presence, mourns when he falls under its influence, and longs to be completely delivered from it. Sin no longer pleases him, nor is it even a matter of indifference to him; it has become a horrible thing which he hates. However, he cannot eliminate its presence within him.

If he said that he had no sin, he would be lying (I John 1:8). But he can say that he hates sin and that the great desire of his soul is not to commit sin at all. He cannot prevent bad thoughts from entering his mind, or shortcomings, omissions, and defects from appealing in both his words and his actions. He knows that "in many things we offend all" (James 3:2). But he can truly say, in the sight of God, that these things cause him grief and sorrow and that his whole nature does not consent to them. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?

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