October 24, 2017

What It Means To Be A Christian

By Evelyn Dahlquist

Without the truth of God, it is impossible to be a Christian (John 8:32).

It means more than simply believing. To be sure one must be a believer (Heb. 11:6; Mark 16:16), but he must have a faith that works by love (Gal. 5:6).

It means submission, obedience, conformity to the will of God and Christ in every relationship in life, in all manner of living (1 Pet. 1:13-16; Jas. 1:22-27).

It certainly includes being a member of the body of Christ  the church  but it includes more than just church membership. One cannot be a Christian, a saved individual, without being a member of the church. God adds the saved to the church (Acts 2:47; Eph. 5:23).

What was the most outstanding trait found in the life of the Savior? It was serving others. Christianity is obeying Jesus and serving others. "Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another" (1 Pet. 5:5); ". . . but through love be servants one to another" (Gal. 5:13). These teachings are sufficient to enable us to see what God requires of Christians. If we are to be pleasing to God and great in his sight, we must subdue self and render service to others, both friend and foe.

Men think greatness is obtained in some other ways, but it is not so. It doesn't make any difference what man thinks, because in the final analysis, it will be between God and you. God is the one we'll answer to and no other. There-fore, we should desire God's approval in all things.

Happiness comes through giving. Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). A person who does not believe this does not believe the Lord.

Giving means more than money. There are more people in need of other things than money. Counsel, encouragement, good cheer, sharing of burdens, and guidance are needed by those around you (Gal. 5:1-2; John 16:33).

"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2), is the best guarantee for happiness in this world.

The life of a Christian in the home brings unity. The secret of unity is "thinking alike." Paul said, "Let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same things" (Phil. 3:16).

The life of a Christian in the home brings happiness. To be happy one must be content. "Godliness with contentment is great gain . . . be content with such things as you have" (1 Tim. 6:6; Heb. 13:5-6).

The life of a Christian brings love. Every Christian will imitate God. "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children"(Eph. 5:1). And, "God is love" (1 John 4:8, 16).

The life of a Christian gains respect in the business world. It has always been so. Those who are dishonest, respect those who are honest; those who are deceitful, respect those who deceive not. "There is no respect among thieves, but thieves do respect the righteous."

The life of a Christian gains admiration. All admire one who will stand for that which is accepted by God. Those who yield to the pleasures of sin, admire those who fight against these pleasures.

The life of a Christian gains confidence. Honesty is the one great characteristic that will gain the confidence of others. The believer's life is a constant training in "honesty."

The life of a Christian in society gains honest and sincere friends. A Christian will always take heed to Paul's teachings found in 1 Corinthians 15:33: "Evil companionships corrupt good morals."

The life of a Christian gives hope to others. A faithful Christian in society is a light in darkness. Christianity gives to society a "hope of a better life" here and in the hereafter.

The life of a Christian shows the purpose of this life: to serve the Creator; to love one another; to help those who are in need; and to cast a light of hope into the darkness of this present generation.

In the conclusion of this lesson, it could be all summed up as this: If you and I would put God first (Matt. 6:33), there would be less need for debating who is the "church of God," when we shall have become more loving, more unselfish, more humble, more faithful, and purer; when we shall have become enough like Christ to cause men to say (even our enemies), "These people have been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13).

It is not that the truth of Christ is difficult to teach. It is not that the truths which make one a Christian are difficult to learn. But the world's indifference to God is so compounded when men and women cannot see Jesus in us who are Christians. To know me better ought to remind people more of Jesus, and will do so, if he is in me. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).

Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 12, p. 20
June 16, 1994

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