Well, that was an interesting and though provoking article, wasn’t it?
I’m going to keep this one a little bit shorter; but I have another two parts for you guys- first part covering who are Christians, and second part covering eternal security- and how it has a place in the letter (might as well been, being 6000 or so words long with comments) I wrote three or four days ago.
The premise within this is interesting to say the least, let the last thing I wrote be a warning to the ‘heartless’ Christians, the ones who believe they are ‘saved’, but are not. For, if you read the scriptures, there were many people used at various times; even The Holy Spirit making one of the leaders of The Pharisee be inspired to say something seemingly wise; which eventually led to Jesus’ death (those words gave them a reason and excuse to try to right the wrongs they were doing in their very minds, for example). If you want me to point to some Biblical characters (such as Saul, for example) to back up my claims, then drop me a comment and I shall get back to you with some Bible verses and passages!
To begin with, I am going to start with The Parable of the Sower (which I talked about a few articles ago, link to be found here shortly!). This is probably the easiest way to explain what a Christian really is.
Take it away, Jesus:
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
10The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
14In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Out of those 4 scenarios, which one is the survivor? In every scenario except for the fourth (Jesus was wise enough to only summarize 4 for all the peoples of the World praise God, or we would be here all day!), the seed of the Gospel perishes. Link that with some basic thought processes and common sense, it means there are four ways a man, woman or child can receive the Gospel; and only one leads to eternal life. There are some who reject it outright, that is the obvious one out of the three rejections here. Following that, there is one who accepts is briefly: yet fall away/ apostate as they never really accepted it in-depth and in truth in the first place. The third one is those who believe and carry on to live their old lives; thus killing what little faith they hold unto in the first place. These people aren’t backsliders, they never really got it in the first place! They take it as more of a religious stance; instead of a faith built relationship stance. They don’t know any better because they think they will get to Heaven anyway; they might as well drink away and be merry now, or go keep sleeping around and never actually follow’s God’s words at all! As you can see from the Bible, the proof of the pudding of a Christian believer is its fruit,
A Tree and Its Fruit
43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
Now, if you put these two verses together, then you get yourselves a clear picture of what a Biblical Christian truly is. It is not one who apostates (lets go) of The Church, nor is it one who accepts the faith; yet still live their very lives as the most important thing still (as Jesus says it, “producing no fruit,”). “Each tree is recognized by its own fruit,” so how do we tell apart the false and true believer then? “People do not pick figs from thronbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart,” So, from what we can see here, the true believe will always produce good fruits; there will be something which seems righteous about them without really trying, there’ll be a noticeable difference between them and everybody else. For surely it is not a command, but a proof!
Let us carry on, then. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built,”. This is a very interesting read- let us talk through this parable one half at a time. Jesus is saying that true followers will have,
- A depth to them “who dug deep and laid the foundation on rock”
- Obedience within their very lives “for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like”
- Perseverance “When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built”
So true Christian believers can’t ever seem to let go of what they believe, they will have a great feeling of depth to them (from the outer eye) AND they will seem to be obedient (on the most part) to God’s commands and ways. We don’t have to do the good works to be saved, yet they will be obvious and apparent as a proof of salvation.
Now, let us look to the other side of the story. “But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete”. So, the false believer is the complete opposite. If they “hear [Jesus’] words and [do] not put them into practice,”, they are “like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation,”. They have no foundation, for they are not saved in the first place! In later parts of the Gospel, Peter is described as a “rock,” by Jesus almost as a nickname (His name is Simon, not Peter; Peter is his nickname, which means “rock,”). This is no coincidence of course; as this verse surely shows,
15“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.”
Notice that in verse 18, Jesus explains that on Peter he will build the church; it is basically a prophecy from God himself! If you read on into Acts, you notice this to be true: Peter starts the cogs of the Church whirring, Paul only comes onto the scene later on; and then all they seem to do is work together in many situations! Peter was the one who God revealed Gentiles (non Jews for the people who don’t know) could be saved too- so it seems most of the main focal points of the early Church was started through Peter “The Rock”! It is no coincidence then that Jesus calls himself the cornerstone; quoting the Isaiah prophecy word for word,
13“Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’
14 “But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 15So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
“What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”
When the people heard this, they said, “God forbid!”
17Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written:
“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”
(note: The quote came from Psalm 118:22).
Now, lets look at two definitions of the word ‘Cornerstone’: 1. a stone representing the starting place in the construction of a monumental building, 2. the chief foundation on which something is constructed or developed.
So Jesus is claiming he will start the monumental foundations of something we know as Christians or as The Church, the ones that ‘follow Christ’. Now, finally coming to land here, we can link all of this to the parables above: the ones without the foundation don’t even have Christ! They may claim to have him, but they do not have him at all.
And here is the clincher- so what is a Christian of the Biblical sense then? It is a Christ-fearing and believing person, who HAS FRUITS (or works) AS PROOF OF THIS. The ‘good fruits’ are proof of the pudding, proof of the Christhood, proof of the Christianity itself. If someone claims to be recently ‘saved’ and then goes back to what they did before (scenario 3), they were never ‘saved’ in the first place. If someone claims to be recently ‘saved’ and then falls away over a period of time (their flourishing seed dies), then they were never ‘saved’ in the first place- for you can’t lose your salvation! And, if they never accepted the Gospel in the first place; well, you get the drift here!
Now that I have defined what a genuine and true Biblical Christian is, I shall go on to talk about ‘eternal security‘ the doctrine preached by Paul in which if you are truly ‘saved’, then you can never ever lose salvation for all of eternity.
- ‘Lord! Lord! Why have you forsaken me!’ (onwardswearychristian.wordpress.com)
- Quiet Walk Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com (thechristiangazette.wordpress.com)
- Working Hard, or Hardly Working? (onwardswearychristian.wordpress.com)
- What is the Church? Part 1: How do we define ‘Church’? (onwardswearychristian.wordpress.com)