What Does it Mean to be “Saved”?
What does it mean to be a Christian?
A Christian is one who has realized they are sinful and in need of a Savior, and has received Jesus Christ, the Son of God, into their heart. That is how a Christian is “born again”. After being born again the process of growing in relationship with Christ begins. This “milk of the Word” is the food, and time has to be spent taking it in. It is important to grow in relationship with others in the body of Christ also. It is so important to grow, but also to be on guard against an ugly thing called religion.
Wait, you didn’t think that religion was an ugly thing? Well, consider what Jesus himself had to say about the religious leaders of His day. In Matthew 23, He was talking to the people about the scribes and Pharisees, and He said, “Do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men,” Matthew 23: 2-5. Now that is a pretty scathing description of religion. Jesus told the people, in verses 11-12, “But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled and whoever humbles himself shell be exalted. “ In verse 27, he called them “whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. In verse 28 “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Not to mention, these are the very ones who crucified Jesus.
That’s enough to say religion is not a good thing. Relationship with Jesus, being filled with His Spirit, that is what being a Christian is all about. “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” Romans 8:4. It is so easy to take what we think is right, and hold it up as a measuring stick to see if others are good Christians, or Christians at all. This causes more injury in the body of Christ than anything else. People feel judged, and they often are, when they don’t measure up to someone else’s standard. They may leave a church, or if the offense has been bad enough, they may leave Christ. At best they become confused about what it means to be a Christian.
The Word of God says,”
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on
a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a
complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should
you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of
unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed
you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ
richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one
another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with
thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do
all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the
Father.” Colossians 3:12-17. “ Whatever you do”, each one of us lives
before Christ. “Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks
through Him to God the Father.”
It was worth repeating.
A Christian should live in close relationship to the Lord and His Word, and trust that God is able to finish what He has started. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” Philippians 1:6. Of course there are times when we, or others around us may need encouragement, but encouragement should be just that. We should pray, believing in the power of prayer. When we try to make someone else change their ways to do what we want, by manipulation, or condemnation, it is just plain wrong; we are usurping control. In effect we are not trusting the Hoy Spirit to move in the lives of the ones we are concerned about. That isn’t what any of us were called to do. We have to remember we have been called to be Christians, those who follow Christ, and live in relationship with Him while we allow others to do the same thing.
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