If you ever open a textbook or turn on the news, the word “Christianity” is pretty loosely applied. In the modern definition, it pretty much includes any religion that ever mentions Jesus Christ in any way ever. That includes LDS, Quakers, Catholics, Mennonites, etc.
The thing is, that doesn’t really make any sense. These aren’t just belief systems that have slight differences on small issues. They totally disagree with one another on all the fundamentals! It’s not possible that they can all be lumped into one religion.
So if you call yourself a Christian, how do you know you really are one?
We talked on the last post about how “Christian” means “little Christ.” The word came about because suddenly there were lots of people running around acting an awful lot like that Jesus fellow…
That means that for the Christian term to apply, we have to be truly believing and trying to follow the directions Jesus gave. Like what, you say? I’m so glad you asked…
First, we have to believe Him when He said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). Jesus is God and He told us He is God. He didn’t mean of the same mind or with the same purpose. The people He was talking to knew that He was claiming to be God. In John 10:33 (just a couple verses later), they tried to stone Him and said the reason was, “You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” If we claim to be a follower of Him, we have to believe Him at His word. He and God are one and the same. (For a little more about the Trinity, see this post.)
Second, we have to believe that He is the ONLY way to a right, perfect, complete relationship with God. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus also said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” then later explained how when He said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3)
Jesus explained that through His death, He made a way for us to have everlasting life and to see the Kingdom of God, to know God. He explained that faith in Him is the only way we can do that. He left no room for exceptions or additions.
These ideas are repeated by writers throughout the Bible. Over and over again, through the inspiration of God, these truths have been reinforced: Jesus is the eternal, all powerful, never-ending God, and He came to the world to sacrifice Himself so that we could really know Him as we were meant to. He is both God and our only salvation.
You can know without a doubt that you are a Christian, a follower of Christ, if you take Him at His word for this, if you put your whole faith and your whole self into His hands. Romans 10:9 says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Any different sort of explanation is simply not a Christian teaching. No matter what the history books say.
(BTW: We used the words of Jesus throughout this post to show that He Himself pointed out these truths, but there actually isn’t anything more special about the words of Jesus than the rest of the Bible. It was all written by the inspiration of God and, as we already pointed out, Jesus and God are one and the same. So read it all. Every last word.)