indice de estudios ARE YOU SURE YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN?  

(Bobby K. Thompson)

It is the will of God that all accountable human beings living in this age become Christians. When one fails to be a Christian, he fails to be what God desires for him to be. “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch .” (Acts 11:26). In a congregation in Antioch , which was composed of both Jews and Gentiles, the prophecy of Isaiah 62:2 began to be fulfilled, “And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.” The name was not given in derision or mockery. It was a new name, “which the mouth of the Lord shall name.” King Agrippa heard Paul declare the glorious gospel and knew what he should be. His response was, “Almost, thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” (Acts 26:28).

By preaching the gospel of Christ, men endeavor to persuade men to become Christians. The third and last time we meet the word in the scriptures is in I Peter 4:16. “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” When one suffers for being a Christian, he glorifies God and should never be ashamed to do so. It is a wonderful privilege and blessing to be a Christian. No greater honor is bestowed upon a person in this life than the honor of becoming a Christian. We should never overlook this, and continually thank God for making it possible for us to be Christians. But, are we sure that we are Christians?

The scriptures do not speak of people hoping that they were Christians. They were told what to do and in so doing given the assurance that they had become children of God or Christians. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (I John 3:2). “The Spirit itself (Himself NKJV) beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ;” (Romans 8:16-17). There is must deception in the world. We can be deceived by thinking we are Christians, when we have not complied with the will of God. We need to heed the words of Peter, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” (II Peter 1:10). He spoke of making things sure, and we need to dwell upon being sure that we are Christians.

It is possible for one to be religious and not be a Christian. The Jews, who were assembled for the Passover in Jerusalem , as recorded in Acts 2, were obviously religious. “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.” (Acts 2:5). Not only could they to be designated as religious, they were devout in what they believed. The word “Christian”, and what constituted becoming one, had not been preached at this time. When Paul was in Athens , he “stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said Ye men of Athens , I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitions.” (Acts 17:22).

The Athenians religiously worshipped their idols, but they were far from being Christians. Another version said of them, “I perceive that in every way you are very religious.” (ESV) A Christian is a religious person, but a person may be religious and not be a Christian. This is very definitely taught with numerous examples in the scriptures.

It is possible for one to be a good man and not be a Christian. Cornelius is an example of this. “There was a certain man in Caesaea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.” (Acts 10:2). Furthermore, his servants said of him, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews” (Acts 10:22).

While possessing these outstanding characteristics and engaging in these good works, he was told by an angel to send for Peter, “he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.” (Acts 10:6). He needed to hear the gospel and to know about Jesus Christ. When Peter came to Caesarea where Cornelius was, he preached faith in Christ, “And commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” (Acts 10:48). Christians are to be good men, but one can be a good man and not be a Christian. A Christian has put on Christ by being obedient to the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 3:26-27).

It is possible for one to be a believer in Christ and not be a Christian. “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.” (Acts 26:27). Agrippa replied by saying, “Almost thou persuadest me, to be a Christian.” (Acts 26:28). He knew that becoming a Christian involved more than just believing. One must certainly believe in Christ to become a Christian, but one can believe in Christ and not obey Him to become a Christian. “Thou believest that there is one God; thou does well: the devils also believe, and tremble, But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:19-20). Devils are mentioned in the gospels as believing, but certainly they were not obedient believers as Christians must be.