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Friday, February 11, 2011

The Only Way to Know How to Be a Christian Is to Be a Christian

Any person knows that he is not a Christian, must have a concept of what a Christian is or he wouldn’t know he wasn’t already a Christian. For example, how would a person know that he was poor if he had no concept of being rich? This knowledge of rich gives the realization of being poor. Knowing you are not a Christian means that you have a concept of what a Christian is. However, the concept may be inaccurate.

Most of our knowledge is borrowed. We do not learn from personal experience as much as from the experience of others. We believe Abraham Lincoln was the United States president during the American Civil War because we are told he was. We have no reason to believe otherwise and have accepted this as fact. It could be that generations of people have been fooled. It could be that there was a great conspiracy to hide the true president from danger during this war. It could be that Abraham Lincoln was merely one who stood in the danger so that the true president to could manage the war without fear of assassination.

Of course, I don’t believe this because I have trusted my teachers and many others to pass accurate information to me. Also, extant historical evidence proves that Lincoln was president. However, I am still relying on information given to me. I never talked with Lincoln and wouldn’t really trust any living person who told me that he had.

Therefore, a person who believes he is not a Christian has a picture of what he thinks a Christian is. That picture may or may not be valid. Those who call themselves Christians may not be Christians themselves and skew the picture of what a Christian is. Others who say they are Christians may act like Christians but present a gospel that does not agree with the Christianity of the Bible. Again, the one who believes he is not a Christian may have a misunderstanding of what a Christian is.

Nevertheless, the person has a picture, whether true or not, of what he believes a Christian is and/or how one becomes a Christian.

The most common reason that people reject Christianity is be their observation of Christians. They see a people who are sometimes worse than the people who do not call themselves Christians. They decide that they don’t want to be like these “Christians.” The would much rather wear their lack of faith than be part of a people whose faith wears on others.

Most Christians are oblivious to the people they turn off by the way they act. I am one of these. I am often a jerk who treats people in an ungraceful manner. I tell people I want them to become a Christian but I don’t want people to become like me. That is contrary to what Paul said. He told people to imitate him. Paul wasn’t afraid that his life would give an inaccurate picture of Christianity.

The only true understanding of what a Christian is can be attained by becoming one. I have heard people say that people ought to try being a Christian and see for themselves. The Bible won’t really support this. It says that once you can’t go back once you have become a Christian. Those who are able to return to their former way of living weren’t true believers in the first place. God holds onto His own.

So, there is no assured way that you will know what a Christian is without becoming one. You have to trust those who tell you to give your life to Christ and trust that He will make you into what a Christian is.
The reason we can’t really know is because we are not merely improved persons. Christians are not just the upgraded model of humanity. We are new creations. That is impossible to imagine or to know without the experience.
Acts 26:28-29 (NIV)
28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?" 29
Paul replied, "Short time or long--I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains."

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