Being a Christian

This was written in 2007 or 2008, as part of my college application process.  I hope I have grown as both a Christian and a writer since then, but this represents a stage in my development.    

What Being a Christian Means to Me

To me, being a Christian means living a transformed life.  Not a perfect life, but a life that reflects Christ more and more.  A life that daily requires crucifixion of my carnal nature.  A life that relies on the living God for strength from day from day.  A life that experiences the freedom that can be ours through the atoning work of the Messiah.

I know that as long as I am on this earth I have the ability to sin.  My sin nature will keep tugging at me, trying to get me to slide back into sin.  And I haven’t always experienced the freedom in Christ that I could have.  I know what it’s like to be trapped in sin.  I am fully aware that on my own I am no match for the devil.  I have tried to face temptation with my own strength and it’s basically a suicide mission.  I have yielded to Satan much ground in a particular area.  And although the struggle continues, through the grace of God I want to continue reclaiming that ground and living victoriously over sin.

To me, being a Christian includes membership in a local body of believers.  I believe that membership, or at least regular attendance, at a Biblical church is essential to spiritual growth.  Churches provide opportunities to serve, spiritual instruction and encouragement, and godly counsel.

To me, being a Christian includes living a life that is consistent with Biblical commands.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, that we were bought with a price, and that we ought to glorify God in our bodies.  With those verses in mind, I believe that the use of alcohol, tobacco, etc.  has no place in the life of a Christian.

To me, being a Christian also includes abstaining from anything that pollutes the mind.  We cannot be transformed by God unless our minds are renewed.

To me, being a Christian includes seriously considering what God’s will for my life is.  Whatever my career, my goal should be to live a life of service to others, following the example of Jesus, who did not come to be served, but rather to serve.

To me, being a Christian includes fulfilling the Great Commission in my everyday life by seeking to share the Gospel with the people I come into contact with.  I am a member of the Pocket Testament League and receive Gospels of John to hand out.  I believe that God desires for us to have a Great Commission mindset- being prepared at any time to share the Good News with anyone.

To me, being a Christian includes spending time in prayer and Bible study.  I believe that God can speak to us through His Word if we are quiet before Him and I feel it is important for Christians to hear from God in that way.

To me, being a Christian includes living in submission to the authorities God has placed over me. I am to obey authorities in every instance expect when doing so would require me to contradict God’s Word.

In conclusion, as a Christian I recognize that I am saved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  My relationship with Him should always be my first priority, and I should be constantly seeking to grow in my walk with the Master.

 

Two Lawyers Convinced

As told by R.A. Torrey

In the great triumph of Deism in England, two of the most brilliant men in the denial of the supernatural were the eminent legal authorities, Gilbert West and Lord Lyttleton. The two men were put forward to crush the defenders of the supernatural in the Bible. They had a conference together and one of them said to the other that it would be difficult to maintain their position unless they disposed of two of the alleged bulwarks of Christianity, namely the alleged resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and the alleged conversion of Saul of Tarsus.

Lyttleton undertook to write a book to show that Saul of Tarsus was never converted, as is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, but that his alleged conversion was a myth, if Gilbert West would write another book to show that the alleged resurrection of Christ from the dead was a myth.

West said to Lyttleton, “I shall have to depend upon you for my facts, for I am somewhat rusty on the Bible.” To which Lyttleton replied that he was counting upon West, for he too was somewhat rusty on the Bible. One of them said to the other, “If we are to be honest in the matter, we ought at least to study the evidence,” and this they undertook to do.

They had numerous conferences together while they were preparing their works. In one of these conferences West said to Lyttleton that there had been something on his mind for some time that he thought he ought to speak to him about, that as he had been studying the evidence, he was beginning to feel that there was something in it. Lyttleton replied that he was glad to hear him say so, for he himself had been somewhat shaken as he had studied the evidence of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus.

Finally, when the books were finished, the two men met. West said to Lyttleton, “Have you written your book?” He replied that he had, but he said, “West, as I have been studying the evidence and weighing it according to the recognized laws of legal evidence, I have become satisfied that Saul of Tarsus was converted as is stated in the Acts of the Apostles, and that Christianity is true and I have written my book on that side.” The book can be found to-day in any first-class library.

“Have you written your book?” said Lyttleton. “Yes, but as I have studied the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and have weighed it according to the acknowledged laws of evidence, I have become satisfied that Jesus really rose from the dead as recorded in the gospels, and have written my book on that side.” This book can also be found in our libraries to-day.

Let any man of legal mind, any man that is accustomed to and competent to weigh evidence—yes, any man with fair reasoning powers, and above all with perfect candour, sit down to the study of the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and he will become satisfied that beyond a peradventure that Jesus really rose from the dead as is recorded in the four gospels.

The Nature of Repentance

It was a rainy Saturday evening in Chattanooga, Tennessee.    I was a college student at the time, and a friend and I were driving around the unfamiliar city.  We were traveling down a hill toward an intersection and the light turned red.  I slammed on the brakes, and because of the conditions my truck spun around.  When we came to rest we were facing the opposite direction.  We had made a 180-degree change of direction.

I think that is an illustration of the Biblical idea of repentance.  Some people seem to do a 360-degree form of repentance.  They spin around completely and then proceed in the same direction.  But repentance is to be a change of direction.  A person who has truly repented will move a different direction than they had previously.

Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8, ESV)

The Gospel

The word “Gospel” comes from the Greek word for “good news” and is a term that is used to refer to the message of Christianity.

The Gospel in a nutshell is that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners (a concept that comes from 1 Timothy 1:15).  An accurate presentation of the Gospel must include the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.  In His life, Jesus taught His disciples in both word and deed (Mark 10:1; 1 Peter 2:21); in His death, He was the once-for-all sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 9:28); in His resurrection, He defeated the power of sin and Satan (1 Corinthians 15:17); in His ascension, He sat down at the right hand of God where He now intercedes for us (Romans 8:34).

All four of those points are essential to understanding the work that Jesus performed in making salvation available to sinners.