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What Makes a Christian?

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It is not enough to be exposed to the truth. You also need to act on it.

And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. (2 Corinthians 11:26)

I once went to a children’s ministry event at our church dressed up as Noah. No one knew it was me, which made the whole experience a lot of fun. I was pretending to be someone I really was not. I was playing a little game, actually.

There are people today who do the same thing with the Christian faith. They pretend to be something they really are not.

So how do we know whether someone is a Christian? “It comes down to what they believe,” we might say. There is truth to that, but that is not all there is to it. You can believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He is the only way to God, and that He is coming back again and still not necessarily be a Christian. Now, if you are a Christian, you will believe what I just stated. But just because you believe that in and of itself doesn’t necessarily make you a Christian.

We may say, “Well, a Christian is judged by the way he or she behaves.” But that is not necessarily true. You can pray, keep the Ten Commandments to the best of your ability, attend church regularly, and even be baptized and not necessarily be a Christian. Those things should be a part of your life if you are a Christian. But those things, in and of themselves, don’t make you a Christian.

It is not enough to be exposed to the truth. You also need to act on it. You need to make a choice. It means recognizing that you have sinned (see Romans 3:23), turning away from your sins, and trusting in and receiving Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and Savior. That is what makes you a Christian.

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