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So, again, are you a Christian? If you answered yes, then how do you know that you are a Christian and how did you become a Christian? It is one thing to try to live a Christian life, or behave like a Christian; it is another thing to become a Christian. No one has ever become a Christian by trying to live a Christian life. Every Christian should be able to say, “The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” But he must first take the step that makes him a Christian before he can begin to live the life, or allow The LORD Jesus Christ, to live His life in him.
Every Christian should be a workman for God; but no one can be a workman for God until that one is first the workmanship of God. We must be worked upon by God before God will permit us to work for Him. We can work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, because it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of His own good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 .
There are not many ways to become a Christian; there is just one way. A sinner may become a Christian in one day, in one hour, yea in a very few moments. Before the individual takes the final and decisive step that causes him to become a Christian, there may have been many influences and contributing causes, such as the prayers of God’s people, some good sermons, Bible readings, Church attendance, serious and thoughtful meditation; but becoming a Christian is as definite an act as becoming a husband or wife.
Because of the confusion of this day when many people do not know the difference between a sentimental religion and eternal life, let us put the question in different words:
“Have you received from God the gift of eternal life through The LORD Jesus Christ?”
“Have you been born from above?”
“Are you saved?”
“Are you a child of God?”
“Are you a saint?”
“Is your name written in Heaven?”
“If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature.” Are YOU?
Some time ago I received an e-mail from a lady who was very much concerned about her relation to God. There was much doubt in her mind and more distress in her soul. I wrote, “Are you a Christian?” She wrote back, “Well, I’m a member of the Presbyterian Church, and have been for some years; but I’m no saint.” I wrote again, “Lady, if you are not a saint, then you are a poor lost sinner.” “But,” she wrote, “I’m trying hard to live a Christian life; what else can I do?” I wrote to her, “You can never become a Christian by trying to do. You can be saved only by trusting in something that some One else has done.” “Perhaps,” I wrote, “you are a saint, and do not know it, but if you are, it is not because of anything or everything you have ever done, or ever will do; it is because you are a sinner saved by the grace of God on the basis of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the sinner’s Saviour; because of the value of His work on Calvary’s cross.”
It seems at times an impossible task to make people understand that sinners become Christians or saints not by working; but by believing. The Bible very clearly teaches that Christianity is both a creed and a life; that the creed must not only precede the life, but the life is ever because of the creed. Multitudes are deceived by the religious leaders of this day who tell their deluded followers that it makes very little difference what they believe; the thing that counts with God is what they do. But remember Christ said, “If ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins.” John 8:24 . “With the heart, man believeth unto righteousness.” Romans 10:10 . “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Acts 16:31 . Never can a man become a Christian except by believing the Record that God hath given concerning His Son. Every sinner must believe the same thing in order to become a Christian.
Let us carefully examine these words:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; It is the gift of God; Not of works lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 .
“By Grace” suggests that the sinner does not receive what he deserves when he receives from God the gift of eternal life or salvation.
“Through Faith” means that God gives the salvation to believers.
“Not of yourselves” teaches very clearly that salvation is not of yourself. No sinner has any inherent righteousness to offer to God, and no flesh can ever glory in God’s presence. Man is by nature everything that he ought not to be and cannot please God. Therefore, “They that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:8 . Nothing good in the flesh. Romans 7:18 .
“The gift of God” means exactly what it says, God gives life to the sinner on the condition that the sinner will receive it as a FREE gift. If the sinner in any way earns it, or helps to pay for it, it is not a gift.
“Not of works” means that no sinner was ever saved by God by doing good deeds or living a good religious life, or by anything he did or could do for Him. No man is good enough to be saved apart from the grace of God. But thank God! No man is so bad that God’s grace is not sufficient for his salvation. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”
To be sure, all saved people should be faithful in their service for God. But no one was ever saved by serving God. God’s children are called into a Holy calling, a High calling. They are called to Salvation, Separation and Service—and in the order mentioned, not saved by serving, but saved to serve.
It requires the same grace of God to save the self‑righteous, religious Church‑member and the murderer ready from the Lethal Injection. There are some of the former class who profess to be disciples of Jesus because they are trying to live up to His moral philosophy. They speak in very complimentary terms concerning the Master, They have been to Seminary, and they are Pastors, Ministers, and Preachers. But they have NEVER been saved, because they have never believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, as their Sinbearer. They refuse to confess themselves as ruined sinners apart from the grace of God. They are unwilling to say with Peter, “Depart from me for I am a sinful man,” or with the publican, “God be merciful unto me, a sinner.”
It is one thing to be moral and religious; it is an entirely different thing to be spiritual and righteous. Remember! “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” “Christ died for our sins.” “He appeared once in the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Hebrews 9:26 .
To be saved is to be saved by a Saviour, by The Saviour, The LORD Jesus Christ. “Neither is there salvation in any other . . .” Acts 4:12 . The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Can you truthfully say with assurance and certainty, “Christ is my Saviour”; “Christ liveth in me?”
The manhood of The LORD Jesus Christ the Righteous, with His moral philosophy, is an ideal to which no human being has ever attained. If we have to live like Christ, lived before God will accept us, we certainly are without hope. There is no good news in such a proposition. There are thousands and hundreds of thousands who are singing the song of redemption; because Jesus Christ, died for the ungodly. Sinners are redeemed by the precious shed blood of this Lamb without spot or blemish. “Who Himself bare our sins in His own body on the tree.” “Jesus, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood suffered without the gate.” Hebrews 13:12
So, we see it is because Christ died on Calvary’s cross that believing sinners are sanctified. “We are sanctified through the offering of the body of the LORD Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:10 . Every believer thus sanctified immediately becomes a saint; for a saint is one who has been Justified, and is now being Sanctified, through the offering of Christ on the cross. There is a very definite once‑for‑all sanctifying when the Holy Spirit first applies the precious blood of Christ to his sinful soul. Hebrews 10:10-14 .
The same Holy Spirit who makes us saints of God by applying the precious blood of the slain Lamb, at the same time makes us children of God by Faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26 . He likewise enables us to walk as becometh saints after we are saved. “But as many as received Him to them gave He the right to become the sons of God.” John 1:12 .
God’s message of grace to the sinner is also stated in these words. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9 . Thus we learn that the sinner must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, must believe that God hath raised Him from the dead, must receive Him, and confess Him, in order to be saved. With this salvation comes the new creation, at which time the believer is called, “a new‑born babe,” and is instructed to desire the sincere milk of the Word that he may grow thereby. 1 Peter 2:2 . Every new‑born babe should grow; but he must be born before he can grow. “God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Ephesians 2:9-10 .
“Happy is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Romans 4:8 . If you are a sinner and saved by grace, you are the happy man spoken of. If your sins have been charged to Christ, God will not charge them to you. You are a free man, because a most worthy Substitute took your place and bare your sins in His own body on the tree. Your standing before God is perfect, if you are in Christ Jesus. And, Before God can find fault with your standing, He would have to find fault with His Son, and this is impossible. You are accepted in the Beloved. You are complete in Him. Your state is far from perfect and while it is your duty to so live that you can say with Paul, “I am what I am by the grace of God,” and also, “His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain,” (1 Corinthians 15:10 ), yet you are not saved because of the life you live. You live because you are saved.
God is not only a just and righteous God, but He is a longsuffering and gracious Saviour, not willing that any should perish. He is an Almighty God, “the God of all grace,” eagerly waiting to bestow His grace upon any one who with true sorrow for sin and a sincere desire for salvation, believing that Jesus Christ was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification, will surrender to Him as Saviour. This is the step necessary to become a Christian. Read in 1 Timothy 2:4 to 7 that God will have all men to be saved and how. Now, if you are sure that you have taken this necessary step, here is the good news for you, “By Him all that believe are justified from all things.” Acts 13:39 .
Do you believe? Do you BELIEVE "...that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures"? (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 ). If you do, you are justified, redeemed, saved and sanctified. You are a child of God. Remember you are not saved because you feel like it; not because you understand the plan of salvation; not by reason. But because you believe. How foolish to depend upon feelings for salvation! The essential is Faith in God’s infallible Word. God cannot lie. Nothing more delights the heart of God than to forgive the sinner who will accept His Divine terms.
Hear this wonderful message, “Christ once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” I beg you, whoever you are, believe this; and God, for Christ’s sake, will forgive you freely and fully. Ephesians 4:32 ; Colossians 2:13 .
And remember this...The same Saviour who saved you when you were a sinner can and will surely keep you now that you are a saint. Now your question is not, “What must I do to be saved?”; but “Now that I am saved, what must I do?”
In Ephesians 1:13 the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul declares that men are saved and sealed by hearing and BELIEVING the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation. Therefore, here, now, is declared unto you the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation: "that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 . BELIEVE today. The time is short.
So There You Have it!
Spread this message to everyone you know, far and wide.
Grace be to you and peace, from God: our Father, and The LORD Jesus Christ.
In The LORD Jesus Christ,
The Lion and Lamb Ministry
Pastor David Picos, D.D.
Minister and Ambassador for Christ in the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20 )