Tests of a Christian, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 1, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week I wrote about four tests of what makes a Christian found in 1 John. This week, I will hit five others found in the same letter. If you are not sure if you are a Christian, look at these tests. There is no set “passing score” for these tests, but they are tests to be taken between you and God regarding your overall lifestyle.

The fifth test is in 1 John 3:4. Those who love Christ and are of Christ will keep his commandments. Those who sin are committing lawlessness. This is something Jesus said from the get go. You cannot love Jesus and not keep his commandments. His commandments are not easy to carry out in the sinful flesh because sin hates the things of God. Yet the burden God actually places upon the Christian is light and easy for those who submit to it.

So many people find the commands of Christ to be difficult, but that is because they fight them, preferring to do things their own way. The commands of Christ are not burdensome. Your fulfillment of them does not dictate whether you are pleasing to God or not. Yet, that is no excuse to not follow them. Our love of Christ will be reflected by our obedience to him. And Christ seeks to have a pure and spotless Bride. He requires obedience so that sin may be removed and we become more and more like himself. But the secret to following his commandments is not in doing them, but in surrendering ourselves to Christ so he can follow his own commandments in and through us.

The sixth test is in 1 John 3:6. Those who abide in Christ will not sin. Those who sin do not know Christ. Again, John is talking about a lifestyle rather than individual actions. A Christian is not a sinner. Many people may be crying “blasphemy” or wonder why I said last week that if we say we are without sin we deceive ourselves. However, the statement is true. A Christian is not a sinner. Sin is not their style of life. It is not what makes them who they are. Can a Christian sin? Absolutely. Can a Christian get stuck and trapped in sin? Yes. But that does not define their identity. A Christian is identified by the blood of Jesus, adopted as a son or daughter of God. He is bought with a price.

If we abide in Christ, we will not sin. If we seek Christ and let him be our source of life and our protection, we will not sin. It is actually possible for a Christian to go the entire remainder of their lives without sinning. My pastor made that comment and this was the response to him: “If you keep preaching like that, we’ll open up the baptistry and make you walk on water.” But seriously, it is possible for a born again believer, baptized by the Holy Spirit, to never sin again. What’s the reason why we don’t? Because we don’t believe it. But it takes a constant abiding in Christ to pull that off. Christians become vulnerable to sin the moment they step out of Christ.

The seventh test is in 1 John 4:7-8. Do we love each other? Test three was if we enjoyed being with other Christians. This test is if we love each other. Do we love our fellow Christians? Do we care for each other? Do we see to their needs? Do we even know about them? How often do we only know about the needs in our church by the announcements and prayer requests?

This is not talking about just your average Joe neighbor, but about those in your own congregation. There is love for your neighbor and love for your enemies, however, John is specifically talking about love for your fellow believers. If we neglect the Bride of Christ, Christ himself will not be happy. He still wants us to go rescue the lost. He still wants us to treat the lowly and the unwanted as he loved us. But he wants us to take good care of his own and he will not be the “friendly” Lord we tend to think he is come judgment day if we are not watchful.

The eighth test is in 1 John 4:20. If we claim to love God but hate our brothers, the love of the Father is not in us. Again, John is talking about fellow believers. You cannot have vertical love towards God and not display horizontal love towards our fellow believers. This is a hard one, especially when we get fired up about doctrines. Now, this does not mean we readily embrace anyone who claims to be a Christian. Do not forget Jesus’ words: “Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” There is a difference in how you approach loving a brother and loving an enemy. You still love both, but it doesn’t mean you entrust yourself into an enemy’s hands readily. Loving your enemy does not mean “let them into your circle.”

How can you love God and still not love those in your Christian circles? It doesn’t work that way. Loving God means you love what he loves and hate what he hates. That means when God loves his Bride, you should too. It means when God seeks to protect his Bride from the threats and assaults of the enemy, you should too. Our first priority should be God, first and foremost. Second should be his Kingdom and his people, then the world, and then self. This does not mean to only focus on feeding self and going inward, but it means love God’s Bride. If we love God, we are to love all that comes with him. The real test is this: “If you got to heaven and you found your mansion is next to someone else’s, would you be disappointed?” Is there another Christian you would rather not spend eternity with? That is the question this test is addressing.

The ninth test (there may be others in this book too) is 1 John 5:10. Do you believe the record God gave us? If we don’t believe the record God gave of his Son, we make God a liar and his truth is not in us. Many people think this record is just the Gospel. That is a hasty conclusion. The entire Bible is the account of Jesus. Remember my post on the big picture a month ago? Every part of Scripture gives pictures and snapshots of Jesus, so the entire record is about him. If we don’t believe the Genesis account of Creation, we make God a liar. If we don’t believe the history of Israel, we make God a liar. If we claim there are other ways to heaven than through the cross, we make God a liar. If we reject his return, we make God a liar, and in reality, we make ourselves the liar, because God does not lie. Do you believe the record? I do.

How did you do on these tests? Don’t tell me or someone else; that’s between you and God. Do you have room for improvement? Seek the Lord and ask him to reveal how you’ve fallen short and how to rectify the situation. But if you are heading towards the direction of these tests, then you are on the right track. Christianity is not a mere belief but an identity that will be demonstrated not with a claim but with a lifestyle. Build your life in such a way that no one can mistake you for anyone other than someone who has been with God.

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