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An article appeared several months ago in Truth Magazine entitled "Is It Possible To Be Just A Christian?" I want to answer that question, but from a different standpoint. The author brings out the point that people of the world consider themselves and others as Christians because they affiliate themselves with a particular religious organization other than the church that we read about in the New Testament. A well written article by brother Heath Rogers dismisses that claim by correctly stating, "the preaching of the apostles did not produce Catholics, Baptists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, etc. It produced simply Christians."
Using the same title, "Is It Possible To Be Just A Christian?", what does it mean to be a Christian," whether it be a Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, or even a member of the church of Christ? Just because we regularly go to a building with the name "church of Christ" attached to it does not automatically make us Christians.
Sadly, there are those who think that being a Christian involves nothing more than being immersed in some water and, after that, there is nothing else to do. Do we stop growing once we are baptized? If so, why do we have Scripture that tells us to grow? 2 Pet. 3:18 commands, "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and for ever, Amen."
Do we understand everything about the Word of God and need not to know anymore? Do we think we have the answers to everything contained within God's Word? Is it possible to be "just a Christian?" Can we be idle in the work God has given us to do and be pleasing in God's sight? There are brethren who think just because they occupy a space on a pew each Sunday and Wednesday, such is all they have to do to be a Christian. I suggest to you that God requires more of us than warming a spot on a pew. What makes us think we can be idle in the kingdom of God? Are we going to do as the laborers in the vineyard (Matt. 20:1-16) who waited until the end of the day to seek work? Are we going to be idle until the day of judgment and then proclaim that we did nothing in the name of the Lord? The judgment day will be too late. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). God created us to do His work not to sit back and do little or nothing at all. We cannot sit back and watch the world pass us by. Our purpose upon this earth is to do God's work.
What does God require of us? The passage of Scripture that comes to mind is found in Jas. 2:17,18 "Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead in itself. Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from thy works, and I, by my works, will show thee my faith." Your faith may be strong and steadfast, but James is telling us that your faith alone is not enough. There is more than faith that is required of you. Verse 17 is what we quote most of the time and do not go beyond that one verse. However, verse 18 is showing us that we do not have the option to choose between faith and/or works; rather, it is telling us that faith and works belong together.
We most definitely need to have faith, but we must prove our faith by our actions. If you think that your "actions" are attending worship services, partaking of the Lord's supper, giving of your means, and the other acts of worship we perform when we assemble together, then you are sadly mistaken. Do you have the mind set that because you make your presence known at the assembly, you are a "good" Christian? Remember what Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Tim. 3:17: "That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work." What do you think "furnished completely unto every good work" means? The first part of that verse says, "that the man of God may be complete." Other translations use the term "perfect" which means "complete." Are you "complete" or "perfect" enough in your faith that you are willing to risk doing nothing? We have a responsibility to be active in the kingdom of God.
"And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Col. 3:17). It is required and commanded of us to do all things that we do in honor of our Lord. No matter what we do, we are to honor our Lord in everything, even if we are just eating "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31). Give honor and glory to God in everything.
We have a responsibility as Christians to be more than mere pew warmers. We have to preach the gospel to the whole creation (Mk. 16:15). How can we preach to the whole creation if we are idle Christians? Jesus says in Matt. 25:32-46 that we will all be gathered together before the Lord on judgment day and we will have to give an account of all that we have done during the course of our lives here on the earth. Take time to read this passage.
How are we going to answer Jesus on that great day? We are not using Christ as our example if we do not heed His Words and if we neglect our daily duties toward Him. Take the example of Phoebe in Rom. 16. She was one who took care of other saints when in need. Paul says that she "was a helper of many, and of mine own self." Are we? There is much more that we can do than what is talked about here. Take a look and see if you are just a pew warmer or active in the Lord's work on a daily basis. Jesus says that we are to take up our cross DAILY and follow Him.
Ask yourself a question: What MORE can I do to be an active member in the kingdom of God? You cannot afford to just sit back and think that you are "doing enough" to get to heaven. Your presence at worship services is not enough. So answer the question about yourself: Is it possible to be "just a Christian" in name only? Even though worship services every week are a required activity in serving our Lord, it is not all that we are responsible for.
By Jonathan Chaffin in Truth Magazine Vol. 52, No. 4, April, 2008.
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