THE RIGHT TO BECOME CHRISTIANS
Who is a Christian? The world answers, "One who pays his debts, is honest in business; one who provides for and loves his family; one who is fair, good, of high morals." A Christian is all of this and more. In fact, there are possibly thousands as here described who haven't even the right to become Christians, sons of God.
Who, then, has the right to become a child of God? "But as man as received Him, to them gave He power (right or privilege) TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, even to them that BELIEVE on His name." (Jno. 1:12). One who believes has the right to become a child of God. The unbeliever, regardless of his moral character, does not have this right; he may believe, of course, and then have the right, but before faith he cannot become a Christian, much less be a Christian. Notice, too, that faith does not make one a Christian, but gives him the power to BECOME a Christian.
Faith alone does not make a Christian. The devils believe, but they are not Christians. (Jas. 2:19). They even have a greater faith than many professed believers -- they tremble; many today treat divine matters with indifference and disrespect. How foreign to truth is the modern doctrine of salvation by faith alone, without works of obedience! The truth specifically states, "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and NOT BY FAITH ONLY." (Jas. 2:24).
Justification is through faith, not terminating in faith. Faith gives one the right to BECOME a son of God--this faith must be expressed. In Eph. 2:8, the preposition "through"--"For by grace are ye saved THROUGH faith" -- is translated from DIA (Greek), meaning: "through, by means of, arising from." Becoming a son of God is through faith: through, by means of, arising from faith, one repents; through faith, one confesses; through faith, one is baptized. Obedience is through faith--because one believes!
Since faith gives one the right to become a son of God, how or when does one actually become a Christian? When this faith obeys: "For ye are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." The next sentence explains how they (the Galatians) became children of God (by faith) in Christ: "FOR as many of you as have been baptized INTO Christ have put on Christ." (Gal. 3:26,27). What did they do "by faith" to get into Christ? They were BAPTIZED into Christ. This is the cause, or explains the reason why Paul called them "children of God."
One must hear the inspired word of God to believe. (Rom. 10:17). Faith gives one the right to become a child of God. (Jno. 1:12). He exercises this right when he obeys the gospel and is baptized into Christ. (Gal. 3:26,27).
By Gene Frost in Firm Foundation, July 17, 1956.
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