Is your "Christianity" - GENUINE or FAKE?
We have a serious problem!
Many people say that to become a "Christian," all you have to do is to "accept" or "receive"
Christ. But what does this mean? And how is this supposed to impact your life?
- This concept is often left undefined, leaving the person to guess what it means.
[Many people think that all a person has to do is "be good" and they will "earn a place in heaven." Others
think they will get "saved" by reciting a prayer, by "making a decision," or by getting baptized.]
- Many people who claim to be "saved" go through life without ever actually knowing what the Bible says
about being "saved" - and they often have no idea what it says about other issues, either.
[Review the "quiz" given in PART 1 of this study. Do you realize that 50% to 70% of teens who claim to
have "accepted Christ" would say that those statements are FALSE?]
Many people claim to be "saved" yet do not live it. Others live it for a while and later "fall
- Scripture tells us that the way you live is just as important as what you claim to believe. The two are
actually inseparable. You cannot "live like the devil" and still "make it to heaven." Think about the
following verse. It is an example of people who claim one thing but live something different:
Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are
despicable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good. (Titus 1:16)
- What about people who claim to be Christians, but who later abandon Christ - or even become hostile to
Christ? Did they get "unsaved"? Or were they never really saved in the first place?
[Read 1 John 2:18-19. It tells us about people who claimed to be "saved," but who are now "against
Christ." (This is the meaning of the word "anti-Christ," as used in this passage.)]
- Either way, the changes described in PART 2 are not present in their lives.
Many people don't even know the "basics" of Christianity. Yet Scripture tells us that, if we
are truly "born again," we need to be willing to grow up!
- Not only do we need to know the "basics," but we need to move on beyond
So let us stop going over the basics of Christianity again and again. Let us go on instead and
become mature in our understanding. (Hebrews 6:1a)
- To make matters worse, many who do know the "basics" (or more) don't know how to apply them to
their lives. Quite frequently they don't even realize that they are supposed
to apply Bible truth to their
Beware of a Counterfeit "Salvation"!
The Devil can look like an "angel of light." Scripture warns us that many religious leaders will follow him and
will deceive many people into thinking they are "saved," when they actually aren't. See: 2 Corinthians 11:13-15;
- Some may tell us we need to have the right beliefs, but they don't tell us about the need to live a holy life
(a life separated from sin).
- Some may tell us we need to live the right kind of life, and they fail to tell us that what we believe is just
- Scripture says that both truth and actions must go together. It is the person who pays attention to what
Scripture says and who lives according to it, who will be saved. Matthew 7:24-27.
Many people want to "go to heaven," but they don't care much about living for God. It's just that they don't want
to experience the consequences of their sins. Even in this matter, they love themselves more than they love
Only those who are Jesus' friends and who love him now will have the opportunity to live with him for
The Issue of God's Sovereignty and Human Responsibility
Many people have a difficult time accepting these two concepts, when it comes to salvation, but Scripture
teaches both. They go together, like the two sides of one coin. See: John 6:37; Philippians 2:12-13 (note that the
phrase "work out your salvation," used in some translations, doesn't mean "work for it"); Acts 28:26-27 (a
prophecy quoted to some people after they chose to reject the good news about Jesus).
Even if we find these concepts to be a bit difficult to understand, Scripture clearly teaches us some of the
practical consequences of these truths.
- These two concepts will always work together. There will never be an instance in which someone wants
to be saved and God doesn't want him to - John 6:37, 40. (Observation: Passages that mention God's
sovereignty in the context of salvation tend to mention it after the person has made his choice - perhaps
emphasizing our responsibility for our choices.)
- God guarantees that, if he has begun a good work in you, he will bring it to completion - Philippians 1:6;
2:13. (You don't have to worry about him quitting on you!) Also, nobody will be able to snatch you out
of God's hands - John 10:28-29. [Think about it: What does "nobody" mean?]
- It is impossible for you to be saved except by the way God commands. You cannot choose a different set
of beliefs or a different kind of lifestyle, and still get saved. You must come to God on
his terms and
with the right attitude.
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Dennis Hinks © 2004
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation,
Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois
60189. All rights reserved.