Who is a Christian, really?

Among the various religions of this world, Christianity claims approximately 1.9 billion adherents. When one closely examines just who these people are, the stunning variety of subgroupings within Christianity is bewildering.

Since modern Christianity claims its origins from the Bible, it would seem to follow that most would believe and practice what the Bible teaches. However, that simply is not the case!

In anticipation of world conditions that would be extant shortly before His return to the earth, Jesus Christ warned His disciples of sweeping religious confusion: “‘For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect'” (Matthew 24:24).

On a global scale, there is no question that confusion and deception account for what now presents itself as Christianity. Almost everyone proclaims that they, alone, are the “true believers.” This self-appraisal can be blindingly dangerous if wrong. Jesus cautioned those who would follow Him with these words: ” ‘Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ and then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ ” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Against this backdrop of widespread deception and self-delusion, a much smaller group of Christians is identified in the Bible. As cited in Matthew 24, Jesus spoke of them as “the elect.” These are the few who truly uphold the teachings of Jesus. These are also the ones who are not deceived. And yet, the elect must be very circumspect as well!

Paul, who was, without question, one of these “elect,” was careful to warn of counterfeit Christianity seeking to overwhelm true Christians: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

By drawing close to God through humble obedience to what He reveals in His Word, the Bible, the elect of this generation can prevail. Note this further teaching from Jesus: ” ‘Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are MANY who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are FEW who find it’ ” (Matthew 7:13-14).

For those who also would be a part of the “elect,” it is vitally important to continually examine their own lives, and perhaps we should also ask ourselves: “Am I a Christian, REALLY?”

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