Q&A: “How Good Must I be In Order to be Called a Christian?”

A Facebook friend-of-friend recently posted the following:

To be saved a person must stop smoking, drinking, drugs, and cussing. Attend church on a regular basis, and become a born again Christian. Now are you ready to commit to being a Christian? If not then Hell is your destiny…..If you don't believe me, read your Bible. So if you are still cussing like a sailor, or doing drugs, or getting drunk after you read this then you did not commit to being a Christian and you need to quit pretending like you are one. There is more to being a Christian than just saying you are. God bless and have a wonderful day……

Having seen this, the mutual friend to the one who posted tagged me for a response. Here it is:

One time, similar conversation took place within earshot of Jesus. Here is what happened:

"And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31; Matthew 9:12 ESV)

So, Jesus presents Himself as a Doctor. If you know you aren't perfectly healthy in relationship with God, then go to the Doctor so he can give you His cure. But, this idea you have to make yourself better before you can be a "Christian," or (worse) that you have no sickness in your flawed human nature, is just stupid.

It is quite a gift Jesus gives us by forgiving us and making us His child—able to partake in His Divine nature. So with that said, the Apostle whom Jesus loved writes this:

"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! ….Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this earnest expectation, sourced in Him, purifies themselves, just as He is pure." (1 John 3:1-3)

Summary: you can't be good enough to earn merit with God. Turn to Jesus for rescue. AFTER that, you still can't be good enough to repay God or "keep" what you were given (Galatians 3:3). It is a gift. What you can do is live thankfully by aiming for being like Jesus, out of love and because He changed your identity to His child. We can't be perfectly like Jesus on this side of Heaven, but we should want to be transformed into Jesus' likeness as much as we possibly can until then.

We all (especially Christians) have areas of life needing transformation. I have habits and patterns of response… call them addictions, if you will. Everyone has some form of addiction—religious self-righteousness can be an example, as the above person's post reveals. No matter what is our weakness or mortal flaw, the important thing is to stay humbly transparent and keep faith that Jesus is the ultimate Deliverer. Desire to keep a big and open connection with Him! Sheep are safe & fed near the Shepherd; the sick do well when near the Doctor.

Jesus never asked us to "commit to being a Christian." He asked us to turn to Him for rescue!

Dr. Michael Heiser on Enoch and Ancient Near East Mythologies that Bear Context for the Bible [video links]

The Watchers and the Origins of Evil

The Sin of the Watchers

The Book of Enoch

The Watchers and Water Baptism

First CRISPR trial in humans is reported to start next month | STAT

Scientists in China plan to use the genome-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9 in patients as early as next month, Nature reported on Thursday. If they go ahead, it would be the first time people would be injected with cells whose DNA has been altered by CRISPR. A US proposal to run a similar study received approval by a… Continue reading “First CRISPR trial in humans is reported to start next month | STAT”

Instead of Two-Faced, the Church Must be “TrueFaced” — The Cure

What if God isn’t Who you think he is & neither are you? What if taking God’s side against our sinfulness and placing trust in Jesus Christ to reconcile us to God is the Way to knowing God’s unconditional love? What if that reconciled relationship with God means you have a new identity in Jesus… that the old self is gone in God’s eyes and that you are a completely new creation? What if real joy comes from believing you already have perfect standing with God through Jesus? What if the Christian Life is not about trying to be perfect or manage your sin habits BUT learning to receive God’s love and learning to love others with that God-like love? What if true holiness is about having nothing hidden… and (due to trusting safe friends) not being afraid to tell how you really are. What if true holiness is not trying to sin less but partaking in the Nature of God? With Horizon Christian Fellowship Morgan County, you will find safe friends. You can be who you are right now, as we (together) partake in God’s Nature.

_______________________

OTHER RESOURCES:

TrueFace YouTube

Why Christians Aren’t “Perfect”

Religion vs. Relationship

Deeper Walk International | Course 1: “Foundations” (free video series)

“Repentance” by Deeper Walk

Mental Health Resource Roundup

4 Restorative Books for The Wounded & Weary Christian

A Proposed Consesus on Articulating Sanctification