DEFINING THE REAL CHRISTIAN (1)

To be a socially acceptable follower of the Lord Jesus, one must never stand up for Him the way He stood up for us. Those who do are cancelled by the culture. It is why traditional Christianity often bypasses the Lord and creates inoffensive derivatives so one can practice his faith safely and securely, largely beyond the reach of persecution, and maintain the desired worldly connections of wealth and social standing. 

PROVING A CHRISTIAN’S AUTHENTICITY

What defines a real Christian? Is there a Biblical proof? How does anyone know who may be for real and who is merely posturing? To begin answering these questions, we actually have a treasure trove of New Testament tests to turn to. Keep in mind, however, that the Lord often employed parables, those wonderful story tales containing couched, embedded meanings revealing hard truth in a seemingly innocuous manner. Therefore, the answer we seek, which can only be derived from His teachings, wholly and exclusively, are often rejected by some due to an inability to understand His hidden connotations reserved only for those with “eyes to see.” The spiritually obtuse, whose perspective may also be marred by religious prejudice or predisposition, will thus likely never arrive at the correct definition.

The NT method for defining real Christians is also rejected based on (1) its perceived limited scope, in that extra-biblical references are excluded, and (2) its non-acceptance of mere traditional standards of socially acceptable behavior (actually a faux proof) which are believed by some to indicate virtuous intent though lacking actual NT familiarity and knowledge, most specifically of the Lord’s full curriculum.

In other words, defining a real Christian relates directly to one’s relationship with the Lord Jesus. If there is no actual relationship it is not possible that one is truly a Christian in the New Covenant sense, which is the only sense that matters in the spiritual realm. If there is a relationship, it is because a person made a decision to create one, meaning he not only said yes to the Lord’s invitation but fully accepted His predetermined terms (which apply to all and, of course, apply equally). This means a believer submits to New Covenant discipleship, subjects himself to the Lord’s entire curriculum, and does his best to learn it, know it, and apply it.

Based on these requirements, it is easy to see that the likely majority of those who profess Christianity are not actual disciples of the Lord simply because they do not fulfill the requisites thereof. Many, however, follow and obey the teachings of others who claim to follow the Lord, possess a willingness to accept doctrines that are not His, and subject themselves to traditional religious organizations claiming Christianity but which reject the Lord’s full standard. That many Christians are deceived makes no difference in the academic sense, and to claim ignorance speaks directly to one’s personal failure to have a personal relationship with Him, the lack of which is never the Lord’s fault.

“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” [Luke 14:27][1]

Though Christian discipleship is not easy, neither was the price paid to make it possible.  

© 2020 by R.J. Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 

Posted on July 16, 2020, in Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. When I first started reading scripture. The parables were so hard to understand. But over time He started opening my eyes and heart to understanding what they mean. I believe he gives us only what we can handle at different times in our lives. And the more I wanted to know and learn the more He opened my mind to understanding. I love how that works.

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    • Thank you Sandra, for a great comment. What you have written here is profound in that it describes the very process of receiving and understanding His teachings. It often begins with a desire to know the truth and to seek spiritual reality.

      There are two general ways of approaching Scripture. One can read and study it in the academic sense as one would read and study anything else. Higher learning demands dedication and determination. It is not easy. It is therefore possible to know Scripture academically. But this has decided limits. One is limited by his or her intellectual power and by intelligence itself, in that understanding Scripture demands going beyond mere intelligence. The more one approaches Scripture intellectually the more one usually depends on what is derived in that manner. This also usually involves some sort of indoctrination, in that one particular perspective is adopted which precludes the ability of perceiving any other perspective beyond it. This most often involves some form of religious indoctrination overlaid on one’s limited mental understanding, which serves to cut one off from a spiritual understanding or any further perspective.

      This is why it was so remarkable that “unlearned and ignorant men” (KJV), as Peter and John were referred to by the high religionists, were able to understand the Lord and perceive His teachings. Of course, it didn’t start out that way. In the beginning they had a hard time figuring out pretty much anything He was talking about. Over time in His presence, and due to many others factors such as His ongoing intercessory prayers for them, they started to get it. But it was not until being filled with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost that their eyes were completely opened and spiritual understanding flooded into the hearts. It is true that from the limited intellectual perspective of the high religionists, the disciples were “uneducated and untrained” (NASB). But from a spiritual perspective, they had far bypassed all limits because they were receiving spiritually and possessed the very Spirit of God, which was the door to fully opening their understanding and heightening their abilities.

      As you said, knowing the Lord and understanding the parables and His teachings demands a desire on our part and a determination to get there. Once applied, the Lord helps us and we make progress. Some are satisfied with a child’s understanding and go no further. Others, however, want the whole catalogue and won’t be satisfied otherwise. It is often the case that the more we learn the more we want to learn and receiving greater revelation becomes most enjoyable. There is certainly much in His teachings to learn and apply!

      Thanks again for a great comment, Sandra. Blessings to you.

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