There is not a true Christian who has not asked himself or herself that question; in fact, every Christian should be examine his life to see if redemption is their privilege and eternal blessedness.
As we come to the Lord’s Supper, we do so renewing our awareness of our true condition and our thanks for the glorious Son of God, who became the Lamb of God, and took away the sin of all who are joined to him, even if that faith that joins them to Christ is as thin as a spider’s thread. Oh, that such a union of me, a sinner, and Him the Savior, were mine for ever and ever!
Am I a Christian? There is a Book that can help me answer this. It is the Bible, the word that God has given us. It helps us first by telling us what a real Christian believes, that God is our Creator, that he is three persons–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; it tells us that this holy Father loved sinners in this groaning world so much that he sent his only begotten Son, Jehovah Jesus, to save us from the judgment we deserve by living on our behalf the life we have not been living, and then dying the death that our sins deserve, exchanging our stony hearts for new hearts that love him and want to serve him perfectly.
To those who put their trust in him, God gives his Holy Spirit, who strengthens and energizes us to live brand new lives that please and honour him. We are enabled to fulfill our real end in living, to glorify God and enjoy him. So through our union with Christ, we shall be made fit to be declared righteous in the coming Judgment and be welcomed into the presence of the one before whom the angels hide their eyes and cry ‘Holy, holy, holy!’ This is what the Bible teaches and what true Christians believe.
Can you say, “Well, I believe that, not perfectly alas, but these are the truths that are very, very important to me. This is what I want to hear from the pulpit whenever I attend church.” Then be encouraged! You believe what real Christians believe. You can enjoy no assurance of your salvation unless you believe these doctrines that God has taken such pains to give us in the Bible.
The Bible also tells me how a real Christian lives. He or she is in earnest about keeping the law of God. That law is first simply summarized in the ten commandments, but then it is amplified in Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5. A Christian’s behavior is also described in Romans 12 and Ephesians 5-6. Reading these parts of God’s book sustains in every Christians two feelings–a longing to live that way and a sorrowful confession that his life does not match up, and that he is so glad that the Lord Jesus’ life did. He kept God’s law. He was poor in spirit, and hungered and thirsted after righteousness. He was pure in heart, meek and lowly, and was a peace maker. He lived like that, in spite of the suffering it brought into his life. He loved his neighbor as himself. He loved his enemies and prayed for them when they had nailed him by his hands and feel to the cross. He did not overcome evil by evil, but overcame evil with good. That is the life every Christian esteems and admires. “I want to live that life by the power of grace, but how far short of attaining it I am, alas!”
Every Christian feels like that. No other way of life is attractive to him. His conscience convicts him when he falls short of the law of God in his inward desires, let alone in his outward behavior. The book God has given to us defines for us what we are to believe and describes for us how we are to live. There can be no assurance that we are real Christians unless we find some confidence in our hearts, some conviction, that these truths are what we want to believe, and also this new heavenly conduct is how we want to live. These are the two foundations of attaining a feeling of assurance that we are the children of God. There can be no certainty without the desire to to believe and behave as God has described for us. — to be continued