Am I a Christian?

Discussions amongst Christians about life issues, walking with Christ, and general Christian topics that don't fit under any other area.
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Re: Am I a Christian?

Postby Philip » Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:45 pm

Nessa: Theres no reason to believe they weren't trusting and believing in God for salvation.


Nessa, look at the described behaviors of those Jesus condemns. He knew their hearts and minds - and not JUST their outward behaviors - which is all we can see. What we don't see in Scripture is faithful people of long term simply falling away. Yes, people hung with the Apostles that were all caught up in being part of groups of Believers - for awhile. Are we to believe God makes a mistake - that He saves people that He knows aren't sincere? Or that He saves people merely hoping THEY will remain faithful IN THEIR OWN POWER???!!! How does ANYONE remain faithful, if not for Christ and God's Spirit within? Are we to think that God wants all to come to salvation, that He saves people, only to later abandon them to their own fallible flesh? We did NOT come to the Lord in our own power and WE cannot SUSTAIN what HE put within us in OUR own power. The fact that you realize that you cannot makes you doubt. But I would be that what you doubt is not GOD'S faithfulness, but your own ability to stay faithful in YOUR power. And we ALL should doubt that - because we know ourselves - we KNOW that unless the Lord sustains our salvation, we are in MAJOR trouble.

AGAIN, remember Paul's CONFIDENCE, that if dependent upon man, was exceptionally foolish:

"And I am SURE of this, that HE who began a good work in you WILL bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

Our salvation was never dependent upon God looking into the future as to our persevering in our own power - NO, He looked into our futures seeing HIS faithfulness and sustaining power. Again, when we see people who definitely fell away, the could never have been saved to begin with!

Nessa, I know this struggle, oh so well, because I know myself so well. I KNOW that I am not dependable to do what I KNOW I cannot do - remain faithful in my own power. In God's power - YES, all things, including staying faithful, are DEFINITELY, not only possible, but are a certainty! But we so often go on our feelings related to 1) knowing so well our own sinful natures and past track record AND 2) the devil constantly, accusingly whispers in our ears - "You KNOW yourself, you sinful, pathetic human - you are delusional that you will find final acceptance by the Lord Most High." But God tells us that He sees us not as we are in the flesh, but as we one day SHALL be! The best, most spiritual Christian amongst us is, to God, a sinful man just like the next. And might I remind you, that God used sinful, weak, unpredictable, unreliable, often cowardly, clueless men (and women) throughout Scripture to change the world and reveal His message. We just need to cling to faith in Jesus as our Hope and certainty - and get our focus off our how we FEEL concerning our own shortcomings. These are only what the DEVIL wants us to believe our salvation is dependent on - not in a faithful, loving God Who died for us! God wants us to have CONFIDENCE we are His, and in our salvation, and in HIS faithfulness. Does He save one whom desire to be saved and follow Him, only to abandon us back to our own pathetic ways? NEVER!

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Re: Am I a Christian?

Postby RickD » Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:46 pm

Nessa wrote:So if anyone who believes in Jesus and trusts in him for their salvation is saved....

...then what about when Jesus said 'I never knew you' to people who believed they were following Jesus and doing what he wanted. They were suprised that he questioned their love for him. Theres no reason to believe they weren't trusting and believing in God for salvation

EDIT: but Jesus brought up matters of the heart... When did you visit me....

I think it's a common thread that if our hearts are with Christ we will bear the fruit that shows we are of Him

If they had shown fruit, then I agree. There's no way for us to really know they weren't trusting Christ for salvation.

That's why we can't be fruit inspectors.
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Re: Am I a Christian?

Postby RickD » Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:49 pm

Nessa wrote:Re: my last post

I think it's possible to think you are saved when you are not. To say you are a Christian and trust in Jesus on a intellectual level. Yet your heart is far.

And I think it does come down to what you believe in your heart about Christ. Is your heart with Christ or not? It is actually God who has set the distinction between lips and hearts, I believe.

Nessa,

I'm not sure there's a distinction between trusting in Christ on an intellectual level, and just trusting. I think trust includes both intellectual, and heart, so to speak.

Could you explain how you see a distinction?
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Audie wrote:
"Christianity is not a joke, but it has some very poor representatives."


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Re: Am I a Christian?

Postby Kurieuo » Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:50 pm

Nessa wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:Rick has been taught by Jac and accepts much of that.
So I'm not sure he, as well as various others on the board, accept such.

Also careful Nessa, lest you be accused of perserverance even if you don't name it such. :P

But what about Romans 10:9..
That scripture clearly makes it a matter of simple belief

I think it is a matter of the heart.

I do see a danger though, that in saying faith is of the heart, that doctrine becomes of lower importance.
"Oh, it's just love and sincereity that matters", some will say. Well then, should we be happy with worship of Allah?

No, I think the substance of our trust is important. If not, you know, we might call a golden calf Jesus and have faith in that, or a statue of baby Jesus and have faith in such an object. Clearly, then, the substance of that which we trust in, that which we foundationally have a heart for, is important.

So, there is that boundary drawn where one can confess, yet their hearts be far from God. Yet, there is also another line to be drawn in that one's hearts may feel sincere and close, when it is in fact not fixated upon the truth at all and therefore amounts to nothing.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: Am I a Christian?

Postby Nessa » Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:51 pm

RickD wrote:
kurieuo wrote:

As per Nessa's post re: lips confessing and heart being far, do you believe "trust" has any element of heart?
I'm not sure I understand, in fact I'm perplexed, by the avoidance of/repulsion of some whenever I mention the heart. Like I'm adding to belief, when really belief/trust simply being a natural result of a heart change. Especially when Scripture often talks of such in relation to belief and what God ulimately desires in us.


Just thinking out loud...

Perhaps believing with your heart, is similar to saying that we trust in what Christ has done? Maybe in contrast to just agreeing in our minds who Christ is, without having the trust/heart belief?

Possible it ties in with white washed tombs... There is some kinda outward presentation that looks good but inside is dead. Salvation should be all-encompassing including the heart.

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Re: Am I a Christian?

Postby Nessa » Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:55 pm

Philip wrote:
Nessa: Theres no reason to believe they weren't trusting and believing in God for salvation.


Nessa, look at the described behaviors of those Jesus condemns. He knew their hearts and minds - and not JUST their outward behaviors - which is all we can see. What we don't see in Scripture is faithful people of long term simply falling away. Yes, people hung with the Apostles that were all caught up in being part of groups of Believers - for awhile. Are we to believe God makes a mistake - that He saves people that He knows aren't sincere? Or that He saves people merely hoping THEY will remain faithful IN THEIR OWN POWER???!!! How does ANYONE remain faithful, if not for Christ and God's Spirit within? Are we to think that God wants all to come to salvation, that He saves people, only to later abandon them to their own fallible flesh? We did NOT come to the Lord in our own power and WE cannot SUSTAIN what HE put within us in OUR own power. The fact that you realize that you cannot makes you doubt. But I would be that what you doubt is not GOD'S faithfulness, but your own ability to stay faithful in YOUR power. And we ALL should doubt that - because we know ourselves - we KNOW that unless the Lord sustains our salvation, we are in MAJOR trouble.

AGAIN, remember Paul's CONFIDENCE, that if dependent upon man, was exceptionally foolish:

"And I am SURE of this, that HE who began a good work in you WILL bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

Our salvation was never dependent upon God looking into the future as to our persevering in our own power - NO, He looked into our futures seeing HIS faithfulness and sustaining power. Again, when we see people who definitely fell away, the could never have been saved to begin with!

Nessa, I know this struggle, oh so well, because I know myself so well. I KNOW that I am not dependable to do what I KNOW I cannot do - remain faithful in my own power. In God's power - YES, all things, including staying faithful, are DEFINITELY, not only possible, but are a certainty! But we so often go on our feelings related to 1) knowing so well our own sinful natures and past track record AND 2) the devil constantly, accusingly whispers in our ears - "You KNOW yourself, you sinful, pathetic human - you are delusional that you will find final acceptance by the Lord Most High." But God tells us that He sees us not as we are in the flesh, but as we one day SHALL be! The best, most spiritual Christian amongst us is, to God, a sinful man just like the next. And might I remind you, that God used sinful, weak, unpredictable, unreliable, often cowardly, clueless men (and women) throughout Scripture to change the world and reveal His message. We just need to cling to faith in Jesus as our Hope and certainty - and get our focus off our how we FEEL concerning our own shortcomings. These are only what the DEVIL wants us to believe our salvation is dependent on - not in a faithful, loving God Who died for us! God wants us to have CONFIDENCE we are His, and in our salvation, and in HIS faithfulness. Does He save one whom desire to be saved and follow Him, only to abandon us back to our own pathetic ways? NEVER!


Just to clarify....

My point was that intellectually they may have believed they were trusting in Christ for salvation and doing what they thought he wanted them to do. Hence their suprise when he rebuked them.

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Re: Am I a Christian?

Postby Kurieuo » Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:55 pm

RickD wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:I'm not sure Rick, as well as various others on the board, accept my ideas.

Also careful Nessa, lest you be accused of perserverance even if you don't name it such. :P

K,

I think you and I agree on much more than we disagree on.

We just come at our beliefs from different perspectives. You're much more cerebral than I am. I think much more simply. More of a layman, so to speak. I tend to under think rather than over think. Which most likely is because I know my limitations, and just work with what I have.

So, I wouldn't say I don't accept your ideas. I just don't think the same way you do, if that makes sense.

You always discount yourself, but I think you are much more cerebral than you give yourself credit more. You can pack quite a punch if you disagree and choose to.
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Re: Am I a Christian?

Postby Kurieuo » Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:02 pm

RickD wrote:I'm not sure there's a distinction between trusting in Christ on an intellectual level, and just trusting. I think trust includes both intellectual, and heart, so to speak.

I think that is what it comes down to, as concluded in my post before last which I'm sure you'd agree with:

    So, there is that boundary drawn where one can confess, yet their hearts be far from God. Yet, there is also another line to be drawn in that one's hearts may feel sincere and close, when it is in fact not fixated upon the truth at all and therefore amounts to nothing.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: Am I a Christian?

Postby Nessa » Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:06 pm

Kurieuo wrote:
Nessa wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:Rick has been taught by Jac and accepts much of that.
So I'm not sure he, as well as various others on the board, accept such.

Also careful Nessa, lest you be accused of perserverance even if you don't name it such. :P

But what about Romans 10:9..
That scripture clearly makes it a matter of simple belief

I think it is a matter of the heart.

I do see a danger though, that in saying faith is of the heart, that doctrine becomes of lower importance.
"Oh, it's just love and sincereity that matters", some will say. Well then, should we be happy with worship of Allah?

No, I think the substance of our trust is important. If not, you know, we might call a golden calf Jesus and have faith in that, or a statue of baby Jesus and have faith in such an object. Clearly, then, the substance of that which we trust in, that which we foundationally have a heart for, is important.

So, there is that boundary drawn where one can confess, yet their hearts be far from God. Yet, there is also another line to be drawn in that one's hearts may feel sincere and close, when it is in fact not fixated upon the truth at all and therefore amounts to nothing.


I don't think faith is a matter of the heart alone but was referring to the distinction re: lips and hearts scripture.
Last edited by Nessa on Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Am I a Christian?

Postby SoCalExile » Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:27 pm

Kurieuo wrote:
SoCalExile wrote:The issue here is the idea that someone who born-again can fall away, or commit a serious sin. You're trying to use a situation, where people who aren't born-again can pretend they are, to prove a point not addressed there, while ignoring the Bible in situations where a born-again believer did do what you say they couldn't.

Yet while trying to avoid the proper theological term for your belief!

SoCal, now you're just being daft.


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Re: Am I a Christian?

Postby Kurieuo » Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:45 pm

RickD wrote:
Nessa wrote:And so I guess when I originally questioned my fruit it was really a question of where I am in my heart towards Christ. Sometimes I don't know. I believe if my heart was in the right place, there would be more fruit...

In my first post, I mentioned someone close to me questioned if Christ was in me. They had asked if I was praying for certain family members and I had said no.

I think you're questioning your walk with Christ as a believer. Not if you're a believer.

It's not a bad thing to evaluate ourselves, in regards to if and how our walk can be better.

We all probably need to challenge ourselves love God and others more.

IMO, the better our relationship with God is( our prayer life, time spent reading the bible), the more "Holy Spirit fruit" we will see in ourselves.

I think Rick is correct.

In "the lips confess, but heart being far from God...", if it is accepted that the heart is important, then I don't believe we can superimpose upon "heart" a more narrow meaning like "strong emotional feelings." The fact of the matter is, we're human beings and some of us are more/less emotional then others. If we've been broken in our lives then we can also be quite detached.

You know, some might say an emotionally-deatched person has less heart, when in fact they had the most heart and were just more sensative and the way they coped in life was becoming numb to it all. In any case, what I'm getting at, is by heart one shouldn't impose a meaning upon such of strong emotional feelings...

It is here important to step back and understand that it is our faith in Christ that saves, and that does extend from the heart, but this doesn't necessarily mean you're going to feel all mushy and gush all the time over say, to borrow Rick's thought, praying, reading the bible, worshiping God... if you even emotionally feel like doing such.

It is important to draw a distinction, as Rick does, between someone who in their heart trusts in Christ, versus whether in our heart we feel like doing a, b and c. Perhaps this is also where SoCal is confused by my words. He is seeing when I say someone must trust in Christ and their heart is what matters, that I am perhaps saying something like trust and then whole-heartedly desire to do a, b and c -- which I'm not. I'm merely saying, more inline with what Rick would say in "trust" itself, that one does desire Christ in their very being and so trust in His promise.

The substance of your faith, that which your heart is focused upon, is Christ Himself (not how much emotion or feeling you have). So then, as to whether or not you could be a better follower of Christ, whether or not you're doing this or that, whether you're spending enough time praying or even feel like praying, whether you're reading the Bible or even feel like reading it, whether you're cursing or kicking the dog... you ought to know that while you could perhaps do better, such doesn't in any way take away Christ's promise to save you from yourself if you trust in Him.

Don't trust in how much emotion you feel, know that you love Christ and trust in Him.

Further, I'd say if you're feeling beat up about this or that, if you feel like you let yourself down or are a failure with Christ, well yes we all are. At least you know the first truth all Christians should affirm. Evidently, you wish that you were different, could be different, and with God's help perhaps one day you will be where you want to be. I'd say such shows more of our physical struggle in the world between our carnel nature and spirtually born-again nature, the latter of which is what Paul identifies as our truer nature. Now, you must stop beating yourself up, and trust in Christ's teachings that He's done everything for you, just let go of your baggage there's no need to hang onto it. And then move on empowered by Christ.
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Re: Am I a Christian?

Postby RickD » Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:53 pm

Kurieuo wrote:
RickD wrote:I'm not sure there's a distinction between trusting in Christ on an intellectual level, and just trusting. I think trust includes both intellectual, and heart, so to speak.

I think that is what it comes down to, as concluded in my post before last which I'm sure you'd agree with:

    So, there is that boundary drawn where one can confess, yet their hearts be far from God. Yet, there is also another line to be drawn in that one's hearts may feel sincere and close, when it is in fact not fixated upon the truth at all and therefore amounts to nothing.

Just look at what I wrote, then what you wrote. Simple, then cerebral. Basically saying the same thing, but differently. :lol:
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Audie wrote:
"Christianity is not a joke, but it has some very poor representatives."


St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony

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Re: Am I a Christian?

Postby RickD » Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:59 pm

K wrote:

You know, some might say an emotionally-deatched person has less heart, when in fact they had the most heart and were just more sensative and the way they coped in life was becoming numb to it all. In any case, what I'm getting at, is by heart one shouldn't impose a meaning upon such of strong emotional feelings...


You just described me to a T.

Scary accurate. :shock:
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Audie wrote:
"Christianity is not a joke, but it has some very poor representatives."


St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony

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Re: Am I a Christian?

Postby Kurieuo » Thu Jun 23, 2016 7:43 pm

Nessa, just to be clear, when I say "you" in posts I don't necessarily mean you, but I mean Rick. :P Really, often such is something more representative of myself. So in my previous post, I'm also not saying you feel this or that way, lack emotion and the like. Whether you do or don't, I'm just trying to articulate the issues I see and reasoning behind the position I gravitate to.
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Re: Am I a Christian?

Postby Philip » Thu Jun 23, 2016 8:35 pm

K: Now, you must stop beating yourself up, and trust in Christ's teachings that He's done everything for you, just let go of your baggage there's no need to hang onto it. And then move on empowered by Christ.

That last part, so hard to do, no? And we cannot do that in our own power. No, we want to remain obsessed with our failings and knowledge of how messed up we are. And the devil feeds that tendency, so as to keep us mentally in bondage and fear - which hampers our ability to trust God/Jesus. His entire strategic is for you to trust your feelings over what God has actually revealed to us. Because the first is enormously inaccurate and constantly changing. The latter is rock solid, if we'd only believe it with all of our hearts. We've just got to stop attempting to validate and gauge the health of our Christianity and how God views us, through the lens of feelings, insecurities, and intimate knowledge of our many flaws. So, the devil encourages all of this relentless and heartbreaking "navel gazing," to make our own failings our focus, as opposed to looking UP, with a focus on the Lord. Satan is exceptionally clever and tremendously effective - if we allow our focus to get away from Christ!


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