Keynotes – November 2018

The Marks of a Christian

Being a Christian means many things to different people. We are different. We are unique.Yes, we are the Children of God, but what does that mean to someone who doesn’t know Jesus?

In the King James translation Peter says we are, “a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9) and Paul echoes that in Titus 2:14 just as God said the same about His people through Moses back in Deuteronomy.It doesn’t mean that we wear a lapel pin or have the symbol of a fish on our business card,although we might. It doesn’t mean that lives are going to be without turmoil. It doesn’t meanthat we are perfect and everyone else is not.

The marks of a Christian are the entire life of a Christian. Every part of our lives takes on a different flare, and yet, the differences are not so great that someone can be said to be a Christian just because they exhibit one of the marks.The identification of a Christian would require looking into the heart, which we can’t do.

What can be observed is the whole life of a person. It is the sum of these marks that suggest a person is a Christian. We aren’t given the formula to be certain if someone is or isn’t a Christian. Praise God for that one! I don’t think I want to know. What we are given is the expectation of our God, “Be imitators of God, therefore, asdearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for usas a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV)We do the very best we can at imitating God. We know we are sinners, each with adifferent passion toward sin burning within us.

So our conduct in the world will display differently, although we are all Children of God. We are flawed, and we are forgiven.For this first ‘mark’ I am taking the lead from the Portals of Prayer devotions from October 24th and 25th. This is an election year and there is a growing controversy between factions in this country. Some estimates say that we are nearly equally divided between the two major parties.What was it that Jesus said? “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25)

I am concerned for our country. There is a big push as if true Christians are Republicans, or was that Democrats? Please, read God’s Word and not the political trash we are being given! Look at Romans 13. “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (Romans 13:1-2) Jesus submitted to Israel. Who are we to believe that we are greater or wiser? Some rejoiced as Obama was elected others when Trump was elected.

The mark of a Christian? To acknowledge that God is the One true authority. The mark of a Christian is to work within the authority that God has established to glorify God and to build up His Kingdom. This is no doubt a challenging time for our country, and it is challenging for us to follow our Lord Jesus when passions are so high. Look to the cross of Jesus as the one true symbol of faith. Look to the Word of God to see how God will call you to display his love every day.

May our Lord Jesus bless our efforts to be imitators of him.