I sometimes wonder how many people really “get it.” How many people who profess Christ really, truly understand what the Christian life is all about. We love to use little catch-phrases like “I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ” but what does that really mean to us? How many people had personal relationships with Jesus while He walked this earth, yet never came to believe in Him? Perhaps that choice of words detracts from the real thing.
I am generally unimpressed when I hear people say they have a relationship with Jesus. What really does impress me is when people exhibit faith and repentance in their lives.
And so I ask, how many people who claim to be Christians really exhibit the qualities of a Christian in their lives? Do we see them repenting of their past behaviour and growing in grace? Do we see them seeking to learn more about their Saviour and striving to be more like Him?
I think we set our standards low. We have learned to expect so little of ourselves and so little of others and have taken Christ’s words that we are not to judge others to allow us to display such ignorance. We have allowed a mere profession to determine in our minds who is a believer and who isn’t, despite mountains of evidence that might contradict this profession. I think of Alice Cooper – a man who professes Christ, yet continues in the behaviour that earned him such notoriety in decades past. Sure he seems like a nice guy, but so much of his behaviour is not just unscriptural but anti-scriptural! Does his life show evidence of Christ? I saw an interview with him a few days ago where he mentioned that he became a Christian over 20 years ago. That means for the past twenty years he has been deliberately acting like an unbeliever while professing Christ. What gives?
Ultimately salvation is between an individual and God. We can never be absolutely certain about another person’s eternal destiny. Yet I believe we are free to assume based on the evidence we see. Where the evidence continually contradicts the profession, why should I force myself to believe that the person is a believer?