For many who identify with Christianity, or as Christian, the thought that being raised in the church is enough is their basis for doing so. To them, that is all it takes to be declared heaven bound, a child of God, and safe from the wrath of God. But, is that so?
I, once (naively) of the “Christians” who shared this belief, would come to learn that the answer to that question is a resounding, No. And today, we’ll talk about why.
First off, in John, chapter 14, Jesus lays out the evidence of a true follower of His (and a not so true follower). In verse 15, He says, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” In verse 21, He says, “Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” In verse 23, Jesus says again, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word…” And in verse 24, He says, “Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. And the word that you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”
So, through Jesus’ words, we learn that true dedication to Him and love for Him is marked by obedience to Him. Loving Him means loving everything that emanates from Him, including those hard to hear truths spoken by Him, that our flesh would rather reject.
That said, can going to church (or being raised in the church) display our obedience to God and love for His Word? Yes, it can. However, it can also be a cover in which we hope to shield our “true selves” from the eyes of the living God, somehow thinking we’re manipulating Him into believing our false displays of “worship.” But friends, that won’t work. God is not mocked. He sees our true selves (cf. Jeremiah 17:10) and will judge us accordingly (cf. Romans 2:6-8).
Examine yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Next, in 1 John, chapter 3, God lays out another way for us to know whether we’re truly of the church or just products of a church upbringing. There, He says, in verses 4-6, “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sin. No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him.” In verse 10, He says, “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”
Ouch! was all I could think upon reading these verses (as well as those quoted higher up) when I came to Christ “for real,” nearly eight years ago. All that time I’d spent identifying as “Christian” and believing that I was saved and going to glory was a LIE! (And I was able to see that others around me were living the lie, too!) I was a sinner, under the wrath of God; and if God would’ve pulled my number during that time, I would’ve gone head first into hell, eternal destruction!
Sisters, I needed saving! And if you’re reading this, but living a life of sin—fornication, adultery, lying, stealing, clubbing, homosexuality, etc. (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)—you need saving, too… today!
It’s easy to fall into the trap of just going to church, or making Christianity an “identity” rather than a lifestyle, especially when everyone around you is living the same way, “in the name of the Lord.” But know that that isn’t enough. We must realize that we’re sinners in need of God’s saving grace, we must repent of our sins (meaning, to change our minds from sin—and the world’s way— to follow God’s way), and we must LIVE for Christ, daily, not just on Sunday mornings (or Wednesday evenings).
When we come into full submission to Christ’s will and way, sisters, it’s then, and only then, that we can be confident in our salvation and our identity in Christ.