It’s a very common practice of people around the world to describe the United States of America as a Christian nation. Even though many citizens are fighting to take Christ out of every part of society, the fact remains, we are known as a Christian nation. Most Americans to this day still agree that this is a Christian nation. What is a Christian? There is much room for argument about whether or not the nation actually lives up to the description, but that is not the point of this writing.
A Christian Nation?
My concern and reason for writing on this topic is the confusion I see among the citizens of this great country. Public polls usually show 80% or more of American people consider themselves “Christian”. When reviewing this number and considering what I see happening in society, I am deeply concerned that a great number of people are confused about the question: “What is a Christian?” My fear is that there are a huge number of people who claim to be a Christians but in reality are not. If this is the case, then my concern is justified, and there is an urgent need for truth.
It’s not the correction of the polling numbers that has me so worried. It is the fact that there may be a huge number of people that are expecting to enter paradise with God but are actually headed for hell. Let’s say the polls are only off by 10% and that 70% of the U.S. population is truly Christian. Ten percent of 300 million (the U.S. population is actually above 300 million) is 30 million people! This number is staggering, but sadly the real number is probably much higher. The thought that 30 million people may miss the opportunity to live in paradise with their creator is horrible. God says that our minds can’t even imagine all that he has prepared for those who love him (see 1 Cor 2:9). God’s word, the bible, tells us that there are only two destinations after we die. They are Heaven and Hell, and our default destination is Hell because we have sinned against almighty God.
My fear is that multitudes of people consider themselves to be Christians because they live in a “Christian Nation” or because they came from a “Christian family” or they went to a “Christian Church”. My intent is not to judge or degrade but rather to stimulate thought and bring the truth of Christianity to those who may not understand it. What is a Christian? Jesus is known as the Christ. His life, death and resurrection are what Christianity and being a Christian is all about. Jesus is the Son of God and was sent to earth for a very important reason. We wouldn’t even have the opportunity to enter Heaven (paradise) if Jesus had not come. If God the Father had not been willing to offer his only Son to die in our place to take the punishment for our sins then every single person that has ever lived would have ended up in Hell for eternity. Jesus has provided a way to avoid this terrible destination. God's word says that Hell is eternal and that there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth that never ends. God doesn't want us to end up there. In God’s love for us, he provided us a way to be reconciled back to him.
The Fall of Man & The Hope from God
After the fall of Satan and the sin of Adam and Eve, God’s creation (including the human race) was cursed, separated from God, and mankind was cast out of the Garden of Eden (See Genesis 2:16-17 and Genesis 3:22-23). Throughout the Old Testament of the Bible while mankind was multiplying across the earth God began revealing himself and began preparing us for what he was going to do through Jesus. God could have thrown in the towel, forgotten us and let Satan have us. Instead, he decided to show us the true meaning of love.
One thing God did very early was to give us his Ten Commandments. The problem for us is that we cannot live by the Ten Commandments every minute of the day, considering our current fallen state. We fail again and again either in thought or deed. The Ten Commandments are God’s way of showing us that we fall short and sin against him over and over throughout our lives (See Romans 3:20-26). God is a Holy God in which he must perform Complete & Perfect Justice. It’s very easy for us to cry out for justice when we’ve been wronged in life. The fact is, God is wronged every time we sin against him. He has warned us of a judgment that is coming and that it will be an eternal judgment. He has also gone to great pain to offer us a way out of being convicted of our sins against him.
History & God’s Plan
During the approximately 4,000 year period of human history between the time Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden and until Jesus life was fulfilled, God set up a system for the people of that period to cover their sins. Because of the dire consequences of sin, God instructed the people take an innocent lamb and sacrifice it to cover their sins for a given period of time. God wanted them and us to understand that the sins we commit are serious and carry very serious consequences. God’s plan called for an innocent lamb to take the place of the guilty. The lamb could not completely resolve the person’s sins. When a person sacrificed a lamb it was their way of showing God that they were sorry for their transgressions and that they were looking forward to the future when God would perform the main event. The sacrifice of the lamb would just cover the sins until Jesus, the Lamb of God, came and offered his perfect, sinless life in their place and ours. Christ took the punishment that we (and they) deserved so that we could be completely forgiven and pardoned from our guilt and debt.
What is a Christian?
Christ fulfilled this wonderful prophecy when he came, lived a perfect life, and gave his life to die on a cross taking the punishment and death we deserve. After three days he arose from the grave, conquering death itself, and proved his deity to the world. Everyone who believes in what Jesus did on the cross, repents of their sins, and follows him is a Christian (See John 3:16-18). They are promised that one day either through death or his return to earth, whichever is first, they will be with him in paradise. The curse that was introduced to the world through sin will be removed; we will receive new incorruptible and immortal bodies, and never face the troubles of this life again.
What is a Christian?
Being a Christian has nothing to do with where you live or what you’ve done or what someone else has done. A Christian is someone who has put their complete faith in what Jesus did for them. It is a personal relationship with Jesus. God wants a personal relationship with you and I, and the bible is clear that the only way this can happen is by accepting the gift that Jesus gives. He became a servant and suffered and died a horrible death so that we can be forgiven and have a chance to live with him in paradise. We will either turn to him accepting his wonderful gift or reject him and face him in judgment. God has gone to the extreme to show his love. I have chosen to believe in and follow him, and I sincerely hope you have too.
Don’t blindly believe what I or anyone else tells you. We live in a world full of sin where Satan, his hordes of fallen angels and even our own fallen natures are warring against God. What is a Christian? There are multitudes of religions and beliefs that have been introduced to confuse as many as possible. Don’t be one of them. Don’t let Satan win in your life and end up being condemned to his destination. Read the bible and listen to God’s words. I recommend reading the New Testament first as it pertains to the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus and explains the gift he has given. I would read John, the 4th gospel first, and then read through the entire New Testament. Then read through the Old Testament and see how God has revealed himself throughout history.
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May God Bless you and fill you with the hope of the wonderful blessings to come for those who love him.