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Question: Are all who claim the name “Christian” truly believers?

The sad answer to this question is no, some are not truly believers. Jesus illustrated this in Matthew, chapter 7, verses 21-23. He says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;” so we dare not say anything different. He gives 4 different marks between the false and the true in this passage. In these particular verses, we can see the differences between a true and false believer. We can liken this to what is known today as “identity theft”. Having worked in the computer business for the past 20+ years, I have unfortunately seen people’s online identities stolen and used for criminal purposes. Jesus here shows someone who has adopted the identity of the Christian, calling Him Lord, but not having the reality of the relationship with Christ. Because of this, Jesus pictures this same person trying to convince Jesus that he knows Him in the day of judgment. The trouble is that while this person claims to know Jesus, Jesus doesn’t know him. In fact, Jesus says, “I never knew you”. The question is not if we know Jesus, but if Jesus knows us.
We see some marks of this one who Jesus does not know. He attempts to justify himself by works. Boy, does he have some works! Most of us will never approach such works. He has prophesied in Jesus’ name, cast out demons, and done many miraculous works. But it is not works that save us. It is not the works of giving out God’s word, nor the works in the “spiritual world”, nor even the miraculous works that can save us from our sins. It is not even the amount of works that we do. If that were the case, this man would be in heaven today. But Jesus plainly says he is not. How then can we become a true believer? Jesus says here that the true believer will respond with trust and obedience to God’s word. If we are interested in being one of God’s children, we must be willing to become one God’s way. It is our turning from sin and asking Christ to save us from our sins and the results of our sins. In Luke 10:20, we are to rejoice not because of our works, but “because our names are written in heaven”.

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