Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why I Am A Christian

by Peter Krey
Christian News, June 17, 2013

Strange as it may sound, I am not a Christian by my own choice and volition. It is generally believed that becoming a Christian is a matter of one’s own choice.

A person joins a church, any church, and thereby becomes a Christian. But is the matter as simple as that? Can one join the “one, holy, Christian church”, as one joins a social club? Does membership in a church make one a Christian? A person decides with himself to live a better life, or to follow the example of Christ.

Does that volition make him a Christian? The answer is No. No one ever became a Christian by his own free choice and will. To become a Christian involves the believing acceptance of all that the Bible teaches about man and about God. But the Bible teaches that man is a fallen creature wholly unable by himself to turn to God, that is, to trust in God and to love him and do what is morally good in the sight of God. Man, the Bible teaches, is totally self-centered and hostile to God and to his fellowman. The natural state of man’s mind is one of opposition to God; a fact admitted by psychoanalysts today. But St. Paul stated it long ago in these words: “The carnal mind is enmity against God.” Rom. 8:7. Because of this ingrained opposition to God man cannot by his own reasoning or volition turn to God in love and confidence. He can only have an abject fear for God. All non-Christians worship of God flows from fear. Abject fear of the Deity is the basis of all pagan worship. Natural man because of the judgment of conscience either flees from God or defies Him. His whole form of worship, if he has any, is but an endeavor to appease the wrath of an angry God with “good works” or self-imposed punishments and privations.

He can proceed no farther in his approach to God. He cannot under any circumstances overcome his guilt-feelings toward God and make himself believe that God is merciful and gracious, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.

That God as a holy God and a God of love should Himself make atonement for man’s guilt by bearing the punishment of his sin and thus be free to justify man by grace does not occur to man’s mind. The very idea is so foreign to his thoughts and state of mind, that, when confronted with it, he rejects it as foolishness. 1 Cor. 1:18,23; 2:14. Yet, that exactly is the heart of Christianity “that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” That is the essence of the Christian religion that the Son of God became man to be “wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities” and to die for our sins, and that therefore man is justified before God his Maker by faith in Jesus Christ his proxy and Redeemer. This divine truth, revealed to man in Holy Scripture, is a stumbling block to the Jews and the self-righteous and foolishness to the Greek and the worldly wise; and this; that God should die on a shameful tree for my sins is also foolishness to my natural mind. I am innately opposed to it.

That I now believe it is therefore not due to any decision of my own volition or reasoning it is the work of God in me. I am a Christian because God made me one.

It was not my choice. He conquered my hostility and persuaded me. He made me willing and caused me to believe in Jesus Christ my Lord. With Luther I must confess: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him, but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.” I am a Christian because the Holy Ghost has called me to faith by the Gospel, by the good news that God has forgiven me in Christ. This Gospel is the Word of God the Holy Ghost and therefore has the inherent power to call my heart out of unbelief to faith in Christ my Lord.

I am a Christian because the Holy Ghost has enlightened my mind with His gifts. He has by the Gospel given me the knowledge and assurance that Jesus is my Savior from sin, death, and damnation; and He has filled my heart with the joy and peace that accompanies such knowledge. I am a Christian because the Holy Ghost has renewed my heart. By bringing me to faith through the Gospel He has given me the power to hate and abandon evil and the strength to love and to strive for that which is good and pleasing to God.

I am a Christian because I came in contact with the Gospel, the glad tidings of God’s redeeming love and forgiving grace in Christ Jesus, either in my youth through Holy Baptism or by the instruction of my parents and teachers, or, if later in life, through the Gospel-ministry of the church or the reading of the Bible or Christian literature.
 
Somewhere along life’s way I came in contact with the Gospel of the grace of God, and somewhere along this line of contact the Holy Ghost caused me to believe by breaking up the darkness of my unbelieving heart with the light of the knowledge that Jesus is my Lord and with the assurance of faith that He is the propitiation for my sins, and not for mine only but also for the sins of the whole world.

I am a Christian, not by my own free will or right reasoning, or good conduct; I am a Christian because God made me one of His dear children through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord.

As it is written: “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost.” 1 Cor. 12:3. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”... “We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Eph. 2:8,10.

Every believing Christian will confess with the great apostle, “By the grace of God I am what I am” -a Christian.
 
I was made a Christian
When my name was given,
One of God’s dear children
And an heir of heaven.
In the name of Christian I
will glory now.
Evermore remember My
Baptismal vow.
I must, like a Christian,
Shun all evil ways,
Keep the faith of Jesus,
Serve Him all my days.
Called to be a Christian, I
will praise the Lord,
Seek for His assistance So
to keep my word.
All a Christian’s blessings
I will claim for mine:
Holy work and worship,
Fellowship Divine.
Father, Son, and Spirit,
Give me grace, that I
Still may live a Christian
And a Christian die.

 
Devotions on the Apostle’s Creed -Why I Am A Christian and Other Writings. By Peter Krey. Published by Lutheran News, Inc. 684 Luther Lane, New Haven, Missouri. 2005. 299 pp. $9.99.
 

1 comment:

  1. THE LORD'S CHURCH

    What are the things that do not make you a member of the body of Christ?

    What are the requirements for membership in the Lord's church?

    THINGS THAT DO NOT MAKE YOU A MEMBER OF THE LORD'S CHURCH.

    1. Simply believing that Jesus is the Son of God does not grant you membership in the Lord's church.

    Mark 5:1-12 .....7..."What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?....12 The demons implored Him....

    Demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God, however, that does not give them membership in the Lord's church. Legion was not part of the body of Christ.

    2. Sprinkling infants with water does not make them part of the body of Christ. Sprinkling unbelieving babies is not an act that adds them to the Lord's church.

    Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved....

    Only believers who have been baptized are added to the Lord's church. Babies are not capable of believing.

    3. Joining denominations, such as the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, the Lutheran Church, the Methodist Church, etc. does not grant you membership into the Lord's church. Joining a denomination cannot save anyone. You cannot join the Lord's church.

    Acts 2:47...And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

    The requirement for being added to the Lord's church is not joining a denomination. The Lord only adds the saved to the church. The church is the body of Christ.

    WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR BEING ADDED TO THE LORD'S CHURCH?

    The apostle Peter said, on the Day of Pentecost, " Be saved from this perverse generation!" (Acts 2:40)

    Who was saved? Acts 2:41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day were added about three thousand souls.

    Three thousands souls were added to the Lord's church on the Day of Pentecost. Why were they added to the body of Christ?
    They received Peter's message and were immersed in water.(baptized).

    Peter's message: (Acts 2:22-38) They were taught that Jesus was the Christ. That Jesus was Lord. That God raised Jesus from the dead. They were told to repent and be baptized so their sins could be forgiven and that they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Those who believed Peter's message, and repented and were baptized, were added to the body of Christ by the Lord Himself. (Acts 2:47 ...And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

    MEN BECOME SAVED THE SAME WAY TODAY AS THEY DID ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST.

    HOW TO BECOME ADDED TO THE LORD'S CHURCH.

    1. FAITH: John 3:16, Mark 16:16
    2. CONFESSION: Romans 10:9-10, Acts 8:37
    3. REPENTANCE: Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19
    4. BAPTISM: Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21, Galatians 3:27.


    ONLY THE LORD ADDS YOU TO HIS CHURCH!


    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

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