An article appeared several months ago in Truth Magazine entitled “Is It Possible To Be Just A Christian?” I want to answer that question, but from a different standpoint. The author brings out the point that people of the world consider themselves and others as Christians because the affiliate themselves with a particular religious organization other than the church that we read about in the New Testament. A well written article by brother Heath Rogers dismissing that claim by correctly stating, “the preaching of the apostles did not produce Catholics, Baptists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, etc. It produced Christians….”
Using the same title- Is It Possible To Be Just A Christian?–what does it mean to be a Christian? Can we call ourselves Christians just because we “go to church,” whether it be a Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, or even a church of Christ? Just because we regularly go to a building with the name “Church of Christ” attached to it, that does not automatically make us Christians.
Sadly, there are those who think that being a Christian involves nothing more than being immersed in some water and, after that, there is nothing else to do. Do we stop growing once we are baptized? If so, why do we have Scripture that tells us to grow? 2 Peter 3:18 commands, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen.”
Do we understand everything about the word of God and need not to know anymore? Do we think we have the answers to everything contained within God’s word? Is it possible to be “just a Christian”? Can we be idle in the work God has given us to do and be pleasing in God’s sight? There are brethren who think just because they occupy a space on pew each Sunday and Wednesday, such is all they have to do to be a Christian. I suggest to you that God requires more of us than warming a spot on a pew. What makes us think we can be idle in the kingdom of God. Are we going to as the laborers in the vineyard (Matt. 20:1-16) who waited until the end of the day to seek work? Are we going to be idle until the day of judgment and then proclaim that we did nothing in the name of the Lord? The judgment day will be too late. Ephesians 2:10 reads “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.” God created us to do his work, not to sit back and do little or nothing at all. We cannot sit back watch the world pass us by. Our purpose upon this earth is to do God’s work.
What does God require of us? The passage of scripture that comes to mind is found in James 2:17-18: “ Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead in itself. Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from thy works, by my works will show thee my faith.” Your faith may be strong and steadfast, but James is telling us that your faith alone is not enough. There is more than faith that is required of you. Verse 17is what we quote most of the time and do not go beyond that one verse. However, verse 18 is showing us that we do not have the option to choose between faith or works; rather, it is telling us that faith and works belong together.
We most definitely need to have faith, but we must prove our faith by our actions. If you think that your “actions” are attending worship services, partaking of the Lord’s supper, giving of your means, and the other acts of worship we perform when we assemble together, then you are sadly mistaken. Do you have the mind set that because you make your presence known at the assembly, you are a “good” Christian? Remember what Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:17: “ That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.” What do think “… furnished completely unto every good work.” means? The first part of that verse says “ that the man of God may be complete…,”. Other translations use the term “perfect” which means “complete.” Are you “complete” or “perfect” enough your faith that you are willing to risk doing nothing? We have a responsibility to be active in the kingdom of God.
Colossians 3:17 — “ And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” It is required and commanded of us to do all things that we do in honor of our Lord. No matter what we do, we are to honor our Lord in everything, even if we are just eating. “ Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31) Give honor and glory to God in everything.
We have a responsibility as Christians to be more than mere pew warmers. We have to “… preach the gospel to the whole creation,” (Mk. 16:15) How can we preach to the whole creation if we are idle Christians? Jesus says in Matt 25: 32-46, “And before him shall be gathered all the nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink? And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry, and ye did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me. And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.”
How are we going to answer Jesus on that great day? We are not using Christ as our example if we do not heed his words and neglect our duty. Take the example of Phoebe Romans 16. She was one who took care of other saints when in need. Paul says that she “…was a helper of many, and of mine own self.” Are we? There is much more that we can do than what is talked about here. Take a look and see if you are just a pew warmer or active in the Lord’s work.
Ask yourself a question: what MORE can I do to be an active member in the kingdom ofGod? You cannot afford to just sit back and think that your are “doing enough” to get to heaven. Your presence at worship services is not enough. So answer the question about yourself; is it possible to be “just a Christian” in name only?