I Have Come That They May Have LIFE!
How do you KNOW if you are a Christian? What criteria should we use to determine whether a person’s professed faith in Jesus Christ is real? Those are difficult questions to consider, yet the answer is clear in God’s Word. Jesus said it Himself, “You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:20). A Christian is one who believes in Jesus Christ, and who knows who He is and what He did through His sacrifice on the cross … trusting in Him for forgiveness and eternal life. But there’s more!! James writes, “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead!” (James 2:17). We know we are not saved BY our good works, but rather, true faith in Jesus Christ produces within every believer the desire to do good works, as defined by God. Hundreds of years ago the writers of the Heidelberg Catechism asked the question, “Since then we are redeemed from our misery (our sin) by grace through Christ, without any merit of ours, why should we do good works?” The answer they gave, based on God’s Word, reveals the evidence of good works in the life of the true believer: “Because Christ, having redeemed us by His blood, also renews us by His Holy Spirit after His own image, that with our whole life we show ourselves thankful to God for His blessing, and that He be glorified through us; then also, that we ourselves may be assured of our faith by the fruits thereof; and by our godly walk win also others to Christ” (H.C. #86). The “LIFE” Jesus gives His sheep to live “abundantly” is a life lived doing good works! This is why the Bible says we will give an account for the works done in the Body. Indeed, a “faith” that does not produce good works will be found on that day to have been a “dead faith,” a religious expression rather than a transformed life. May God help us to examine ourselves, to check our hearts, and if necessary, repent and draw near to Christ, seeking His forgiveness for using His name in vain. And may we who know Christ as Savior and Lord be spurred on to do the works that God has prepared for us to do, for His glory!