I am sure that "back in the day" it use to mean something when someone said they were a Christian. It identified you in the world. But now, I have seen things change and the meaning of this word has changed!
I have only been a born again believer for two years and three months, but during that time, I have had many witnessing opportunities and among those, I have discovered something. Too many people think they are a Christian or a "believer" who turn out to not be. For example, I was chatting briefly with someone many months ago and we got on the subject of religion (I forget just how) but I told him I was a born again believer in Jesus Christ (although I think I might have just said I was a born again believer when we were talking.)
Anyway...after I said that, I asked where he stood and he told me he was a "believer" too. But even after someone may or may not tell me that, I ALWAYS ask, "So at some point in your life you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior by faith?"
He then just gave me another generalized response, "I've been a believer all my life." I smiled and he then went on before I wanted to get another word in. A "believer all your life" huh? So the moment you came out of your mother's womb, you believed in Jesus and was saved?
Other people I have talked to think that because they warm a church pew for an hour makes them a Christian or because they sing in a choir they are a Christian. Sorry Charlie!
You've got Churchianity, but not Christianity!
Over the last year this is how I identify myself when people ask me if I am religious:
"No I am not religious or in a religion. I am a born again believer in Jesus Christ as my personal Savior." Yeah, it might be a little wordy, but it specifically identifies who you are and WHO you believe in!
Just saying you are a Christian these days doesn't cut it anymore. Catholics think they are Christians and are just another denomination of Christianity. This is wrong sadly. Catholicism is a religion of the world. Think about this for a moment.
When you see a Protestant cross, what do you see? Right, nothing. That is because we believe that according to Jesus' own words he finished his work on the cross (see John 19:30.) But when you look at a Catholic cross, what do you see? A still crucified Jesus. Catholic teaching denies the finished work on the cross, leading to the Mass ceremony (see my article here called "The Bible's Response to the Catholic Mass"; the worship and praying to of Mary for intercession, that salvation is by grace and works (but salvation is not assured in the Church for sure.)
When you look at the Mormon cross, what do you see? That's right, they have NO cross! They believe that Jesus was created; that God was a man at first, then ascended (sounds like Stargate to me.) They deny his deity and teach that Jesus only paid for Adam's sins and that salvation is by works--good deeds, missionary.
The Jehovah Witnesses deny Christ as well! They don't believe Jesus physically rose from the dead; salvation is by works; the Holy Spirit is merely an impersonal "force". The stuff just goes on and on.
Religion won't get you anywhere with God. I have shown here that it is not enough to just say you are a Christian because these false religions call themselves Christian. But by saying, "I am a born again believer in Jesus as my personal Savior" CLEARLY says that you belong to NO religion but that you belong to the Lord God Almighty, saved by grace, by faith ALONE in Jesus Christ! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!
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Amen! Preach it brother!!
There are too many "nominal" Christians (whatever that means)in America today.
It DOES make a difference what you believe, but doctrine has taken a backseat to loud rock music in Churches today. We don't want the Word, just the beat!!