We all read or heard the news of the man who went on Facebook Live and shot an elderly man in cold blood just because he was upset over circumstances in his life. The man he murdered wasn’t anyone he knew. He picked him out at random and decided to end his life just because. Then we heard the news a couple days later of how he turned the gun on himself when the cops finally caught up with him. His mother was quoted as saying that her son was “a good Christian person……he just snapped….”. Now, I’m not here to judge this man’s salvation. The Bible plainly states that it’s not for us to say if someone is a Christian or not. Only God knows a person’s heart. But, when I read his mother’s comments, I just had to ask myself, “Really? Was he TRULY a Christian? Because it seems to me that his actions and the motivations for his actions don’t reveal someone who would profess to be a Christian.”
There was a time many, many, MANY years ago when you could tell the difference between those who were truly Christians and those who weren’t. I know as Christians we still sin. We still battle our sinful flesh on a daily basis. We will still do things that go against what we claim to be. But, it seems in recent decades that people have lowered the standard of what it means to be a Christian. I live in what is known as the Bible Belt, but in all honesty, I don’t think many churches these days in this region truly know and understand what being a Christian is all about. 1 Peter 2:9 says that Christians are a “chosen generation”, a “royal priesthood”, a “holy nation”, and “a people for His own possession.” The KJV uses the phrase “a peculiar people” for the last one. When the Bible uses the word “holy”, it means that we are SET APART. It’s important to note that if YOU say you’re a Christian, then YOUR actions and how YOU live your life will be drastically different from those who aren’t.
These days, people like to THINK they’re Christian because they (a) joined a church and got their names on a church roll, (b) went to church as a child with grandma and grandpa, and, by golly, if mawmaw and pawpaw are Christians, then they are, too, (c) attend the local church on Christmas and Easter, or (d) they think, “I’m a red blooded American patriot and because America is a Christian nation, then that makes me a Christian, too!!” And come political season….oh my goodness…..everyone running for a Republican office is suddenly a “Christian”!! And church people eat that stuff UP!!! “Oh, he/she says they’re a Christian so let’s vote for them.” I know of a politician who was told to never step foot in church again if the only time he’s going to show up is during election time. As far as I know, he had NO use for the church until it was time to try to get re-elected to his office. To me, he was only making a showing for the Christians, but never identified as one until he needed to be one.
People……America may have started out as a Christian nation, but being an American doesn’t make you a Christian!! Christianity started centuries before America was even a nation! Christianity isn’t about which political party you vote for. It’s not about making sure your name appears on the membership roll of the church two blocks down from your house. It’s not showing up for the Christmas and Easter services like it’s some sort of thing you check off your list. Being a Christian means that God, through His Holy Spirit, has regenerated you. Regeneration means to be “born again”. It means that God has taken your stone cold, hard heart and replaced it with a heart that now desires the things of God. It’s living and acting in such a way that sets you apart from the world. And the ONLY way that can happen is when God saves you.
The bar has been set low as far as Christianity is concerned. Now days, the church proclaims a person a Christian just because they walked an aisle, signed a card, and got dunked in the baptistery. Sadly, many of those who did that never darken the door of the church again because the church has told them that was all they needed to do. Now we have “Christians” running around our country who were never really converted because they’re basing their salvation on something THEY did, and not on whether God has regenerated them. Trust me on this. I used to be one of them until God truly regenerated me. I based my salvation on the fact I walked the aisle and got baptized when in actuality God had not changed my heart.
America really doesn’t understand what being a Christian means. It’s sad to say, but it’s gotten to the point where other countries know and understand what Christianity is and are sending missionaries to us because we have gone so far off the path. We have truly lost the meaning of what Christianity really is.