Signs of a True Christian
NCW 16, February 1995
Q. I have a friend who says he is a Christian but I am not sure he is. What signs should I be looking for to tell me that he is?
A. There are a hundred different ways of answering such a question because the fruits of true conversion are many and varied. The first, most obvious, and greatest fruit is, of course, that a born-again talmid (disciple) becomes more loving toward others and more self-disciplined -- more patient, self-restrained, self-controlled and orderly (Gal.5:22-23).
Be careful that you do not pass unrighteous judgment because much of a person's goodness is often concealed deep within the heart where only the most trusty will be allowed to reach down and look. Yet there should be outer signs too. One who is a true talmid (disciple) will desire, and be activly a part of, a fellowship of other believers, sharing their joys and sufferings.
I can only here cite a few examples and I elect Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians as one of many possible sources. The Thessalonian congregation is an assembly of new converts from paganism -- they are young and fresh in the Besorah (Gospel). Let us see some of their qualities:
When a man or woman is in Messiah there is an "intense longing" to be together with other believers (1 Thess.2:17, NIV). The "hope, simcha (joy) and crown" of every Christian/Messianic is the expectation of being together with other believers in the resurrection. We are each others' "glory and joy" (v.19-20).
"Our Besorah (Gospel) came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and with deep conviction...You became imitators of us (the apostles) and of the Master (Yah'shua the Messiah/Jesus Christ); in spite of severe suffering you welcomed the message with the simcha (joy) given by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit)" (1 Thess.1:4-6, NIV).
For me, the key-note of the new birth in Messiah is the desire for fellowship with brethren and sisters in Messiah. Where that is absent, there is something fundamentally wrong with the claim a person makes to being a Christian/Messianic.
Another key is the desire to forsake the world. A person born again of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) undergoes an inward change such that the world system of things becomes uninteresting and unappetising.
Those who desire mysticism must check their motives carefully. Are our motives the selfish quest for personal knowledge and power, in order, perhaps, to gain a following? Do we seek mysticism to escape painful realities? Or is our motive to bring glory to Elohim (God) by blessing people to deal with the realities of earth life? If it is the latter, then mysticism has a place. If not, it is a sure ticket to illusion, fantasy and, eventually ....hell.
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Last updated on 19 January 2018
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