Many people believe that becoming a “Christian” will give them citizenship in the kingdom of heaven, but in the end many will find out that they were greatly mistaken. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23). Likewise, many will say to the Lord on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not become a Christian! Did we not read the bible, become a member of a local church, pay our tithes and offerings, etc.” Then the Lord will tell them plainly, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!”
Therefore, it is not becoming a Christian that matters most, but instead it is all about having a personal relationship with Jesus. Anyone can become a Christian based on the definition readily accepted by today’s local church system. Although there are some differences (additions or subtractions) of what it means to be a Christian from one local church to another, they all follow the same basic modus operandi (characteristics). It all begins by hearing the gospel, followed by praying a sinner’s prayer, and then getting water baptized. Next, you will need to become a member of a local church, start reading the bible, spend time praying, and make sure to give their weekly offering. You may end up joining in bible studies, worship groups/choir, teach Sunday school, become a greeter, a deacon, and the list goes on. That is what Christians do! Yet, anyone, whether they place their trust in Jesus or not, can do all of these things and never have a personal relationship with the Lord.
Jesus never called us to be Christians, but instead He calls us to simply follow Him. To do this we must leave behind this world and all of its ways, which includes the many religious practices adopted by today’s local church system. The Lord tells us we must become humble servants whose only desire is to do the will of the Heavenly Father. Thus, when (and if) we choose to fully surrender our lives in this world to follow Jesus He promises to send the Holy Spirit to spiritually transform us into a new creation. Once we are born-again, the Holy Spirit will continue to indwell us and establish our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Unlike becoming a “Christian,” only those who truly surrender their entire lives (everything they are) to Christ to allow Him to be Lord of their lives forevermore will attain this personal relationship. Mere words spoken or outward works done in the name of Christ will gain nothing without this full surrender. Therefore, this is exactly why Jesus said only a few will enter His kingdom and many will turn away by refusing to completely let go of their lives in this world thus rejecting the free gift of eternal life.
Hence, do not strive to be a good Christian as this is not your calling. Jesus calls us to follow Him and not some pastor, local church, doctrine, or denomination. These all may seem righteous, but none of these will keep you on the narrow path that leads to the narrow gate of heaven and eternal life. “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation, but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:12-14).
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