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According to the Bible how can a true Christian be recognized?

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Some say there is no difference between a Christian and an unsaved soul.  The only difference according to them is that one has been forgiven by God while the other has not.

Let us see what the Scriptures have to say about this.  In fact let us see what Jesus has to say about that.

- Lord, how can I recognize a true Christian?

Matt 7:16-20 “By their fruit you will recognize them.  Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”  NIV

Wow!  This is quite clear.  A person cannot pretend to be a Christian and bear the fruit of worldliness!  One cannot freely sin and pretend to be a Christian.  The same is true about trees.  “Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit”.

- But wait a minute, wasn’t Jesus referring here to false prophets?

I believe Jesus was referring to anyone who pretended to be a Christian, as it is clearly shown in the following verses.

Matt 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is 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.  Away from me, you evildoers!'  NIV

And again Jesus confirms that His words are applicable to all those who pretend to be a Christian:

Matt 7:24-27 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."  NIV

It is clear from this context that a true Christian can only be recognized by his/her fruit. Only if someone is grafted in Jesus can that person bear fruit!

John 15:4 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”  NIV

No one can live a life of sin and pretend to be a true Christian!  Only when one remains in Jesus, can that person “bear fruit”.  There is no other way!  We can’t bear fruit by ourselves.  Jesus is the One who makes it possible for us to bear fruit.

But what kind of fruit is Jesus talking about here?

Jesus explains Himself a bit further:

John 15:12-17 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  This is my command: Love each other.”  NIV

The fruit Jesus is talking about here is the fruit of true love.  Without being in Jesus, one cannot truly love.  The best example is when someone really hurts you.  If you do not have Christ in you, it is really hard, if not impossible, to forgive that person.  However, when Jesus abides in you, this becomes an easy task.  Love becomes a constant in your life.

This is confirmed in 1 John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”  NIV

- Does that mean that I can continue to sin as I much as I want, as long as I love others?

Not really.  How can one love someone if one robs him/her from his/her goods?  How can one truly love someone if one covets his/her spouse?  How can one love someone if one plans to murder him/her?  The list could go on and on and on.

Let us but this at rest by quoting:

Col 3:8-10 “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”  NIV

Once you become a Christian your old self is gone!  Jesus has come to live in you and you are leading a new life of victory!  Hallelujah! 

Those who pretend they can continue to go on with their sinful ways, a fateful destination is awaiting them: Gal 5:19-21 “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  NIV

However, those who live according to God’s will, will bear fruit and will inherit heaven through the merits of Jesus Christ! Gal 5:22-24 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.”  NIV

Does one bear immediately this kind of fruit when one accepts Jesus into one’s life?

Col 1:6 “All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth”.  NIV

Eph 4:15 “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”  NIV

When we accept Jesus into our life, we receive all of Jesus’ promises in seed form.  All of His promises are available to us.  We have to make sure we stay focused on Jesus who will help the germination of that seed that will lead to the fulfillment of all it’s wonderful promises: roots, leaves and eventually juicy fruit.

If you are no there yet, don’t despair!  Instead continue to contemplate Jesus. Heb 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  NIV  He will make that seed germinate in your life.  He is the one who will make you victorious!  Hallelujah! 1 Cor 15:57 “Thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  NIV

Will you join me and turn your eyes to Jesus who is the One who will make you victorious?  Accept His call at http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html and enjoy the One who really does love you.  Won’t you do this now?  Join the ranks of those who are neither religious nor legalistic, but are true Christians as they are the ones who follow truly Jesus in word and example.

Rob Chaffart

Roy Robertson was a soldier at Pearl Harbor in 1941: "My ship, the West Virginia, docked at Pearl Harbor on the evening of December 6, 1941. A couple of the fellows and I left the ship that night and attended a Bible study. About fifteen sailors sat in a circle on the floor. The leader asked us to each recite our favorite Scripture verse. In turn each sailor shared a verse and briefly commented on it.

I sat there in terror. I grew up in a Christian home, went to church three times a week, but I couldn't recall a single verse. Finally, I remembered one verse - John 3:16. I silently rehearsed it in my mind. The spotlight of attention grew closer as each sailor took his turn. It was up to the fellow next to me. He recited John 3:16. He took my verse! As he commented on it I sat there in stunned humiliation. In a few moments everyone would know that I could not recall from memory even a single verse. Later that night I went to bed thinking, 'Robertson, you're a fake.'

At 7:55 the next morning I was awakened by the ship alarm ordering us to battle stations. 360 planes of the Japanese Imperial Fleet were attacking our ship and the other military installations. My crew and I raced to our machine gun emplacement, but all we had was practice ammunition. So for the first fifteen minutes of the two-hour battle, we only fired blanks hoping to scare the Japanese airplanes.

As I stood there firing fake ammunition I thought, 'Robertson, this is how your whole life has been - firing blanks for Christ.' I made up my mind as Japanese bullets slammed into our ship, "If I escape with my life, I will get serious about following Jesus." Roy Robertson did get serious. He became the first missionary of "The Navigators" and did a lot of work with Billy Graham as well.

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2003, Devotional E-Mail DEVOTIONS IN 1 CORINTHIANS pkennedy@devotional.com

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This is a very good question. I pray that the Lord will open the eyes of our understanding on this matter. According to Matthew 7:15 - 20, Jesus said "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Jesus also said to "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) In Galatians 5:19 - 24, the apostle Paul says "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."

The scriptures listed above tell us that a person is known by their fruit (actions). Someone may say that a person can do a lot of good deeds with the wrong motives. God is the Only One Who knows what is in a person's heart. Eventually, the real person will come to the surface. If a person is truly born-again, he/she will not habitually practice doing what is evil in the sight of God. Notice what Paul says in Galatians chapter five: the fruit (evidence or actions) of the Spirit (Holy Spirit) is love, joy, peace,... These characteristics must be evident in a person who calls himself/herself a Christian. However, it does take time for the fruit to develop in our lives. People who habitually practice the characteristics of the works of the flesh are not truly Christians. I know that sounds like a judgment statement. I am not judging anyone; it is the Word of God that is the Judge. If a person is truly a Christian, he/she would walk in love, peace, joy, longsuffering (patience), meekness,... Each Christian should let his/her light shine so that others will see our good works and glorify God. Remember, being a Christian means to be like Christ (the Anointed One and His Anointing) and it is the anointing that is the burden moving, yoke breaking, yoke destroying power of God. Therefore, it is our responsibility to represent Christ in our thoughts, words and deeds.

Yours in Christ,

Melvin M. Lewis

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By showing the love of Jesus Christ! It is the kind of love that we must have for all men – even our enemies (Matt. 5:44). The Christian must always act out of love, i.e., in the best interest of his fellow human beings.

First Corinthians 13:1-13 says it best of all...

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known. But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

DeeDee

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A true Christian can be recognized by their fruits. The fruits of the spirit are as follows: love, joy, peace, kindness, self-control, to name a few. A true Christian's fruits are that of the spirit. The fruits of the spirit can be located in Ephesians...

Regards, Beverleigh Pinches

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By walking by faith and living according to His Words, a true Christian is recognized as the glory of God permeates from his day-to-day living.

From Bali

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"...Assuredly I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kindom of heaven.", NKJV. Christ makes it clear that to be a true Christian one must have the unquestioning faith of a little child in his parent. Christ's entire life was one of unquestioning faith in His Father, His Parent. The true Christian will desire to duplicate His example. As Christ was filled with the Holy Spirit, (which gave Him the power to be absolutely obedient) "...He took the lowest place, and let himself be put to death, even the death of the cross.", BBE, so we must be filled with the Holy Spirit that we, also, may have the moral and will power to be obedient to all God's requirements.

Our death, on a cross or by any other manner, will avail nothing. We deserve death because "...all have sinned and come short of the glory of God". Rom. 3:23, KJV, and "...the wages of sin is death;" (but He didn't stop there He said) "but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom. 6:23, KJV. God, our Father, "...so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life" Jn.3:16, KJV. Therefore, a True Christian will be recognized by his love of God. How does one demonstrate his love of God? Christ said "If ye love me, keep my commandments". Jn. 14:15, KJV. Jesus also said, "He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" 1Jn. 2:4, KJV. It will never be difficult to recognize a true Christian because there will be total obedience to God's commandments, the first four demonstrating his love for God and the last six demonstrating his love for his fellow man.

Cliff K.

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As man sees only the outward appearance the only way we will know other Christians is by their actions, or fruit. Jesus said a good tree produces good fruit and he also said 'if you love Me keep my commandments'

Kent

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The 5th to last book of the New Testament, 1 John, is written as an answer to this question. John, the author, is very right brained so it is written in an artistic style as opposed to a logical style. Therefore, ,you have to read the whole 5 chapters to really get the answers. Near the end of it though, he says he wrote it so that we may know that we have eternal life!

Todd Shilt

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A true Christian can be recognized by his fruit. John 14 or 15.

Linda

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By the fruit they produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Those who have nailed their natural evil desires to his cross and crucified them there and living by the Holy Spirit's power.

Josie Gonzalez

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By their fruits.

Cille Smith

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You will know them by their fruit.

Geraldine Rietdyk

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A true Christian is also someone who follow the ten commandments that is all ten and not trying to find any excuses for not keeping one. His  life should be base on following God and walking in the footsteps of Jesus, so thus a Christian is someone who has soul winning as his utmost desire.

Ravi Lamontagne

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By his good behaviour that displays the qualities Jesus had.,

SS Mzimela

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A Christian (a real one) can be recognized by his/her fruits. Matthew 715-19.

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."

Conversely, if we can recognize a false prophet by their works, we can recognize a Christian by theirs. THERE IS MORE.

John 13:34,35.

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." See also Matthew 5:14-16.

"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

:Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

THERE'S MORE.

2 Corinthians 3:2.

"Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:"

Yours, because of Calvary,

Delmer G. Lawson

 

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