Who Are the True Christians?

Much confusion surrounds the name “Christian.” Does it refer to those who go to a “Christian” church? Or to those who simply profess faith in Jesus Christ? Or does “Christian” describe those whose lives reflect, to a substantial degree, their faith in Christ? Jesus had warned against false prophets, saying, “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16). Immediately after that, He declared, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (7:21). In this passage, He continues His rebuke of the Pharisees, whom everyone considered to be very religious, and who considered themselves to be righteous. Jesus saw them differently. Both their works and their words proved them to be hypocrites. Likewise, today many people say they believe in Jesus Christ as Lord, but how many live accordingly? What “fruit” do they bear in daily life? A “good tree” – that is, a true believer – will sink its roots deep into God’s Word each day, and soak that reading with prayer. He or she will bear the “fruit” of humility, trust in God alone, and love towards others (John 15:1-10; Galatians 5:22-24). While working hard to complete the tasks set before him, a real Christian sets his hope on the next life, and does not live for success or satisfaction in this life. People will notice the relative absence of pride and passion, and the greater degree of unselfish service towards God and others in the life of one who sincerely trusts in Christ. What kind of “tree” are you?