Claiming Jesus

    I read an article by the Gallup Poll published in 2017 the other day, it claimed that 75% of American's now identify as Christian. That is three fourth's of our nation. In 2001, according to ABC news, it was 83%. The number of self-identifying Christians has declined in America.

   That means out of those who were polled 75% of them believe in 1 John 1:7, that "the blood of Jesus...cleanses us from all sin." Not some sin, all sin. That means that only 75% of America believe 1 John 2:2, that Jesus Christ "is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world."  Meaning it is declining in America that Jesus is the atoning sacrifice. Not 'a' atoning sacrifice but 'the' atoning sacrifice.

     That also means, now 25% of America believe that Jesus' atoning sacrifice did not appease or satisfy the anger of God, the wrath of God, because of sin. In addition, it means that 25% of America believe that Jesus' blood did not appease the wrath of God not only towards our sin, but towards "the sins of the whole world." Seventy-five percent might seem large and 25% might seem small, but in all actuality, that is a lot.

   Here is my question however. Out of the 75%, how do I know who really is a Christian, and who is not? We live in an age of skepticism. Personally, I am not skeptical about the ones who do not claim Jesus, but more skeptical about those who do. Why? I question their motive. Why are they a Christian? I question if they know of Jesus or if they really know Jesus? If they are a Christian because they were raised in church or if they are a follower of Jesus because they have encountered Him? Make sense?

   Let's answer this question, how do we know who know's Jesus and who does not? This question can also be applied to one's self by forming it this way - how do I know if I know Jesus or not? Answer: "And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments" (1 John 2:3). John's answer to us is summed up in one word - obedience. We know who know's Jesus because they obey His commands.

   Instead of the Gallup Poll asking who identifies themselves as Christian, the better question to be asked, I think, is - Do you follow Jesus' commands. And that is the question one must ask themselves. Do they read the Bible and do what it says. Those who read and obey what Jesus teaches, they are the ones who know Jesus.

  Anyone can claim to know Christ but not everyone follows. 1 John 2:4 says, "Whoever says, 'I know him but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him." To them who claim to know Jesus but do not obey Jesus do not know Jesus; they are liars.

   Christianity believes that by faith alone we are saved, but do deed's matter? Must I change what I do just because I claim to be a Christian? As James 2:24 writes, "You see a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." If a person claims to know Jesus, yet they continue in sin, as though nothing has happened, according to James, they are not saved. For example, if an alcoholic claims he has come to know Jesus but continues in his alcoholism, he does not know Christ. The Bible teaches he is a liar. If someone raises their hand in response to the preacher and claims to know Christ, but he continues in his porn, he does not know Christ. He is a liar. Despite what someone might claim, if their actions are unchanged after claiming having come to know Christ, they are lying and know Him not.

   In conclusion, who does know Jesus? Answer: "but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked" (1 John 2:5,6). You know if the love of God is perfected in you and that you truly know Jesus, if you obey Christ. The question is not who claims Jesus, but who obeys Jesus? Those who believe & obey Jesus are the ones justified. Just my thoughts, but I would imagine if the Gallup Poll asked who actually obey's Jesus more than just claim Him, that 75% would reduce more.

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