There are so many people claiming to be “Christian” in the times we live in. These people go to church every Sunday, they may actually even read their bibles! Politically, the great majority seem to be firmly with the Republican Religious Right; these will infer in no nonsense tones that “the Christian Left” is a misnomer, an oxymoron–well, it isn’t. There are strong, faithful Democratic believers in Jesus Christ, despite what those on the political right may claim. Those struggling to remain independent of a political party are frowned upon and told to choose whom they will serve, God or Satan, as if being a Christian Republican is a given and the only valid choice.
The agenda of the religious right is not Christian in the least, unfortunately. New Christians will certainly be surprised to find that very little of the Republican party’s actual platform lines up with the teachings of Jesus Christ Himself; this can cause confusion for the sincere follower of Christ.
How do we recognize the faithful, the sincere among us who are living their daily lives as Jesus instructed them to? How do we know if they really have the Holy Spirit within them, despite their politics, religious doctrine, or the church they attend? What does the bible tell us?
Most Christians will probably not live their lives perfectly all the time. In the bible, even the favored of God found the Christian life to be challenging; this is why they turned to one another for teaching, clarity, guidance, and encouragement. They were told to love one another. There are so many who claim Christ, but are not loving or encouraging. Some Christians are cliquish and judgmental. Some Christians are more about fear, anger, and argument than about loving one another. It’s not easy to deceive other Christians indefinitely though; eventually the reality of who someone is shines through.
The following suggests five tests that will reveal truth. The bible says we can even test ourselves in 2 Corinthians 13:5:
“Now then; let us reflect on these “tests” and give ourselves an honest self-rating of “Christ in Us” in these five areas.
Gospel Belief and Confession: Do you believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Have you held fast to sound doctrine against the many false prophets offering a different gospel?
Born Again / Spirit of Adoption / The Lord’s Correction: Are you born from above? Do you have that ongoing “Abba, Father!” instinct within, that inner knowing of your relationship with Him? Is God treating you as His child when you fall into sin?
Repentance / Freedom from Sin: Have you resolutely turned away from sin? Do you habitually sin, or can you praise God in spirit and truth that He has truly “set you free indeed?”
Good Works by God’s Grace: Have you been given a grace-gift of ministry to serve others with? Is your life living proof of Christ in you, or have you only “mere words” and self-delusion to cling to?
The Fruit of the Spirit: Are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control manifesting and growing in your life? Are you producing fruit in keeping with repentance?
As we go through the various seasons of life we might well find ourselves deficient in one or more of these tests. Seeing the whole of them can illuminate where we have stumbled, and encourage us to deal honestly and urgently with any problem areas.”