Essentials for Salvation

Keith Green puts it this way. The definition of a real Christian is someone who is “bananas for Jesus.” I like that. It is simple. Most of all, it is true. Am I “bananas for Jesus?” As yourself the question. Am I willing to do absolutely anything for Him? (If not, am I willing to confess that to Him, so that He can change me?) These are the types of questions one might expect from a real, committed Christian.

A Christian is not someone who works hard at making sure he fulfills the righteous requirements of the law in order to be accepted by God. If so, where would he be? The Bible says that he who keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point is “guilty of breaking the whole law.” (James 2:10). So a Christian is not someone who can say, “I have kept the whole law, this is the basis for which God must accept me.” Rather, a Christian is someone who accepts the fact that he has broken God’s laws. He is someone who stands and says, “Be merciful to me, oh, God. I am a sinner.”

A Christian is someone who recognizes that salvation can be found in no one else but Jesus alone. (Acts 4:12). A Christian does not say, “Oh yes, Jesus is but one of many ways to finding favor and acceptance with God.” No, a Christian does not say that and so profane the name of his God. Rather, a Christian gladly confesses, “There is only one way to finding acceptance before God. It is not by my religious works. It is not by any other means, except by the blood of Jesus.” (Hebrews 9:22)

A Christian desires to share his faith with others, so that they, too, can find the same joy and acceptance that he has found by trusting in Christ as his Savior. A Christian is “not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16). A Christian is zealous for (eager to do) good works, not because he is afraid that God might not accept him unless he does them, but, rather, because God has done so much for him already in sending His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross.

A Christian puts himself in the position of humility before God his Creator. “I am small. You are great.” A Christian at all times thinks of God his Creator, and never lets the thought of his Creator slip from his mind. Before acting, or doing something, a Christian is always thinking to himself, “Will this be pleasing to God my Creator?” A Christian is very concerned at all times about this one essential element of his faith.

A Christian understands that “faith without works” is like having a little baby that doesn’t cry. Crying is not required in order to become a baby, and so, too, works are not required in order to become a Christian, which is by faith alone. However, having a baby that doesn’t cry, is entirely inconsistent with the nature of a baby. So, too, a Christian who believes it is all right to “do nothing” is entirely inconsistent with who he was created to be. As a child of God, he was “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10).

A Christian “confesses with his mouth Jesus as Lord, and believes in his heart that God raised Him from the dead.” (Romans 10:9-10). Otherwise, if he didn’t believe that God raised him from the dead, his faith would be useless, without effect, and he would “still be in his sins.” He had might as well not call himself a Christian, but rather, a pagan (1 Corinthians 15:12-17). A Christian believes in the resurrection from the dead, and eagerly looks forward to that for his own body, realizing that, one day, his decaying body will indeed require it!

A Christian is in love with Jesus, and cries for the things that Jesus cries for, laughs for the things that Jesus laughs for, is intimately acquainted with the things that Jesus is intimately acquainted with, etc. In fact, a Christian is “just like Jesus” in all his ways — at least, that is the objective to which he is purposefully striving and for which he has yielded his life to God. (Romans 8:29). A Christian does realize that he is not perfect. But he understands that God is “working on him,” so that he can become all that God ever intended for his life.

A Christian is sorry for the wrong things that he has done. But, through forgiveness, has appropriated a new joy and happiness in life. (1 John 1:9). This happiness is not fleeting, but based on the true forgiveness of sins which can be found in Jesus alone. A Christian is entirely dependent upon this forgiveness. A Christian realizes that, at the cross, all of his sins — past, present, and future — were entirely forgiven him. The slate was wiped clean, and he was made a “new creation” in Jesus Christ. Today, he can move forward in “newness of life” because of that forgiveness. This is a cause for continual rejoicing, and bowing at the feet of his Master, Jesus.

A Christian has a passion for the lost, and, like Samson of old (in a manner of speaking), desires to put all his strength into “taking as many with him before he dies.” A Christian will not be satisfied with mediocrity or doing a half-job. Whatever he does, in the giftings that God has given to him, he does “with all his might.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). This, he understands, is one of his responsibilities before his Creator, and something which, one day, he will be judged for.

A Christian understands that his works will indeed be “judged by fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). He wants to do a good job before God his creator. A Christian rests in the fact that God loves him unconditionally, but, like the apostle Paul, can “never rest” while there is yet still work to do on this earth. And like Jesus, he agrees, “We must work the works of God while it is still day. Night is coming when no man can work.” (John 9:4). A Christian therefore sees his time as being precious. The hours are ticking, and souls are wondering, “Who cares? Is this Christianity stuff for real?” A Christian “makes the most of every opportunity, knowing that the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16).

A Christian rejoices in all the good that God has done for him, not focusing on the bad things that have come along in his life. Like Rahab of old (who was a prostitute), or Paul of old (who was one who consented to the murder of God’s people), a Christian “pushes forward” with his “new life in Christ,” realizing indeed that he is a “new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Updated: April 14, 1998