Accepting Christ Plus What Else Makes You A Christian?

Ephesian 2:8 – 9 – “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Romans 11:6 – “And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”

Depending on where a person receives Christ as their Savior they may ask: “Now what must I do?”  The response may be: “I have this manual that will give you all of the do’s and don’ts of being a Christian”.  You may respond and say:  “I thought the only thing required was to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love others as yourself.”  “Oh no!  You now must work your way to heaven.”   It seems every religion, denomination or cult all have different manuals that must be followed.  Why is it the Baptists have a list, Methodists another, Jehovah Witnesses their own, Catholics a different one and the Mormon’s have another?

Martin Luther didn’t think the Catholics were teaching the correct theology and changed the requirements.  A Lutheran minister thought things were too traditional and made a list for Methodists.  A Methodist minister thought they were too liberal and made a Baptist list of requirements.  On and on it went until we have over a hundred different lists.   Whose list is the most correct and the one that should be followed?  Who is right?  If you are a member of a certain denomination you probably think your list of the things a Christian must do is the best one and the only one that will totally please God and assure your entrance into Heaven.

So the question is: “What must we do after salvation to become what Christ wants us to be”?  The Bible is very clear; salvation is a gift from God and has nothing to do with works.  Then why does most every belief indicate that you must fulfill certain requirements to get to Heaven?  When someone gives us a gift do we not feel obligated to give something in return?  Or, we must do something to earn God’s favor.  It seems if someone doesn’t set a standard for us to live by, we would live no differently than we lived as a sinner.

The Bible teaches that if we truly love God and others we will want to do good deeds and to serve Him and others. We may also do it to prove that we have repented and want to share our blessings with others.  We serve out of love and not because it is mandatory.

What Christ did on earth was to give us an example as how we are to live.  It is through the Holy Spirit that guides and encourages us to become more like Him.  When we accepted Christ, didn’t we make a commitment to Him saying I will allow Your Spirit to work through me?  Do you serve Him because you feel you must or are you following guidelines that someone has set as a standard for you?  Will you have the same passion in serving somewhere you are mandated to serve rather than if you were serving out of love and because you truly wanted to?  Would you prefer listening to the Holy Spirit’s guidance or what the church’s manual tells you to do?

James 1:26 – 27 – “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

This is one example of what we should do as Christians in loving others.  Christians are to practice God’s Words and share them with others.  What we say reveals what we have in our hearts.  Unless our hearts are changed through salvation what we say will not be any different from before.

No matter how zealous, legalistic or fanatical we may live our lives the only thing we will be judged on is how we treat others and how we serve God.  The plus, after accepting Christ as our Savior, all boils down to Mark 12:30 – 31 – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  ‘There is no commandment greater than these.’”  There is no other “plus”!  If we love God as commanded we will live to please Him as we strive to develop the mind of Christ.

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