Real Conversion

By COGwriter

Do real Christians kill? Are they serial adulters? Are they main political leaders in society? Do they blend in so well that no one can tell them apart from non-Christians?

The basic answer is no.

Even though there are major politicians that claim to be Christian, most who claim to be Christian are not.

Here is a link to a related sermon: Christian Conversion.

Who is a Real Christian?

In order to be a real Christian, you have had a real conversion.

The Bible teaches that real Christians are those who have the Spirit of God, believe the Bible, try to walk as Jesus walked, keep the commandments, and understand and practice love.

Real Christians have the Holy Spirit of God:

9. However, you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God is indeed dwelling within you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10. But if Christ be within you, the body is indeed dead because of sin; however, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11. Now if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead is dwelling within you, He Who raised Christ from the dead will also quicken your mortal bodies because of His Spirit that dwells within you. (Romans 8:9-11, A Faithful Version)

Real Christians hear the gospel message, accept that they have sinned and need God, have repented of their sins, accept God's calling, declare and believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, have been properly baptized, and possess God's Holy Spirit (Acts 2:39; Romans 8:9-11).

Who receives God's Spirit? The repentant believers (Acts 2:38) who obey:

32 ... the Holy Spirit, which God has given to those who obey Him. (Acts 5:32, A Faithful Version)

Those who are trying to properly obey God are not real Christians and have not been truly converted.

Furthermore, God knows who His own are:

9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God (Galatians 4:9)

3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him (1 Corinthians 8:2-3).

11...we are well known to God (2 Corinthians 5:11)

77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins (Luke 1:77).

Thus, it is God who truly knows who the real Christians are.

Real Christians keep the commandments and strive to walk as Jesus Christ walked:

4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:4-6).

Most religions that profess Christ, however, chose to walk a different way than Jesus did (see also What Did Jesus Teach About the Ten Commandments? and Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from Protestantism).

Jesus also taught:

35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35)

Most religions, however, that profess Christ choose to allow warfare and other activities that do not show love to one's neighbor (Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?). Yet, most who profess Christianity are affiliated with a faith that encourages them to support carnal warfare.

Love, not war, is what life is supposed to be all about (see also What is the Meaning of Life?).

To be really converted means to change your ways, it means to shift your focus from the carnal material world to the reality of God and His kingdom. Although I have referred to part of Romans 8 already, let's look at more of it:

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. (Romans 8:1-9)

Now, that is not to say that this is an easy process. In addition to our own weaknesses, Satan tempts us and Christians need to put on the whole armor of God:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints — 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:10-20)

Converted Christians realize that they do need God and His assistance to overcome and do as God wants them to do.

If God is calling you, you need to fully respond. More on being called is in the free online booklet: Is God Calling You?

Real conversion is also an attitude, a willingness to believe God and do what God wants. This helps demonstrate faith and humility. Notice something that Jesus taught:

2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-4)

One is to humble oneself to change and be properly converted.

Jesus also taught that many would not stay the course (Matthew 4;14-19), if they even begin it.

Christians are Subject to Difficulties

For loving as Jesus taught, Christians will be hated and persecuted:

16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

18 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a cause. (John 15:16-25)

(For more details on persecution see Persecutions by Church and State and/or the video The Coming Persecution of the Church.)

Jesus also taught that many would not stay with as true followers as they would let other things distract them:

14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they stumble. 18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred. (Mark 4:14-20)

Jesus also warned:

33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

And doing what we are supposed to do as Christians shows that we have faith. And it is not easy.

22 ... Have faith in God (Mark 11:22).

Apparently there were heretical people in the time of the apostles who did not believe that they had to do anything and that their faith was sufficient. But notice what James told them:

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25)

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe — and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. (James 2:14-24)

Perhaps the above is why Martin Luther criticized this book of the Bible and tried to diminished it (see Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible?). But the really converted try to understand it and practice what God inspired James to write.

Real Conversion

But do Christians sin?

Sadly, yes.

Herbert Armstrong wrote:

DO CHRISTIANS ever sin? If one does, is he lost?

First let me ask -- and answer the question "What is true Christian conversion?" "What is a real Christian in the sight of God?" Does joining a church make one a Christian? Does saying, "I accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour" make one a Christian?

Let's get the Bible definition. In Romans 8:6-9 you will read: "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind [fleshly mind] is enmity [hostile] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh [fleshly minded] cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

A Christian, then, is one who has received, and in whose mind dwells the Holy Spirit of God. Otherwise he is NOT Christ's -- NOT a Christian...

Real Conversion

There is a sense in which true conversion does take place at a definite time -- all at once. But it is also true that in another sense conversion is worked out gradually -- a process of development and growth.

Now NOTICE carefully!

WHEN does one really become a Christian? It is when he receives God's Holy Spirit. In Romans 8:9, we read that unless we have the Holy Spirit, we are not Christ's -- not Christians.

There is a definite TIME when God's Spirit enters into one. At the very moment he receives the Holy Spirit, he is, in this first sense, converted. Yes, all at once! If he has Christ's Spirit, he is CHRIST'S -- he is a Christian! The very Life of God has entered into (impregnated) him. He has been begotten as a child of God.

But does that mean his salvation is complete? Is he now fully and finally "saved"? Is that all there is to it? Is he now, suddenly, perfect? Is it now impossible for him to do WRONG?

No! FAR FROM IT! BUT WHY? What's the answer? Why do so many MISunderstand?

Why does almost NOBODY understand the very PURPOSE of the Christian life?

The Purpose of the Christian Life

WHY do people not understand the very Gospel Jesus Christ taught? He taught the KINGDOM OF GOD. So did the apostles, including Paul. Jesus spoke mostly in parables. Take a quick look at one or two. Notice what Jesus revealed. Notice the awe-inspiring TREMENDOUS potential that is ours.

Take the parable of the nobleman going to a far country, later to return. It is in Luke 19:11-27. Jesus is the Nobleman. He was going to a far country -- to the heaven of God's throne, seat of the government of the entire universe. He spoke this parable because His disciples thought the Kingdom of God should appear immediately. So far more than 1900 years have gone by, and the Kingdom of God has not yet appeared.

So He called, in the parable, his ten servants, and He gave them ten pounds -- a pound each, using, in our English language translation, the English unit of money. This is symbolic of one unit of SPIRITUAL VALUE with which each was started out. In other words, representative of the portion of God's Holy Spirit which was given to each on initial conversion.

But His citizens hated Him. They rejected Him as their RULER. They said, "We will not have this man to REIGN OVER us. The Kingdom of God is a RULING GOVERNMENT. They, as of then, received no conversion -- no "pounds." (They shall yet find conversion, as many, many passages of Scripture affirm).

Now the reason for His going to heaven was to "receive for himself a KINGDOM, and to return." That is, He was going to the throne of the Government of the entire universe where God Almighty, the Father, sits, to have conferred on Him the RULERSHIP OF THE WORLD. The coronation ceremony will take place in heaven, at the throne of UNIVERSE RULE. When He returns He will be crowned with MANY CROWNS (Rev. 19:12). He is coming to RULE ALL NATIONS with almighty divine POWER (verse 15).

Back to Luke 19. On his return, his servants, to whom he had given the money -- that is, the beginning unit of GOD'S SPIRIT at conversion -- are to be called to an accounting, "that he might know how much each man had GAINED" while he was gone. This means each Christian is expected to GROW spiritually -- in spiritual KNOWLEDGE and grace (see II Peter 3:18). The Christian life is a life of spiritual GOING TO SCHOOL -- of training for a POSITION IN GOD'S KINGDOM, when and after we shall be changed from mortal to immortal -- when we shall be no longer flesh-and-blood humans, but composed of SPIRIT, with eternal life inherent.

In the parable, the first came to report he had multiplied what he had been given TEN TIMES. You see, the receiving of God's Spirit is GOD'S GIFT -- that is what God does -- it comes by GRACE, as a gift. WE CAN'T EARN IT. But all through the New Testament it is made plain we shall be REWARDED according to OUR WORKS. Not SAVED by works we have done. This man had, by his own application, multiplied his spiritual gift ten times -- his one pound was now ten pounds. He received a greater REWARD than the one who gained five pounds.

The nobleman (Christ) said to him, "Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in very little, have thou AUTHORITY over TEN CITIES.

He had qualified to RULE. He had been obedient to God's commands -- God's government. We have to BE RULED before we can learn to RULE.

The second servant had increased his spiritual stock of goods five times. He had qualified, in this life, for HALF as much as the first servant. He was given HALF the REWARD.

The Kingdom of God

So the parable of the pounds shows Christians are to RULE under Christ, when the Kingdom of God is set up. Jesus was speaking of GOVERNMENT -- world government. This parable was given to show that the Kingdom of God was not to appear at that time. The Kingdom is not an ethereal, sentimental something "in our hearts." It is not the Church.

Daniel's prophecy shows that the SAINTS are to RULE, under Christ the Messiah, when he sets up literal WORLD GOVERNMENT. See Daniel 2 -- read it through and then notice verse 44. This Kingdom will break in pieces every other form of government -- all rule of man -- and will stand forever. Notice Daniel 7: And especially verses 18 and 22. It will be an earthly kingdom -- not in heaven, but "UNDER the whole heaven," verse 27.

Jesus said: "And he that overcometh, and keepeth MY WORKS unto the end, to him will I give POWER over the nations: and he shall RULE THEM with a rod of iron (Rev. 2:26-27).

He said, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne. even as I also overcame, and am set down with my father in his throne" (Rev. 3:21). When Jesus said this, through John in the 90's A.D., He was in heaven with His Father on the throne from which the entire universe is governed.

When Jesus sits on His own throne on this earth it will be the throne of David, in Jerusalem. Notice what is said of Jesus: "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall REIGN over the House of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:32-33).

But He was not going to set up the world government of the Kingdom of God at that time. The Bible speaks of three worlds -- or ages -- in time order. First, the world that then was, overflowed with water -- prior to the flood; second, this present evil world; and third the world to come. On trial for His life before Pilate, Jesus said He was born to be a king (John 18:37), but that His kingdom was not of this world. He will rule THE WORLD TOMORROW (verse 36).

The saints (Spirit-led Christians) are to reign, under Christ, "ON THE EARTH" (Rev. 5:10), for a thousand years (Rev. 20:4, 6).

WHY has the whole world been deceived with a false gospel (Rev. 12:9)? WHY have they been deceived into belief in a counterfeit Kingdom of God? (Request our free booklets What Is the True Gospel? and Just What Do You Mean -- the Kingdom of God?).

Look again at the many parables of Jesus. They teach the Kingdom of God. They make plain the fact the Kingdom of God is the WORLD GOVERNMENT soon, now, to be set up by Christ, coming in ALL POWER and GLORY, to bring us world peace, abundance, happiness and joy.

The purpose of the Christian life is to train future KINGS to rule with and under Christ. How then, does one become a Christian? When? And WHY IS salvation a PROCESS, as well as an initial phase when he becomes a Christian instantaneously?

Here is the PLAIN TRUTH YOU need to know. (Armstrong HW. Just What Do You Mean -- Repentance?)

Christians strive to live their lives so that they can rule with Christ in the Kingdom of God.

Converted Christians Have Truly Repented

True Christians repent, are baptized and receive God's Holy Spirit, as the Apostle Peter taught:

38 "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:38-39)

19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19-21)

Note that you must actually repent to be converted.

Herbert Armstrong wrote:

What Is Repentance?

If an increase in the interest in religion around the world doesn't show repentance, what does? If the great evangelistic campaigns aren't producing it, how do you get it? Where does it come from? What does it mean?

The dictionary definition of repentance is: "To feel self-reproach, compunction, or contrition for past conduct, to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one's life for the better" ("The American College Dictionary").

The Bible definition means all of that AND MUCH MORE!

Godly repentance means to stop sinning, to turn and go the other way — TO CHANGE YOUR WAY OF LIFE! It s not always easy to say, "I'm sorry." But it s even harder to MEAN IT. Godly repentance has to come FROM THE HEART.

In speaking of Great Britain — God's people Ephraim — whom He's going to punish for their lack of repentance, God says: "And they have not cried unto me WITH THEIR HEART, when they howled upon their beds: ... they rebel against me. Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against me. They return, BUT NOT TO THE MOST HIGH" (Hosea 7:14-16).

Your Bible says people have made an OUTWARD show of returning to Him or repenting, but they haven't done it WITH THEIR HEARTS! Ephraim's — Britain's — repentance, and for that matter, that of the rest of the world, is the outward, superficial, WORLDLY REPENTANCE with no real sincerity or DEEP feeling.

Repent of What?

What is it you repent of or feel sorrow for? To some it is one thing and to others — from another society or religion — it is something altogether different. What does GOD say actually constitutes sin? What would GOD have you repent of?

"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for SIN IS THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW," (I John 3:4).


Any time you break or disobey ANY ONE of the holy, righteous commandments of God, YOU HAVE SINNED. You need to repent. No one is excluded. No man, woman or child has ever lived who hasn't disobeyed and broken God's law (Rom. 3:10, 23). Therefore, EVERY ONE of you needs to repent deeply and bitterly with all your heart. You need to turn TO GOD for forgiveness. You need to begin to obey Him and keep His commandments — all His commandments — with zeal. For "He that saith, I know him {I am a Christian}, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (I John 2:4).

Where Repentance Comes From

We can't just drum up the deep feeling of abhorrence for our sin and our own utter wretchedness. It has to come FROM GOD.

"Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the GOODNESS OF GOD LEADETH YOU TO REPENTANCE" (Rom 2:4).

II Timothy 2:25 tells us, "... IF GOD PERADVENTURE WILL GIVE THEM REPENTANCE to the acknowledging of the truth."

It is God who helps us to see our own wretchedness and shortcomings. He opens our minds and starts us on the way toward repentance.

How Repentance Starts

There are definite steps to take if you sincerely desire to repent and serve God. They are simple steps. Anyone who will follow them can be guaranteed he will find the true God and the deep repentance that God requires.

Your Bible names dozens of men who are going to be in the Kingdom of God. Such men as David, Daniel and other of the prophets of God are guaranteed salvation and a place in His Kingdom. They found how to reach the Creator of the universe. Their example will help us to see how we might attain the same goal.

They all had one very essential thing in common. As soon as they realized God was displeased with them or their nation's ways, they set out to correct it. But how can you know when the Father in Heaven is displeased? How do you know when any father, who really loves his children and has their welfare at heart, is displeased?

"Chastise your son, while there is still hope of him, and do not let him run to ruin" (Prov. 19:18, Moffatt Translation).

Our Heavenly Father many times begins to deal with us and bring us to repentance through chastening. Often He allows financial problems, family problems, sickness, or other serious situations to develop in our lives which will force us to realize OUR NEED of Him. These very things have occurred in your life, but chances are you didn't appreciate them.

These trials are proof of the Father's love for each one of us. Notice Hebrews 12:6-8. "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?"

Seek God!

Instead of fighting these problems in our own strength, we need to learn the lesson God is teaching us. We need to begin to SEEK Him. He doesn't need US. WE DO NEED HIM!

Daniel was inspired to record his own reactions in such a case as this for our instruction. "And I set my face unto the Eternal God, to seek by prayer and supplication with fasting and sackcloth and ashes", (Dan. 9:3).

Nehemiah's example is also recorded for us. When he found that his nation which had returned to Palestine was in affliction and reproach, here's what he did. "And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven" (Neh. 1:4). He immediately set out to draw close to God. He didn't do it in a half-hearted, lackadaisical, matter-of-fact way. He did it earnestly, sincerely and WITH ALL HIS HEART. He set himself to find God and His will by PRAYER and FASTING. These men EARNESTLY desired to find God's will. They were willing to do whatever was required to draw close to Him and receive His forgiveness. They were willing to do without food and water if necessary to demonstrate to God their sincere desire to know His way. (Just what do you mean repentance?)

Repentance and receiving God's Spirit is needed for real conversion. A real convert changes his/her life and strives to live as a Christian.

But how does one receive the Spirit of God?

On the day the Church of God was started, the Apostle Peter said, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38)--and shortly thereafter, Peter said God gives His Holy Spirit "to those who obey Him" (Acts 5:32, AFV.

Is obedience actually a salvation issue?


Notice something that the New Testament teaches about that and Jesus:

9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, (Hebrews 5:9)

Jesus is the author of eternal salvation for those who obey Him. Not just those who talk about Him or believe they did wonders in Jesus' name:

21 "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. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (Matthew 7:21-23)

Jesus was talking about those who experienced a false conversion. They practices "lawlessness," which means that they will not proper obey God and His laws.

False Conversion

Most who profess Jesus Christ as Saviour are not converted.

Here is something that Herbert Armstrong wrote:

IT'S DIFFICULT to believe, but it's true. In today's religious confusion millions have supposed they had salvation spiritually - they have believed on Jesus Christ - and are not saved!

Would you suppose one could actually worship Christ - and all in vain?

Do you know what Jesus himself said of these people who want to worship him without obedience to God's Commandments?

Listen to his words: "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men... Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition" (Mark 7:7-9). 

Back to the Faith Once Delivered

But what does GOD tell you in his Word?

Through Jude, God says: "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares . .. ungodly men, turning the GRACE of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 3-4).

Yes, even before the New Testament was completely written, ungodly men had crept inside the Church to corrupt it - turning GRACE into LASCIVIOUSNESS.

And what is "lasciviousness"? It means "license" - unrestrained liberty - abuse of privilege. In other words, license to do that which seems right in human eyes - according to human conscience - though it disobeys God's LAW! And that is exactly what those ungodly men, even in the first century, did - turned GRACE into unrestrained privilege to disobey God's law and turned to human conscience as a guide! And once introduced, the practice has persisted and spread over the whole world until today!

This is one of the FABLES the apostle Paul warned us men would turn to. Paul said: "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. . . . For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts [lasciviousness - human reasoning] shall they ... turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto FABLES" (II Tim. 3:13; 4:3, 4).

But, one will argue, Jude said these men would deny the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not the men who teach a "no works" doctrine believe in Christ? Do they deny him?

Yes, they DENY him! God says: "They profess that they know God; but IN WORKS they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every GOOD work reprobate" (Titus 1:16). The way of human reason - that seems RIGHT - is often DISOBEDIENCE to God! 

What the Savior Himself Taught

These deceived teachers have just one favorite text. They quote Acts 16:31: "BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."

Now that text from the inspired pen of Paul means what it says. But there are two kinds of BELIEVING - the living faith that brings salvation, and a dead "no works" faith that produces only DEATH!

But WHY do they, in their tracts and their sermons, never quote what the Savior himself said in answer to the question? WHY?

Jesus was asked: "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 18:18.) Some might try to tell you that the SAVIOR himself did not know, or teach, the way of SALVATION - he was teaching Old Testament religion. Well, he was asked HOW to gain ETERNAL LIFE. Is that salvation? It certainly is! Old Testament religion teaching lasted until John-not until the cross- not until "Pentecost." Just UNTIL JOHN (Luke 16:16). Jesus preached the SAME gospel he commanded his disciples to teach ALL nations- gentiles included-the same gospel Paul preached to gentiles. He preached only the NEW Testament gospel. He revealed the WAY OF SALVATION.

Here is his answer- that of the SAVIOR HIMSELF on HOW TO BE SAVED:

"IF thou wilt enter into LIFE, keep the commandments." And he enumerated enough of the Ten Commandments to show it was this particular law that must be obeyed AS A CONDITION to receiving eternal life as God's GIFT. Jesus said "IF" - (THERE WAS A CONDITION) - "IF" we are to be saved, by God's grace, WE MUST KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS!

God lays down his own terms and conditions. His FREE GIFT is conditional - you get it ONLY if you "keep the commandments."

You can't EARN it. God GIVES it - but only to those who "KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS." ( FALSE CONVERSION! By Herbert W. Armstrong (Plain Truth Article - Nov. '66)

Many who think that they are Christian, are not.

Develop Character

Herbert Armstrong wrote:

The Christian must develop the righteous CHARACTER to choose the right way, and resist the wrong -- to discipline the self in the way he ought to go, instead of the way of self-desire and vanity.

Perfect Character

God's PURPOSE in having created humanity -- in having caused YOU to be born -- is to reproduce Himself...

God, above all things, is PERFECT, RIGHTEOUS Character! God is able to create character within us; but it must be done as a result of our independent free choice. We, as individual separate entities, have our part in the process.

What is perfect character? It is the ability, in a separate entity with free moral agency, to come to the KNOWLEDGE of the right from the wrong -- the true from the false -- and to CHOOSE the right, and possess the WILL to enforce self-discipline to DO the right and resist the wrong.

Like muscle, character is developed, and grows by exercise. My name is Armstrong. I suppose I could make my arm slightly stronger, and develop the muscle, by constantly bending it back and forth at the elbow. But if I pull, or push, against some heavy weight or resistance, the muscle will develop much faster. There is within us this NATURE that exerts a heavy pull against that perfect righteous character -- to give us something to strive against for the VERY PURPOSE OF STRENGTHENING AND DEVELOPING RIGHT CHARACTER!

God's CHARACTER travels in the direction of His Law -- the way of LOVE. It is an outgoing CONCERN for others. God has that character! He has an outgoing concern for you and for me. He GAVE His only begotten Son to reconcile us to Him and make the JOYS of His character and everlasting life possible for us (John 3:16). He showers on us every good and precious gift. He even puts within us HIS DIVINE NATURE (II Peter 1:4) -- when we repent and turn from the WRONG ways of THIS WORLD, begin to resist it, and turn TO Him through faith in Jesus Christ as personal Saviour!

God's divine nature is the nature of love -- of giving, serving, helping -- of outgoing concern. It is also the nature of humility.

Now when one is converted -- has repented, and turned from this world's false WAYS -- has at once received God's Holy Spirit -- his humanity -- his HUMAN nature does not flee. It too, remains. It still exerts a pull. We still live in THIS PRESENT EVIL WORLD, and it exerts a pull. God still allows Satan to be around; and HE exerts a pull.

So we now have THREE PULLS to RESIST -- to OVERCOME! We must now overcome these three: Satan, this world, and our own SELVES. We have to battle against these three, in order to develop and strengthen RIGHT CHARACTER within us. God says plainly it is THE OVERCOMERS who shall be saved -- who shall REIGN with Christ! (Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21; 21:7.)

God's Help

No human being is strong enough to do this BY HIMSELF! He must seek, and IN FAITH receive, the help and power of GOD. Even with God's power he will not overcome such forces easily or all at once. IT IS NOT EASY! Christ plainly said the way to ultimate salvation is hard, difficult (Matt. 7:13, 14). It's a constant BATTLE -- a struggle against self, the world, and the devil. The creation of CHARACTER comes through EXPERIENCE. It takes TIME!

This development is a PROCESS. It is a matter of GROWTH -- DEVELOPMENT. It requires, to become PERFECT, full and right KNOWLEDGE of the very Word of God; because Jesus taught that we must live by EVERY WORD OF GOD (Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4).

The natural, unconverted mind cannot fully and rightly UNDERSTAND the Scriptures of God. But the Holy Spirit opens the mind to this spiritual comprehension. The acquisition of this KNOWLEDGE, in itself, is a procedure requiring TIME. It is the DOERS of this Word, not hearers only, who shall be saved (Romans 2:13).

But can any man DO, immediately and all at once, this new WAY he now learns about? Can any man, all at once, break all HABITS he now sees are wrong? No, he finds he has a FIGHT against acquired former habits.

He still has this PULL of human nature to overcome. This nature is A LAW working within him -- produced by the broadcasting of Satan the devil -- the Prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2). This whole world is in tune with the very mind of the devil (Rev. 12:9).

The Apostle Paul calls this pull of human nature the law of sin and death. (Just what do you mean conversion?)

Building Character with Love is What this Life is All About

The New Testament teaches that Christians are to strive for perfection and develop righteous character:

1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. (Hebrews 6:1-3)

20 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. (John 17:20-23)

Christians are not perfect, nor are they perfect before baptism. The Apostle Paul admitted that he had not attained that in this life:

12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

But perfection should be a goal.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

1. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2. Through Whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we ourselves boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3. And not only this, but we also boast in tribulations, realizing that tribulation brings forth endurance, 4. And endurance brings forth character, and character brings forth hope. 5. And the hope of God never makes us ashamed because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, which has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5, Faithful Version)

In the early 2nd century, Ignatius of Antioch taught about love, character, and Christ living His life in Christians:

…the believing have, in love, the character of God the Father by Jesus Christ, by whom, if we are not in readiness to die into His passion, His life is not in us. (Ignatius’ Letter to the Magnesians, Chapter 5.  Roberts & Donaldson, Anti-Nicene Fathers)

While the Bible mentions that developing character is important for Christians (Romans 5:4; Philippians 2:22), here is some of what Herbert Armstrong taught about it:

So mark well this super-vital truism - that perfect, holy and righteous character is the supreme feat of accomplishment possible for Almighty God the Creator - it is also the means to His ultimate supreme purpose.  His final objective.

But how?...such perfect character must be developed. It requires the free choice and decision of the separate entity in whom it is to be created. But, further, even then it must be instilled by and from the Holy God who, only, has such righteous character to endow.

Perfect, holy and righteous character is the ability in such separate entity to come to discern the true and right way from the false, to make voluntarily a full and unconditional surrender to God and His perfect way - to yield to be conquered by God - to determine even against temptation or self-desire, to live and to do the right. And even then such holy character is the gift of God. It comes by yielding to God to instill His law (God's right way of life) within the entity who so decides and wills.

Actually, this perfect character comes only from God, as instilled within the entity of His creation, upon voluntary acquiescence, even after severe trial and test...

God made us in His image, after His likeness (form and shape), only composed of matter instead of Spirit. But God says, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:5). (Armstrong HW.  The Incredible Human Potential, pp. 39-40, 52)

In other words, because those called of God will strive to live according to His law, they will have tests and trials that will build the type of “character” (Romans 5:1-4, NJB/NKJV)  (δομκιή), which could be considered a type of “testimony of our conscience” (2 Corinthians 1:12, RNT), that God wants his children to be possess.

Notice what else the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

The human spirit of itself cannot see, hear, think or know. The only real LIFE, inherent and self-containing, lies in the Holy Spirit of God, united with the human spirit…At death, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it" (Eccl. 12:7).  The spirit is the depository of memory and character. The spirit is like a mold. It retains even the human form and shape of the deceased, so that in the resurrection to judgment those who have died shall look as they did in life, retain whatever character they established in life, remember everything that was stored in their memory. But in the meantime, in death, there is no consciousness--they "know not any thing" (Eccl. 9:5)…

We shall inherit the kingdom at Christ's coming. The dead in Christ shall be resurrected, rising first--changed to Spirit immortality…

We build go through the tests and trials in life to build character for the resurrection.

Thus, Christians basically should be pitied for the way they are supposed to live if there is no resurrection. By since there is, notice what else the Apostle Paul wrote:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)

In other words, the Apostle Paul is teaching that living the Christian way of life is more than worth it.

Jesus promised to have a special place for each Christian and taught all would be rewarded according to their works, as did the Apostle Paul:

2 In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2, NAS)

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. (Matthew 16:24-27)

8...each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor (1 Corinthians 3:8)

Christians are to live a different way of the life than the world. The Bible also refers to this as "the Way" (Acts 24:14,22) or "the way of the Lord" (Acts 18:25). It is also called "the way of truth" (2 Peter 2:2) and "the way of righteousness" (2 Peter 2:22).

Christians are to know the Bible and the truth which sets us apart from the false Babylonian world system that Satan deceives (cf. Revelation 12:9):

"31 If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32)

16...They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:16-17)

Christians are granted the "love of the truth" so they will not be deceived as others will be (2 Thessalonians 2:7-14).

God's plan for you, if you will be converted to His ways, is for you to give love in your own unique way to make eternity better for yourself and everyone else -- more on this is found in the free online book: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?

You Cannot Earn Your Salvation

Some, especially those with a Protestant background may be thinking that much of this sounds like doing works to earn salvation.

But it is not.

No one can earn their own salvation:

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

But notice the next verse:

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

So, while no one can earn their salvation, notice that Ephesians 2:10 makes clear that Christians are expected to have the type of works that God requires.

And Christians are to be humble about this:

8 He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

A true follower of God does justly and loves mercy. Christians are saved, not because of their works, but because of God's grace and mercy. Notice also:

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

It is through God's mercy that He sent His son to die for our sins.

So, How do Christians Live?

Throughout history, there have been true Christians, just as Jesus prophesied (Matthew 16:16; Revelation 2 & 3).

Real Christians lived differently than most who professed Christ and they were often persecuted for it (Persecutions by Church and State).

Real Christians understand Jesus' Sermon on the Mount:

5:1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit,For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek,For they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart,For they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers,For they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

21 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

27 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

31 "Furthermore it has been said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

33 "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.' 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

38 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:1-48)

6:1 "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. (Matthew 6:1-4)

This affects them at work, at school, and home and all the time. They are not only Christians when they attend church services. They try not to live as hypocrites. Nor do they view pornography, engage in fornication or homosexuality, or live a life of hate.

Real Christians have the right priorities and seek first the Kingdom of God:

25 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:25-34)

Real Christians pray and the Bible teaches this (Matthew 6:5-7). In modern times it has been suggested that Christians should strive to pray at least thirty minutes per day. Although the Bible itself does not specify an amount of time. Yet when it teaches, "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17), this suggests some amount of regular prayer (see also What Should I Pray About?).

Christians should meditate on God's laws and His way of life (Psalm 19:4).

Jesus said His disciples would fast (Mark 2:20). And while all who can are basically required to fast once per year on the Day of Atonement, historically the Church of God has suggested that once per month is a good goal for fasting--though this frequency is not specified in scripture (see also Importance of Fasting).

Real Christians read the Bible (those who could read) and the more honorable ones daily (Acts 17:11; Ephesians 6:17). In modern times it has been suggested that Christians should strive to read the Bible at least thirty-sixty minutes per day. Although, again, the Bible itself does not specify

Real Christians tithe (Matthew 23:23; see also Tithing Questions and Some Answers). And there are multiple tithes (Is Third Tithe Still Valid Today?). As far to how to calculate tithes, basically they are on income. In my view, net income after taxes as the income recipient has essentially no choice but to pay the taxes, which is something else that Christians should do (see also Taxes). Christians also give offerings, including on the biblical holy days (Deuteronomy 16:16-17).

Real Christians avoid eating biblically unclean meats (Leviticus 11:4-8,10-19,24-30; Deuteronomy 14:3,7-8.10,12-19). Because of this, some have been killed by Greco-Romans who profess Christianity (see The New Testament Church and Unclean Meats).

Speaking of foods, God tells His people to "eat what is good" (Isaiah 55:2), thus Christians should be careful about their diets and not eat that which is not good for them.

Real Christians are not dishonest at work or school. They do not lie or cheat. They do not go along with sin in organizations. Christians do not read horoscopes, practice witchcraft, or see fortune tellers (Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 18:10) (see also OMENS? DIVINATION? HOROSCOPES? THE ORIGIN OF ASTROLOGY). It should be pointed out that while many astrologers and those who follow astrology claim to be Christian, that is not true. For detailed information about this, please check out the article The Bible and Astrology and/or watch the video Should Christians Be Involved In Astrology?.

Real Christians do not have idols in their homes, wear "lucky charms," etc. (see also What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?).

Real Christians do not have "filthy communications" come out of their mouths (Colossians 3:8).

Christians are to properly teach and bring up their children (1 Thessalonians 2:11; Ephesians 6:1; 1 Timothy 3:4,12; 5:4,10,14; Titus 1:6; 2:4; see also Five Rules for Effective Parenting, there is also a 12 1/2 minute YouTube video on this, also titled Five Rules for Effective Parenting.)

Real Christian women dress modestly (1 Timothy 2:9) (see also Women and the New Testament Church and/or watch the YouTube sermon New Testament Women). Real Christians do not get tattoos (Leviticus 19:28) (see also Tattoos: History and Biblical Teachings and/or watch the YouTube video Should Christians Get a Tattoo?).

Christian women should not have short masculine hair styles and Christian men should not have long feminine hairstyles (Veils and Other Coverings). Since pagan priests tended to totally shave their heads, this does not seem to be a proper regular practice for Christian men (Leviticus 19:27; 21:5) (see also Monk shaving, history, and the Bible).

Christians do not get drunk or participate in improper revelries, and this can make them unpopular with those who previously considered them to be friends as the Apostle Peter wrote:

1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. (1 Peter 4:1-4)

So, Christians are subject to be talked about badly for doing what is right. The Apostle Peter also wrote:

12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. (1 Peter 4:12-14)

Thus, negative consequences from the world for being a Christian is expected.

Converted Christians are Different

Christians who are truly converted change their ways and their lives.

Christians are to build character so that we will be able to give love in a unique way to make eternity better for ourselves and all others who will truly respond to God.

Christians seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), they strive towards perfection, and truly try to love God and love their neighbor as themselves.

Sadly, many that profess Christ do not do that.

If you are not sure if God is calling you, check out our free online booklet: Is God Calling You? 

For more on the Christian life, check out the free online book: Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.

For more on God's plan for you, check out the free online book:The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?

Also, consider the free online book: Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from Protestantism. Several related sermon are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History, The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character, The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon, Eucharist, Passover, and Easter, and How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?

Here is a link to a related sermon: Christian Conversion.

For more on conversion, see also the article False Conversion. Thiel B. Real Conversion. (C) COGWriter 2014 2020 2023 0624

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