Surely, the definitions of true Christianity are many and diverse. For some, all they think they need to do is to say that they believe in Christ. Others understand more correctly that being a true Christian means to follow Christ’s example — to live as He lived (1 Peter 2:21). In order to be able to do this, Christ must live IN us — and we must LET Him live in us (Galatians 2:20).
But why would a true Christian WANT Christ to live in him, and to rule in his life? Is his only motivation the inheritance of eternal life for himself?
Christ tells us that we must become perfect as God the Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). God’s perfection is reflected by how He deals with people (notice Matthew 5:43-47). God is perfect because He IS LOVE (1 John 4:16) — which is a way of giving and sharing, motivated by an outgoing concern for the benefit and welfare of others. Rather than focusing on OUR future, just for the sake of what is in store for US, we are to focus on others (compare Philippians 2:4-5; Romans 15:2).
Christ GAVE His life for us, so that we could be saved (John 6:51). God the Father LOVED the world so much that HE GAVE His only-begotten son to die FOR US (John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9). Christ did what He did, because the love of God was shed or had been poured out in His heart. Likewise, God’s love has been poured out in our hearts, by the Holy Spirit, IF Christ lives in us (Romans 5:5).
A true Christian, then, is someone who LIVES God’s love in his life. There are many definitions of the love of God. Apart from the magnificent description of God’s love in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, we are reminded of the fact that it is the love of God which keeps God’s commandments (1 John 5:3).
A true Christian is not someone who just confesses a belief in Christ — the demons believe, too, that God exists (James 2:19), and that Christ is the Son of God (Matthew 8:29). Rather, a true Christian is one in whom Christ lives — in whom God’s Spirit dwells — and who follows Christ’s lead, by LIVING GOD’S LOVE in his life. If we are true Christians, Christ will direct our hearts into the love of God (2 Thessalonians 3:5), which is in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:39). The love of God, abiding in us, will make us more and more perfect to the extent that we love one another (1 John 4:12).
How many true Christians do you know, who meet that definition?
And more importantly, are YOU a true Christian? Does Christ live in YOU, through the power of God’s Holy Spirit? Do you “know” the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:19)? Do you “keep yourself” in the love of God (Jude 21)? Does the love of God live in you, or are you only thinking that it does (compare John 5:42; 1 John 2:15; 3:17)? Do you show the love of God in your daily life, by walking in it (Ephesians 5:2)?
Remember, if Christ and His love do not live in us through the Holy Spirit, we are NOT true Christians (Romans 8:9).