Who is a Christian?

We live in a world where the word ‘Christian’ is used very loosely.  An example is South Africa. About 80% of the population is supposed to be ‘Christian.’ If one looks at what happens in the country with theft, corruption, farm murders, et cetera, it is obvious that it must be much less.

The meaning of the word ‘Christian’ has changed with time.  Today people seem to think that any person who is not an Islam, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist, et cetera (especially if he is of  Western origin) is automatically a ‘Christian.’  The question is, who is a ‘Christian?’ Can we answer it from the Bible? Acts 11:26 says ’The disciples [of Christ] were called Christians first at Antioch.’  

Those first Christians were known for their lifestyle, ‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.’ 1  The teaching of Christ’s sacrificial death, resurrection from the dead and baptism by the Holy Spirit were essentials.  They became followers of ‘the Way [of life Jesus set before us].’ 2

Jesus defined a disciple when He said,  ‘Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.’ So a disciple of Christ is not someone who only talks about the Word of God, but someone who lives it (‘the called, chosen and faithful followers [of Jesus]).’ 4

Since the meaning of the word ‘Christian’ has changed, let’s call ourselves ‘disciples of Christ.’

References

  1. Acts 2:42
  2. Acts 9:2
  3. Matthew 7:21
  4. Revelation 17:14b

 

Did humans evolve?

The purpose of this blog is to show that the Bible does not support human evolution. It is clear from EvolutionJesus’ words, ‘…at the beginning the Creator made them male and female,’ that humans did not evolve.1  Despite that, there are still ‘Christians’ who think we evolved from ape-like ancestors. Please note there is scientifically no evidence for human evolution. 2

God created (Jesus is also the Creator), the first man and woman in His image, ‘Let us make man in our image.’ 4  The Bible teaches:

  • The Trinity decided beforehand that Jesus would come to earth, ‘He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed at these last times for your sake.’ 5
  • Jesus, the Saviour, appeared as a human being on earth, ‘…made in human likeness.’ 6
  • The resurrected Jesus still had His human form.  He ascended, and is today at the right hand of the Father, still in human form.
  • We will be like Jesus once we are resurrected, ‘And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.’  7

Conclusion

  1. From beginning to end, only the human form is important. It is miraculous that we, humans, were made in the image of Jesus.  He became like us, lives like us in heaven, and one day will reign on the new earth still looking like a human.
  2. Since the human form is ‘fixed,’ it excludes all biological evolution from ape-like ancestors.
  3. It is one of the devil’s strategies to convince people they are made in the image of an ape, not in God’s image.8 The aim is to deny the specialness of humans, and to break the link between Jesus and humans.

What do we learn? To believe that humans descended from apes is to insult the Trinity, since they decided to make humans in their image. It is playing with fire to doubt God’s Word and to imply that God does not have the intelligence and power to design what they decided on – humans in His image.

Scripture is absolutely correct that people are made in the image of God, and not in the image of an animal.

References

  1. Matthew 19:4
  2. A Gauger, D Axe, C Luskin, Science and Human Origins, Discovery Institute Press, 2012
  3. John 1:3, Hebrews 1:2; Colossians 1:16
  4. Genesis 1:26-27
  5. 1 Peter 1:18-20. See also 2 Timothy 1:10
  6. Philippians 2:7
  7. 1 Corinthians 15:49
  8. WJ Smith, The War on Humans, Discovery Institute Press, 2014

Suicide and Salvation

SuiSuicideOne of the grim realities of life is suicide.

  • According to statistics, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally, for all ages.
  • According to the World Health Organisation, nearly one million people die yearly from suicide.
  • According to Centres for Disease Control, an average of one person dies by suicide every 15 minutes. 1

Sometimes it is a person that you didn’t expect it of, like the actor, Robin Williams. Sometimes it is a committed believer. He or she was part of God’s family, saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. Many families have been devastated when a parent or child committed suicide. What triggered them to such despair that they decided to end it all in a moment of deep anguish?

When we want to comfort the bereaved relatives, should we be like Job’s friends? Should we follow the example of  his miserable supporters and explain ‘wisely,’ that a person who murdered him or herself won’t be in heaven?

Do we have to be so cruel as to condemn without insight? Do we have the right to add to the agony of the family? Of course not. That would compound their grief and might cause alienation. As far as we are concerned, we doubt if God gave us the right to judge or make pronouncements about the eternal destination of a person who committed suicide.

We don’t have insight into a person’s spirit. Can we understand the despair of people in certain situations, like the loss of a spouse or some terrible tragedy? It is doubtful. Only God is omniscient. We are not. Eventually only God knows all the details. Fortunately He is fair. He knows what happened, and He is the Righteous Judge.

However, we believe there are guidelines concerning eternal destinations:

  • What was the person’s relationship with Jesus before death?  This is important, since God established a rule: we decide our position in eternity here, in the now. If a person is a lover of God here, we can expect that he will be with God eternally and still love Him. If a person is saved and lives a holy life here, we can expect that he should be with God in eternity.
  • What about a person that seemed to have no relationship with God? We might come to a fixed conclusion, but then again, what might have happened at the final hour? Look at the thief on the cross. 2 At the very last he realised who Jesus is, and that insight brought him eternal happiness in the presence of God.

Conclusion

Deciding the eternal destination of someone who committed suicide is, as far as we are concerned, not within the scope of humans. That belongs to our Lord God Almighty, who knows man’s heart. At the final judgement we will probably know. Until then, it is advisable to keep our opinions safely to ourselves and not compound the grief of people who lost a relative or friend who decided to end it all.

References

  1. Erin Gilmer, Health as a Human Right, May 23, 2011.
  2. Luke 23:39-43.
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