Nearly everyday, I receive an e-mail from a friend I met when he was about ten; that was almost forty years ago. The e-mail is actually a pre-paid subscription to the OmegaLetter.com, which publishes commentary on religious and political issues. Today's edition began with a question: "Is being a Christian something you are, or is it something you do?" The writer believes that being a Christian is something you are, and he supported his view with the argument that being a Christian is like being an American. You are an American, whether or not you do anything such as vote, pay taxes, or salute the American Flag. Failure to do so does not change your status.
The problem with his argument is that a person is not born a Christian; we each must choose to accept God's offer of salvation by applying the faith He gives us, and be "born again" (Eph. 2:8-9; Jn. 3:3-8; 1 Pet. 1:23). There is some similarity in that being an loyal American will result in doing those things, just as being a faithful Christian will result in works that give evidence of one's salvation (Eph. 2:10). However, a person does not become an American by saluting the flag, nor does a person become a Christian by doing religious acts. The only "work" that is required to become a Christian is to believe in Jesus Christ (Jn. 6:29). Another similarity is that an American who fails to pay his taxes will be punished, and a Christian who fails to obey his Lord will reap His discipline (1 Cor. 11:30; Heb. 12:5-11).
The writer also made the statement that God is eternal, and man was created in His image, so therefore man is eternal. Here, the problem is obvious. Anything created had to have a beginning, and since the definition of "eternal" is "having no beginning or ending," man cannot be eternal. Christians are said to possess "eternal life," but that is because a believer is said to be "in Christ." Because the Son of God is God, and therefore eternal, by becoming a part of "His Body," we share in His eternal life (Jn. 1:1, 14; 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 4:12). When we become a child of God, that is, when we are born again, we receive "everlasting life" (Jn. 3:16; 5:24; 6:40, 47; etc.). "Everlasting" means "having begun, it will never end."
The writer of the OmegaLetter is usually correct concerning Bible doctrine, and his political commentary is definitely conservative. I enjoy reading it because I have learned much from what he has written about current events, and because it makes me think about the Word of God. I hope that those of you who read my blog feel the same way about it. However, let me warn you to read what I say carefully and prayerfully, because I will definitely make mistakes. If the Apostle Paul, a man proven to be an apostle by miraculous works, wanted his readers to compare what he wrote to the Word of God before believing it (Acts 17:11), how much more do you think you need to check out what I say? Let the Word of God be true, and whatever I write that does not agree with it, reject it, but please do not reject the writer (1 Thes. 5:21). God bless you in Christ Jesus, THE LORD!