Chapter Excerpt
(Taken from the opening chapter of Claiming Christ)
Isa 2:2-5
...Knowing his background and lifestyle, I was surprised to hear him state that he felt he was a good Christian. As I probed for a bit more definition to his claim, it became evident that the extent of his walk as a Christian was restricted to the celebration of Christmas and singing a few songs that had the name of Jesus in them. Salvation for him was a matter of reincarnation, something that held promise for a better existence as long as he was basically a decent person.

Such interactions are commonplace for those active in sharing the Gospel message of Christ. We continue to love such acquaintances, pray for their understanding and repentance, and yet often find ourselves limited in how much of our lives we can truly share with them. It is a matter of different foundations. Under such constraints, any ongoing relational-building is limited to sandcastle creations. Unfortunately, an even greater anguish arises when someone actually shows significant signs of understanding, has a track record of Christlike activity in their lives, and yet some part of their nature persists in or regresses into rebellion. As much as we hold out hope for change, as much as we strive to help guide such wayward behaviors, as much as we carry one another's burdens, Scripture holds Christians accountable for how we maintain relationships under such revealed conditions.

We are never given the right to judge another as unworthy of Christ or his gift of salvation, but the Bible does require us to judge others' actions as commendable or avoidable. The one performing such actions then becomes one supported by us or one from which we are commanded to separate. This divine truth is rarely repeated in church halls, but it is nonetheless scriptural and even commanded upon those who want to uphold their claim of Christianity as biblically valid.

Popular Christianity professes love for one another by tolerating everything. The Bible, however, teaches Christians to love one another by upholding every word of God. Knowing biblical truth requires faithful application; but how can one apply truth to difficult situations and within challenging relationships if they are unclear as to what that truth is? Scripture says this is why it is imperative that faithful teachers of the Word be sent by God, listened to by those being called of the Spirit, and followed by genuine Christians.

This author does not claim a corner on biblical truth, but it is the intent within the pages of this book to shed light on what Scripture actually says and to do so in such a manner that humble, teachable readers may come to know what God defines a Christian to be as opposed to false claims of Christianity. Through observation of the repeated scriptural phrase
in him, this book will attempt to show how biblical writers, by inspiration of the common author of the Holy Spirit, significantly emphasize a truth regarding what it means to abide in Christ - to actively dwell in eternal relationship with the living Word while still in this fallible flesh, without ever fearing rejection. Many who have missed this truth vehemently claim salvational guarantees of their own making in a desperate and misguided attempt to justify their willful persistence in sin. This appearance of righteousness, while maintaining disobedience in some part of ones life, is what Jesus spoke of when he stated that such partial persistence in sin would cause that person to become full of darkness (Lu 11:36).

Being in him requires a faith-life of the cross. Being in him assures a believer's hope by providing evidence of justification in Christ. Being in him provides confirmation of what we claim. Being in him is being born again, it is referred to as sanctification, it is the evidence of our faith, the reality of our ongoing transformation, the basis of the new man, the same as living by the Spirit. Being in him means we are Christian in both name and truth.
Claiming Christ - Building faith on the Rock
Kevin Graham, Christian Author © 2010 - 2018
Practical Theology