An average of all 2021 Gallup polling revealed 69% of Americans “identify with a Christian religion.” That’s a majority, but I’d suggest many of these respondents are saying, “I’m not an atheist. I’m not Buddhist. I’m not Muslim. I must be Christian.” For these folks, though, Christianity is just a title, it isn’t a belief system.
Every week, on the day appointed by God, everyone who belongs to Christ makes their way to church to worship Christ with everyone else who belongs to Christ. In obedience to him, we gather with other believers from our community (Hebrews 10:24). Gathering to God’s throne with us are the elect angels and all our loved ones who have died in the Lord (Revelation 5:11-12). Altogether, we gather at Mount Zion to hear from God and receive his grace through Christ, imparted by the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 12:28-29). Truly, it is a foretaste of the glories to come.
According to Scripture, a wise man fears the Lord (Proverbs 1:7) and lives in view of death. It is not a Christian attitude to avoid thoughts of death, but to live in light of it, numbering our days. But, living in light of the end doesn’t just mean acknowledging all men die and return to dust. Scripture teaches you are a two-part composition of body and soul (Genesis 2:7). Your body will die and decay, but your soul will live eternally (Genesis 3:19, Ecclesiastes 12:7).
Convictions are something like coffee. Many people want to be a little watered down. They don’t want to hold their opinions too strongly because they are afraid of offending others. As a result, their lives, like milky coffee, are pretty bland. They don’t have an identity. Instead, like a chameleon, they just try to fit in wherever they are.
Let’s think about it closely. What we are saying is the Holy Spirit must change a man internally before he will embrace Jesus Christ for salvation. In our sinful state, no amount of altar calls, revivals, soft piano music, or fiery preaching will persuade us to believe in Christ. You and I, alone, cannot persuade anyone to be saved. This is a work only the Spirit of God can do.
God declares that he is the one and only God. He proves this by “declaring the end from the beginning.” Before God spoke life into being, he declared everything that would come to pass in heaven and earth (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2). Therefore, he knows everything (Psalm 139:2-6).
The Church cannot exist apart from the Bible. The Church’s definition and mission come from Scripture, not vice versa. Scripture teaches us that Christ came announcing the arrival of his kingdom (Mark 1:15). He came to reign over the lives of his people. He rules over us when we obey his commands in Scripture, which requires believing that the Bible is God’s Word.
Does God accept Muslim worship when they perform the Five Pillars? What about other religions? Does he approve of all worship? If you answer “Yes,” congratulations, you agree with 58% of Southern Evangelicals. In fact, 39% of survey respondents indicated they “strongly agree” with the statement: “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.” Unfortunately, this is a case in which the majority opinion is badly wrong.
Unlike the impersonal, unknowable force of Star Wars, God the Spirit intimately relates to God’s people. In our devotional life, the Spirit helps us pray and assures us we are God’s children (Romans 8:12-17), enables us to understand the Bible (John 17:15-18, Hebrews 10:15), to bear the fruits of righteousness (Galatians 5:22), and minister to others within the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12).