Saturday, July 24, 2010

Are there really two billion Christians?

According to the, Christianity has over two billion adherents; it is almost unbelievable that so many people are actual followers of Christ, particularly when Jesus Himself said that His followers will be relatively small in number when compared with the world’s population: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt. 7:13-14 NIV).

What does one need to believe in order to be a true follower of Christ? The list is not long, only four item, but without a committed belief in every one of these, one can never be a true Christian:

1. The Holy Bible is the Inspired Word of God, it is God’s primary means of revealing His plan for mankind (II Tim. 3:16-17).

2. There is one God, eternally existing in three persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - who are identical in essence, equal in power and glory, and possess the same attributes and perfections (Matt. 28:19).

3. Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God and that He became a man while, at the same time, remaining to be God (John 1:1-5); He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin (Luke 1:34,35); He remained perfect and sinless throughout His human life (II Cor. 5:21); He redeemed sinful man by voluntarily giving Himself as a sinless substitutionary sacrifice on the cross, He then rose from the grave and ascended to the right hand of God where He intercedes on behalf of the saints (Luke 24:46-47).

4. Salvation is the gift of God’s grace given to all who believe in Jesus, as He is portrayed in the Bible; it is solely the work of God and His finished work on the cross, it cannot be gained by good works (Rom. 9:16).

Lastly, sinners must be “born again,” which means to become a new creation in Christ. Jesus said it the best when He told Nicodemus, the Pharisee, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3).

Not every person who claims to be a Christian, really is. Are there really two billion Christians today? No, most of the people alive today will not make it to heaven. The road is narrow and the gate is small that leads to heaven and only a few will enter it. The core beliefs of Christianity are few, but they are critical.

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