How can we tell who are true Christians? And what relationship exists between them and Jesus Christ? Those of us old enough remember the famous television line, “Would the real (fill in the blank) please stand up?” Yet many within the Christian community don’t really understand what it is that makes for a genuine faith, or the relationship that exists between Jesus and such a person.
“For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” (Ephesians 5:30)
Those who follow Christ are careful that they are “not forsaking the assembling of…[themselves] together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as …[they] see the Day approaching,” (Hebrews 10:25) yet Christians are not necessarily known by their church membership, because churches are populated by individuals who may or may not end up eternally with Christ. They are, however, identifiable by whether they remain in Jesus–by whether they read, accept, and put into practice in their daily lives what His Word tells them to do, which is the evidence of their genuine faith in Him.
Jesus came to “save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) He does this in the here and now through the ongoing process of sanctification as we submit to Him moment by moment, and will finally glorify our frail bodies and completely remove us from the presence of sin in eternity. Yet the relationship that exists even now between Christ and those who truly belong to Him is amazing–genuinely nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Jesus said, “‘When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” (Matthew 25:31-37, 39, 40)
The conversion of Saul, known to us as the apostle Paul, tells us more:
“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the [Christian] Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ (Acts 9:1-4 NIV)
When a person comes to truly belong to Christ, something miraculous happens: in God’s economy, that man, woman or child becomes part of Christ, of His body. This is why Jesus asked Saul, “…why do you persecute Me?” and why He will someday say, “…you did it to Me.”
It is, furthermore, the reason why the Father accepts us. Christ has taken our sins and paid for them on the cross. If you are in Christ, you are identified with Him: you have His Spirit, and the Father sees, “…Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
Thank You that “we are members of Your body, of Your flesh and of Your bones,” that You are our “hope of glory.” Help us faithfully remain in You! Amen.
See also an excellent explanation of these truths at: