What it Means to Be a Christian Writer
A Christian writer differs from all other types of writers. We have been rescued from our sin by Jesus Christ, seek to live godly lives, and aim to help others through our writing and other interactions with people. This seems simple enough, but there are many who would turn the simple beauty of this into something complicated. There is no reason for that. Without theological overlays, the Bible is clear:
1. Anyone can become a member of the family of God. Being part of the family makes you a “Christian writer” rather than any other type of writer.
2. Jesus wants you to come to him just as you are. There are no preconditions. God chose everyone in eternity past (2 Peter 3:9), and it is up to individuals to validate that by an expression of their free will (Acts 16:31). Some have perverted that truth (including so-called “reformers” in history) with complicated human interpretations, but that is the heart of the Gospel as taught in the Bible.
3. We cannot be Christians or Christian writers unless we are empowered by the Holy Spirit. That is what sets us apart. The Holy Spirit does not inspire your writing as the Spirit inspired the writers of the Bible. However, the Holy Spirit illuminates your Christian writing (Ephesians 2:10).
So you cannot fake being a member of the family of God. What you think about various theological matters, or your ideas about creationism, evolution, or any of a thousand different topics, makes no difference at all. The only important issue is whether or not you have been rescued by Jesus from your sin, and syou how tangible evidence of that in your life and writings.
What it Means to Be Rescued
I don’t speak Russian, so I used a translator. Some of the young men came forward in these well-guarded small groups of 25 or so, and my translator would say something like, “Ivan wants to put his faith in Christ and be rescued.”
Later, I asked my translator why people coming to faith in Christ so often used the word “rescued.” He put his forefinger to his lips and thought for a moment. He said, “You could also use the English word ‘saved.’ They want to be saved as you urge them to do by confessing their sins and following Christ.”
From that day to this, I have preferred the word “rescued” over “saved.” After all the incarnation, God becoming a man in the person of Jesus Christ was the most daring rescue mission in all of eternity. At least from the human perspective.
The Dynamics of Decision
How does a person drowning in sin raise their hand and scream, “Rescue me!”? How can a person continue to follow the Savior who rescued them? These are profound questions, but they can be visualized like this.
The Three Triangles
Let’s take a look at the three numbered triangles. They represent how we are rescued from our sin and can live Holy Spirit-empowered lives.
The foundation of all is faith in Jesus Christ. He came to Earth proclaiming He was the Son of God to rescue each of us from our sins, and our obligation is to put our trust in Him. The promise is found in John 3:16 in the Bible. God asks each human to express their own will when it comes to allowing themselves to be rescued. Jesus Christ reaches out to people, but each must respond individually.
Sadly, not all will believe. These types of non-believers fall into two categories. One is the group that pretends to follow Christ. They may put on a big act, but in the end, they renounce Jesus as Lord. These people never really believed, and so we call them apostates.
The second group is unbelievers. They may be atheists, or they may have put their faith in other gods or some humanistic lifestyle. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6), so such people have no connection to the True, Living God.
At the moment of our expression of belief in Him, God validates our rescue by giving us the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. We gain spiritual union with Christ. That is what enables us to have eternal life. Ephesians 1:13 says, “When you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” You cannot lose your salvation. In John 5:24 it says, “I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.” Our bodies will wear out and die, but “in Christ” (Colossians 1:27) we live forever.
The Lord wants us to keep a close connection with Him. We can do that through prayer, Bible study, thinking godly thoughts, and doing acts of kindness in his name.
Even though we gain spiritual union with Christ when we believe, we are still humans. As humans, we constantly combat fleshly desires. A good many of these carnal activities, but not all, are mentioned in the Bible in Galatians 5:19-21. Yes, even when we are “in Christ” we are prone to sin and that breaks the spiritual communion we have with our Lord.
What do we do about that sin? We quickly tell God that we did sin and ask Him to forgive us. Some people think 1 John 1:9 is the most wonderful verse in the Bible for Christians. It says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Avoiding sin, then repenting of it when it happens, is the way we maintain a close relationship with our Lord. Sin fractures our relationship with Jesus Christ, but it does not break it. Our spiritual standing with the Lord does not change, but our state as humans will vary due to our innate sinful nature.
There is much more to learn about faith in Christ. However, this graphic shows the gateway to faith and how you can maintain a relationship with the Lord who rescued you.
Donald L. Hughes is editor of ChristianWritingToday.com.