Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
Are You Really a Christian?
Are you really a Christian?
Maybe that sounds like a strange question for someone reading or listening to a Christian devotion. Certainly you would say, “Yes, I am a Christian.” Now, what would you say if I were to ask, “How do you know for sure that you are a Christian?” How would you answer that question?
Some might point to the fact that they go to church each week, or they give an offering, or they read the Bible at home, or they have parts of the Bible memorized. Surely, those are all very good things God encourages Christians everywhere to do.
In the Old Testament, the average people of Israel may have pointed to the fact that they went to the synagogue faithfully, or they offered sacrifices, or that they could recite all the worship laws from memory. Those are also very good things. But God frequently pointed out to Israel that their hearts were not always in those things. They sometimes went through the motions. They sometimes got distracted. They sometimes offered their sacrifices not because they wanted to, but because they felt they had to.
And no doubt, the same is true for us. Would real Christians let their mind wander while reciting the Lord’s Prayer? Would real Christians really skip their Bible reading for a day? Would they ever be too busy to pray? Is that what real Christians would do? If you look at your life to answer the question—“How do you know for sure that you are a Christian?”—at the very least, there will be many times your heart will begin to doubt.
So stop looking at your life.
Look instead at the life of Jesus and ask: Did the innocent Lamb of God really die to take away the sins of the world? Did the one man whose heart always desired God’s will really offer his life as a sacrifice so that we could be forgiven? Did God place the name of Christ onto your heart at your baptism? Did Jesus cry out from the cross, “It is finished”? Was the tomb really empty on Easter morning?
Yes. Those things really did happen. That’s where we find our comfort; not in what we do for God, but in all that God has done for us—in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. That’s where all doubt disappears.
Dear God, thank you for all you accomplished for us through the work of our Savior Jesus. Help us to live our lives in daily thanksgiving for your declaration in Christ Jesus that we really are your children. Amen.
The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in December lead us in Songs from the Psalms.