Two Marks of a True Christian
Often, I get to thinking about what it is that sets my faith apart from the world. It’s not that I simply don’t want to be worldly, but I genuinely want to be godly. This should set me apart from the world if I am following God as the Scriptures teach. After all, the direction God is moving is not the same as the world. My life is hidden with Christ. As I have been contemplating, reflecting, and examining myself, I’m reminded of two essential marks that are true for every believer. These marks—wrought by the Spirit—are certainly ones I can progress in, but they should be there to some degree. And these are found in every true believer. May the Spirit sanctify you in this as he is in me also.
The first mark of a true Christian is confession—to freely admit shortcomings and flaws. This will be seen in a born-again believer. We do not possess enough obedience or discipline to achieve heaven. We fall short. We cannot do it on our own. We have all made mistakes. There’s no need for excuses. Blaming others will be of no benefit. There’s simply confession.
We should not tolerate making others look bad or spend time trying to promote ourselves above others. We should see others as more significant than ourselves. Christians do well to speak highly of others while speaking lowly about themselves. This takes humility. Lovers of God are quick to confess their own faults and slow to point fingers.
The second mark of a true Christian is profession—promoting Christ and his goodness. A right perspective found in a born-again believer is one that gushes praises to God, and praises to others about God. When I speak of profession, this entails speaking about God in a positive way. Striving to make God look good—ascribing him glory—is in the interest of all believers.
Christ is worth it. He is enough. He is praiseworthy. There’s a fire in my bones (cf. Jer. 20:9). I can’t NOT speak of his goodness. Christ has fulfilled the law! He paid my ransom! He created me! He is my everything!
In every believer there should be these two marks: confession and profession. There’s quick confession of personal shortcomings and unceasing profession of God and his goodness. Marks wrought by the Spirit involve more than these two only, but these are ones the Spirit has been recently working on in me. If I had to pick one of these to work on more than the other, it would be confession. I’m being worked on. May God help me both in confessing and professing. Others will benefit from me working on this, and God will be ascribed more glory as well.