HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN?
APOSTOLIC INSIGHT ~ What can the Apostles and Church Fathers tell us about our times? What advice do they have for our problems? Here are some of their thoughts…
For decades various groups have argued over what makes a person a Christian? Some churches want a special ritual while others only want a verbal affirmation of faith. What can we say?
The first Christians believed they were “new men and women in Christ.” They believed the experience of baptism was throwing away their former self and becoming a new person. (Ephesians 4:22-24) This was done with the greatest sincerity. Here are insights from the earliest Christians and Church Fathers.
Justin, First Apology
We who ourselves used to have pleasure in impure things now cling to chastity alone. We who dibbled in the arts of magic now consecrate ourselves to the good and unbegotten God. We who formerly treasured money and possessions more than anything else now hand over everything we have to a treasury for all and share it with everyone who needs it. We who formerly hated and murdered one another and did not even share our hearth with those of a different tribe because of their customs, now, after Christ’s appearance, live together and share the same table. Now we pray for our enemies and try to win those who hate us unjustly so that they too may live in accordance with Christ’s wonderful teaching, that they too may enter into the expectation, that they may too receive the same good things that we will receive from God, the Ruler of the universe.
Aristides “Apology” 137 AD
They worship no alien gods. They live in the awareness of their smallness. Kindliness is their nature. There is no falsehood among them. They love on another. They do not neglect widows. Orphans they rescue from those who are cruel to them. Every one of them who has anything gives ungrudgingly to the one who has nothing.
Adulters and corrupters of boys want to defame us who live in virginity or in strictly monogamic marriages. … To be just alone is not enough because to be just means to repay like for like, but we have been commanded to go far beyond this, to be kind and patient.
Hippolytus, Church Order in The Apostolic Tradition, around 218 AD
The new ones to be accepted (in the faith) are questioned by the teachers about the reason for their decision before they hear the word. Those who bring them shall say whether they are ready for it (church membership) and what their situation is … Should we have missed anything here, practical life will teach you, for we all have the Spirit of God.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may wee your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.