In the midst of an existential crisis, philosopher Rene Descartes famously stated, “Cogito, Ergo Sum” (I think, therefore I am). Today, in the twenty-first century, we have billions of people who are also facing existential crises and identity issues. According to Gallup Polls and research, individuals identifying as part of the LGBTQ community have risen by over 4.5% since 2017. Unfortunately (due to political and social shifts), this number continues to rise. Even in Christianity, there are identity issues. “What makes one a Christian? How does one become added to the body of Christ?”
When Paul was writing the book of Galatians, he was writing to Christians who were struggling with their identity— they were going through an existential crisis! Were they to follow the doctrine of Christ, or were they to follow the laws of the Jews? Today we have Christians who are having to choose between the doctrine of Christ or the ways of the world.
Though the struggles of the Church may have shifted, the crisis remains. Nonetheless, Paul writes something profound at the conclusion of his epistle to the Galatians: “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus” (Galatians 6:14-17). Paul was absolutely certain of who he belonged to and what he was going to do about it.
Should a person of faith just “think” they are a Christian, or should they know without a shadow of a doubt that they have obeyed the Gospel? When you have denominational teachers saying “all you must do is pray a prayer of faith” or “baptism at birth is what saves”, it confuses one’s certainty. WHICH ONE IS CORRECT AND WHICH ONE MAKES A TRUE CHRISTIAN? One may think they are a Christian because they have done these things, but they couldn’t be further from the truth. Just as there is biological truth to gender and sexuality, there is spiritual and biblical truth to Christian identity.
What makes a Christian? Acceptance of the cross by being immersed in water for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38-42); death to the world and to traditions and a new life in Christ (Rom. 6); and bearing the cross of discipleship (Luke 9:23ff). If we do these things, our identity as Christ’s people cannot be questioned, and we can be sure that our souls will exist with God for eternity (Rev. 2:11)! If you want to know without a shadow of a doubt that you are truly a Christian, just do exactly what the scriptures say how it says to do it.