More to the point, is everyone a true Christian who claims to be a Christian? What did Jesus have to say about claiming to be a Christian and truly being a Christian? In what some have called the greatest sermon every delivered, Jesus did answer that very question when he said:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’(Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)
The answer straight from Jesus is no, not everyone who claims to be a Christian is in fact a Christian. How do we know among those that claim to be Christians who really are Christians? The answer can be found in Matthew 13:24-30 in the parable of the weeds and the answer is human beings can not tell for certain who is a true Christian.
While we can’t know for sure, we do have Biblical clues on how true Christians believe, think, and behave. The Bible gives us the characteristics of Christian discipleship. Jesus in his high priestly prayer to God asked, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17 ESV). Paul said, “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13 ESV). Therefore, it is clear that true Christians are sanctified by the Holy Spirit and believe in the truth of God which is found in the Holy Bible.
Christians are not perfect and still sin on a regular basis, which means this sanctification is always a work in progress. True Christians even disagree on points of doctrine and there are many points that can be debated. However, true Christians agree that God’s word [Holy Bible] is to be their truth and their standard for faith and practice, and on points that are crystal clear and not debatable true Christians believe and follow these precepts. This is a basic characteristic of all true Christians and nothing illustrates this truth more than the current situation in America on the practice of homosexuality. The Bible is clear in Romans 1 and elsewhere that this practice is a sin and an abomination just as adultery is a sin. There is no wiggle room on this subject and since the Bible is crystal clear on this point, true Christians will acknowledge this fact even if they struggle with the temptation themselves.
Therefore, while we may not know for sure who is a true Christian, we can beyond a reasonable doubt be sure that a person who claims to be a Christian, but argues that homosexuality is normal and not a sin is not a true Christian. This list would include many Christian clergy and professing Christians, and it would also include Barack Obama who even defended the practice by saying, “If people find that [his view on homosexuality] controversial, then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans,” Calling chapter one of Romans an obscure passage is like calling Babe Ruth an obscure member of the baseball Hall of Fame and to say that the sermon on the mount endorsed homosexuality is nonsense. When you consider that Obama supported and voted for a bill that legalized infanticide in botched abortions as an Illinois state senator, you again have to wonder about his Christian profession. The bill made it legal for babies that survived abortions to be killed.
I would sure hate to explain such unrepentant sins on judgment day. Since we are saved by grace alone through faith alone, there is still time for repentance and true faith for those who support and endorse such sin. Let us pray that many will do just that and conform their worldview to Christ and not to that of the world.