Christendom is a word that is tied to Christianity. But precisely what is Christendom? This article will shed light on the answer.
What is Christendom?
Christendom is the whole organization of Christians. Historically, Christendom pertains to the Christian empires, Christian states, Christian-majority countries, and the countries where Christianity dominates, succeeds, or is culturally or traditionally entwined.
The question becomes, out of Christendom, the body of Christians, how many are indeed Christians? How many are engaged in true Christianity?
What is true Christianity? How do the Scriptures define a Christian? Is there more to it than repeating the sinner’s prayer? Are you a true Christian, and how? Is it because of good works? If that is the case, so are atheists and humanists. The Scriptures in Ephesians 2:8-9 read,
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Therefore, it takes more than good works to be a Christian. However, does that mean that God is against good works? Not according to the next verse, 10, which reads, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Therefore, God expects good works from those who are saved through faith.
Are individuals Christian because of the observance of ritualistic or ceremonial laws, such as vain repetitions of memorized prayers? Galatians 2:16 reads, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
Also, Acts 4:10 reads, “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.”
Therefore, the first sign of a true Christian is recognizing Jesus as the savior.
1 John 3:4 reads, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
However, many believe that we no longer have to keep the Law because of the sacrifice of Christ and grace. Some passages of Scripture taken out of context are used to abrogate or nullify the Law. One of these is Galatians 2:16, which again reads, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
Was Paul advocating the abolition of the Law because of grace? Not by a long shot as we observe the following verses 17-19
17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
19 For I through the Law am dead to the Law, that I might live unto God.
Being justified means the forgiveness of past sins. Therefore, as a result, a true Christian has faith in the sacrifice of Christ for the forgiveness of sin and recognizes the obligation to cease sinning, which entails keeping the Law of God.
Not keeping the Law of God, twisting the Scriptures, and making excuses for not doing so is ludicrous. What is the point in returning to committing the same sins that Christ was crucified to pay the penalty for our sake? A point made clear in verse 18. Also, Hebrews 6:6 Says, “If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” The context of this Scripture addresses the result for those who have known the truth and then turned away from it.
Therefore, the second sign of a true Christian is keeping the Law of God.
How many individuals that are professing Christianity genuinely believe the teachings of Christ and walk or live as He lived? Believing in Christ and obeying Him are two different entities.
Many disregard the obedience aspect of Christianity. However, they are wise to pay attention to the Words of Jesus in Luke 6:46, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
Lord means boss or master. Nevertheless, there is a difference between what Jesus commands and what individuals do in reality. This is found in Matt 5:17-18
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Jesus went on to illustrate how the Ten Commandments are more obligatory than in the past by giving an example regarding adultery in Matt 5:27-28:
27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
James made it clear that when one command is broken, it is the same as breaking them all in James 2:10-11
10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
James is clearly addressing the Ten Commandments in their entirety. Christians cannot break one Command without being guilty of breaking them all. One of those Commands pertains to the Sabbath Day, the fourth Commandment to keep it holy.
We must follow Christ’s example when it involves keeping the Sabbath day. Will we walk in the footsteps of Jesus or the footsteps of apostate Christianity and the Roman Emperor Constantine in worshipping the sun?
The New Testament clarifies that Jesus kept the Seventh-day Sabbath as illustrated in many Scriptures. He declared Himself Lord of the Sabbath three times, Mark 2:28, Matthew 12:8, and Luke 6:5. No Scripture indicates Jesus as Lord of Sunday or the first day of the week.
While there are human justifications, reasonings, and twisted Scriptures taken out of context, there are examples of Jesus’ followers after His resurrection. For example, Paul kept the Sabbath with the Gentiles as found in Acts 13:42. There are others (1 Cor. 5:8, Acts 13:44, Acts 16:13, Acts 17:2), but the point is the followers of Jesus walked in His footsteps and kept the same laws as He. That is why the Apostle John wrote in 1 John 2:6, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” NIV
In Rev 12:9, we are told that Satan has deceived the whole world, including the greater part of what is believed to be Christianity and Christendom]. This has been declared in the Scriptures by Jesus Himself, Paul, Peter, John, and Jude. Consequently, we must be careful to walk as Jesus walked.
Therefore, a third sign of a true Christian is that they walk in Jesus’ footsteps.
The next and final sign of a true Christian determines either eternal life or eternal death.
According to 1 John 3:4, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
Even though Christ has paid the penalty for our sins and we are forgiven of them, does that mean we do not have to overcome our sinful nature? Jesus made it clear what we must do to have eternal life. In Matthew 19:17, he told the rich young ruler, “And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.“
We must not only acknowledge the Commandments but also keep them to inherit eternal life.
In 1 Cor. 6:9-11, it reads:
9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. NIV
Here Paul described what the brethren were in the past, but they were washed and sanctified in the name of Jesus. They were Justified, forgiven, and free from their past sins. They had overcome their sinful lifestyle of the past. 2 Cor. 5:17 reads, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
This new state of being must be maintained to attain eternal life.
At the end of the Scriptures, God clarifies that unrepented sins will keep individuals out of His kingdom and will reap the second death. This clarification does not apply to occasional sins of weakness that one has sincerely repented. Still, we must overcome our sinful weaknesses with God’s help.
Notice what Revelation 21:7-8 warns.
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
We must overcome if we are going to be accepted into the Kingdom of God. True Christianity is a lifestyle of overcoming and following the footsteps of Jesus. We must put to death our old carnal selves.
Our old way of life, before we believed in Christ, is to be entirely in the past. We are not to be driven by desire and impulse. Eph 4:22-24 addresses this truth.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. NIV
This principle is what our baptisms represent. Paul explains this in Romans 6:3-4
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
This is what we do in reaction to the sacrifice of Jesus. In baptism, we figuratively die, are buried in a watery grave, and arise as a new person. [2 Corinthians 5:17]
Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
We are crucified with Christ in baptism; nevertheless, we live. However, as we rise out of the water, we are not as our old selves, but Christ living in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the faith of the Son of God that we live by; Christ living in us makes us true Christians. This transformation is a spiritual rebirth—born again.
Therefore, the last sign of a true Christian is the overcoming of sin.
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