You may think you are, but you may not be. After all, Jesus himself said that some people will do seemingly "Christian" things in his name but will not truly know him. Or maybe you know you are not a Christian and you wonder what it really means to be one.
To be sure, however, there is clarity from God's perspective. He is not confused about who does and does not know him. And though our self-awareness is certainly limited, we have been given biblical criteria to help us evaluate whether we are indeed followers of Christ.
Mike McKinley shows us the importance of examining our standing with God and helps us to fearlessly ask the hard questions, ultimately allowing us to see whether we are in the faith and what exactly that entails.
About the Author
Mike McKinley(MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary) is senior pastor of Sterling Park Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia. Formerly, he served on staff alongside Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. He is the author of a number of books, includingAm I Really a Christian?andChurch Planting Is for Wimps.
Read an Excerpt
You Are Not a Christian Just Because You Say That You Are
MY E-MAIL IN-BOX is clogged with opportunities to "become something." Just this month, I have received messages from friends and spambots both offering me the chance to become:
someone's friend on Facebook,
a member of Netflix,
a member of the Democratic Party,
part of a fantasy football league,
an ESPN.com "insider,"
part of an organization's board of trustees,
the recipient of an ATM card from the Central Bank of Nigeria (preprogramed with $10 million on it!).
I probably will not take advantage of any of these opportunities. I am already an ESPN.com "insider," and I don't have time to play fantasy football or be a trustee (though come to think of it, maybe I should follow up on the $10 million).
Still, consider what would happen if I were to avail myself of these kinds of offers: my relationship with those groups would become redefined, and I would clearly be a member. Not a lot of ambiguity here. Such group membership is a matter of self-selection: you either opt "in" or you opt "out." Right now, both Netflix and I have a good grasp on the status of our relationship (or nonrelationship) because I have never opted in. But here's the kicker: being a Christian is not exactly like that.
God Knows His Own
To be sure, there is great clarity on God's side of the equation. He is not confused about who does and does not belong to him. In the Bible, we read that God has a definite record of those who will receive eternal life through Christ. When the seventy-two disciples return to Jesus, giddy from their recent ministry success, Jesus tells them, "Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20). Elsewhere, Jesus tells the disciples, "I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me" (John 10:14). God knows who is truly a Christian and who is not.
That's why the apostle Paul can speak of "Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life" (Phil. 4:3). So, too, the apostle John, in his vision of the final judgment before the great white throne, refers to a "book of life" which contains all the names of those who are truly God's people. Everyone whose name is not listed in this book will be thrown into the lake of fire, while everyone whose name does appear will gain entrance into the New Jerusalem (Rev. 20:15; 21:27). So God knows who belongs to him and who doesn't. He's not short on clarity.
Your Spiritual Shirt Is Inside Out
However, the same cannot be said about us. We don't see ourselves that clearly. In fact, our self-awareness is often comically limited.
Have you ever realized that you have been walking around with toilet paper stuck to your shoe? Or with your shirt on backward? Or with a blob of ketchup on your cheek? I've done each of these at one time or another. When someone finally had mercy on me and pointed out the problem ("Hey, moron, your shirt is on backward!") I felt a small-to-moderate sense of embarrassment. I had been walking around assuming certain things about myself (suave, devastatingly handsome, capable of dressing myself properly), but in that moment I discovered that reality was otherwise (not cool at all). Everyone around me could see the truth about me clearly, but I was oblivious.
I remember one occasion in particular that God used to teach me about the sometimes gaping difference between self-perception and reality. I had just become an assistant pastor. I had had the opportunity to lead a Bible study of about two hundred people in our church. I enjoyed leading the discussion and answering questions. By all accounts the Bible study seemed to go pretty well.
The next day I was sitting in the office of a friend of mine named Matt, and I asked him to give me some feedback about the study from the previous night. He told me that he, too, thought that it had gone well, and then he mentioned how surprised he was by the way I led the group. "Mike," he said, "I could not believe how warm and friendly and connected you seemed. You really looked like you were glad to be there and engaged with people well. I was surprised."
Matt meant these words as a compliment, but I didn't take them that way. I pushed back: What did he mean that he was surprised? I am always warm and friendly and engaged! I always look like I am glad to be there! I prided myself on engaging people well. After all, I've always known that I wasn't going to get ahead in life based on overwhelming intelligence; people with my limited wattage need to be warm and friendly.
But Matt didn't see me like this. He explained that, though he liked me personally, he had always perceived me as aloof and a little distant. To make matters worse, he began to give me some very specific examples of times that he had observed me behaving that way.
As you can imagine, I was disturbed by Matt's words. After I left his office, I turned his words over and over in my mind. Finally, I came to the conclusion that he was crazy. Or if he was not crazy, at least he was overly critical. Even though Matt was a trusted friend who had known me for ten years, I was convinced that my perception of myself was right and his perception was wrong.
That afternoon I had a lunch appointment with Steve, who was another member of the church. I didn't know Steve very well at the time, but in the course of his involvement with the church he had had plenty of opportunities to observe me in action. While we ate, I relayed to Steve the details of my earlier conversation with Matt. When I finished, I asked him if he agreed. I wasn't really an aloof and distant person, was I?
Much to my surprise, Steve nodded his head furiously. Through a mouthful of enchiladas he said, "Yup. That's absolutely you. You're totally that way. Aloof ... I like that. That's a good word for it." He then shared in detail why he thought I was. By the time my lunch with Steve was over, I was convinced that he and Matt were right about me.
I was also devastated. My perception of myself had been laughably inaccurate. I had been sure that I was Mr. Friendly, but everyone else thought that I was Mr. Distant-and-Intimidating. How could I have been so completely blind to the truth about myself? Have you ever felt that way?
The Only Opinion That Matters
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells us about a group of people who come to realize the truth about themselves only after it is too late. He sets the scene for a harrowing account of what the final judgment will be like:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (Matt. 25:31–32)
The sheep here represent God's people, the true followers of Christ. They are praised by their master and ushered into "the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 25:34). Theirs is the fate that we want!
The goats, on the other hand, do not fare well at all. Listen to what Jesus says to them:
Then he will say to those on his left, "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me." Then they also will answer, saying, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?" Then he will answer them, saying, "Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me." And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matt. 25:41–46)
There are many things that we could say about this passage, which is why we'll return to it in chapter 6. But two things are important for us to see right now. First, everyone gathered before that throne either considered themselves to be Christians or at least expected Christ's approval. When Jesus confronted the goats with their eternal destruction, no one threw up their hands and said, "You are right Jesus! I was wrong. I always said that you did not really exist. I never believed in you. I should never have decided to reject you after all!"
None of them were consciously opposed to Jesus. In fact, when they heard Jesus's verdict, they seemed to think that there must have been some mistake. They all showed up for the big event expecting to receive a reward from Jesus. But they were terribly wrong. They were self-deceived. They did not see their own state clearly, and their blindness cost them everything.
Second, notice that Jesus himself is the judge. He is the one who ushers people into eternal life or eternal punishment. The nations gathered before him do not make that decision. There is nothing they can say or do to change his mind. The only thing that matters on that last day is whether Jesus says that you are one of his.
When you stand before Jesus your judge, any evidence you marshal on your own behalf won't matter. You might point to all the times you prayed "The Sinner's Prayer," or the time you walked down the aisle, or your baptism, or the other time you were baptized in case the first one didn't "take," or the youth retreats you attended, or the missions trips you went on. But if, in that final moment, Jesus does not look at you and say, "She is one of my sheep" or "He belongs to me," none of that will matter. You will not be able to argue with the Judge's verdict. Jesus himself said in the Sermon on the Mount:
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." (Matt. 7:21–23)
Can you see what Jesus is saying? It is possible for you to honestly believe that you are a follower of Christ, but not actually be one. It is possible to say to him, "Lord, Lord," but never enter the kingdom of heaven. Merely checking a box and calling yourself a Christian doesn't mean that you really are a Christian.
Recently, a high-profile website was established where people can sign their names and publicly "declare their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." I suppose that's fine if that's your cup of tea. But God will not refer to such a website on the day of judgment. It is his evaluation of you that ultimately matters, not yours. As Jesus said, only those who do the will of the Father in heaven are really Christians. Everyone else will hear Jesus say, "Depart from me."
An Unpleasant Surprise
I realize that what I'm saying is different from what many churches teach these days. In their well-intentioned desire to make the good news of Jesus available to everyone, many churches make the decision to follow Jesus a little too easy. They make it about the decision. Just say you want to be a Christian, and you are one. Pray these words. Sign this card. Follow those steps. Presto, you are a Christian. End of story. Case closed. Welcome to heaven!
It is true that we need to make a onetime decision to follow Jesus. But a true onetime decision is followed by the everyday decision to follow Jesus. Jesus did not think that it was enough just to superficially identify yourself with him. There is more to being his follower than just a profession of faith. My fear is that too many churches have encouraged people to expect that Jesus will one day say to them, "Well done, faithful servant." But in fact, they will hear him say, "Depart from me." Such people will discover the truth only after it is too late.
Is it possible that you could be one of those people? Could it be that you are not really a Christian? How can you be sure?
Jesus Isn't Willy Wonka
Admittedly, this is a complicated subject, and there are lots of ways our thinking can go wrong. One misunderstanding we must guard against concerns the character of Jesus.
Do you remember the classic 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory? (I'm talking about the old freaky one starring Gene Wilder, not the new freaky one starring Johnny Depp.) After our heroes Charlie and Grandpa Joe have survived an arduous tour of the Wonka Chocolate Factory, they go to collect the grand prize that's been promised to them: a lifetime supply of Wonka chocolate. But there's a surprise at the end. Willy Wonka, the factory owner, denies Charlie the prize based on a technicality. The scene goes like this: Grandpa Joe: Mr. Wonka?
Willy Wonka: I am extraordinarily busy, sir.
Grandpa Joe: I just wanted to ask about the chocolate. Uh, the lifetime supply of chocolate ... for Charlie. When does he get it?
Willy Wonka: He doesn't.
Grandpa Joe: Why not?
Willy Wonka: Because he broke the rules.
Grandpa Joe: What rules? We didn't see any rules, did we, Charlie?
Willy Wonka: Wrong, sir! Wrong! Under section 37B of the contract signed by him, it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if — and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy: I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained, et cetera, et cetera ... Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum, et cetera, et cetera ... Memo bis punitor delicatum! It is all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You stole fizzy lifting drinks! You bumped into the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!
Grandpa Joe: You're a crook. You're a cheat and a swindler! That's what you are! How could you do something like this, build up a little boy's hopes and then smash all his dreams to pieces? You're an inhuman monster!
Willy Wonka: I said, "Good day!"
Here is the misunderstanding to guard against: Jesus is not like Willy Wonka. Our God is not a God who delights in keeping people in the dark, only to pull the rug out from under them in the last minute and deny them the rewards he promised. He is not a miser looking to withhold blessings on a technicality.
Instead, God delights in saving his people. Jesus says that he "came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10). That is why he came to earth, to save us from our sins. If he didn't want to save us, he would not have come in the first place. Jesus is not a cheat. He is not a swindler. He is not an inhumane monster. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Furthermore, Jesus has graciously given us extremely clear guidance about who truly belongs to him. In the verses leading up to the passage we read a moment ago, in which Jesus says he will tell some to depart, he explains, "You will recognize them by their fruits" (Matt. 7:20). In the verses following this same passage, Jesus gives an illustration of a man who hears Jesus's words and "does them" being like a wise man who builds on solid rock. Meanwhile, the man who hears Jesus's words but "does not do them" is like a foolish man who builds on sand (Matt. 7:24–27). There are no hidden clauses here. Jesus is looking, quite simply, for "the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21).
The very fact that Jesus tells us about the danger we are in is proof of his love and mercy. He has given us these warnings and he wants us to heed them. His words should ring in our souls like a fire alarm. His cautions are meant to help us reach that last day without being self-deceived.
For the same reasons, the apostle Paul instructs the church in Corinth, "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves" (2 Cor. 13:5). Likewise, the apostle Peter instructs, "Be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 1:10–11). Paul and Peter loved the people who would read their letters, and so they warned them to look carefully at their lives before it was too late.
That is what I hope to do throughout this book. I want to look at some of the places in Scripture where Jesus tells us exactly on what basis we can examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith. Ideally, this should be done in the context of a local church. Because we are not always the best judges of our own lives and behavior, it is extremely important to have wise and honest Christians around us who can help us see things in our lives that we cannot see on our own. So find someone in your church (or, maybe find a church!) to ask to come along with you on this journey. But first, we have one more bit of legwork to do.
How to Respond
Does Jesus's warning in Matthew 7:21–23 make you uncomfortable? Why?
Why do you think it is not enough to just say that you are a Christian?(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Am I Really a Christian?"
Copyright © 2011 Mike McKinley.
Excerpted by permission of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword Kirk Cameron 11
Introduction: Is This Book Mean Spirited? 13
1 You Are Not a Christian 17
Just Because You Say That You Are
2 You Are Not a Christian 29
If You Haven't Been Born Again
3 You Are Not a Christian 43
Just Because You Like Jesus
4 You Are Not a Christian 59
If You Enjoy Sin
5 You Are Not a Christian 75
If You Do Not Endure to the End
6 You Are Not a Christian 91
If You Don't Love Other People
7 You Are Not a Christian 105
If You Love Your Stuff
8 Can I Ever Really Know If I Am a Christian? 121
9 A Little Help from Your Friends 135
General Index 152
Scripture Index 154
What People are Saying About This
“This is a truly important book in the most urgent sensea book that serves the cause of Christ by raising the most important question human beings face, and helping to answer it, no less. I am thankful to McKinley for his faithfulness and for the pastoral concern that prompted him to write such an important work.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“There can be no more important question than ‘Am I really a Christian?’ and Mike McKinley helps us answer it with great skill. He manages to challenge nominal Christians while comforting genuine believers. McKinley’s writing is accessible, engaging, and simple without ever being simplistic. I particularly appreciate the way he encourages us to explore this crucial question in the context of a Christian community. If you’re not sure where you stand before God, or you know someone who’s not sure, then this is the book for you.”
Tim Chester, Pastor, Grace Church Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire; Faculty Member, Crosslands Training
“Can any question in life be as important as knowing whether you are right with God, whether you are going to Heaven or Hell? I’m quite sure that every person now in eternitywith not a single exception among the billions therewould affirm the urgency and priority of pursuing the answer to such a question. That’s why, if you have any uncertainties about the answer for your own situation, you should read this book. Some day, on a day as real as the one in which you entered the world, as real as the one in which you are reading these words, you will enter another world. There you will remain forever. Are you ready? If not, this book will help you understand how the Bible says to prepare.”
Donald S. Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Associate Dean, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life and Praying the Bible
“Simple, piercing, winsome, practical, honest, direct and pastoral. If you know anyone questioning their conversion (or who should be questioning!), get this book!”
Dave Harvey,Teaching Pastor, Summit Church, Naples, Florida; author, When Sinners Say I Doand Am I Called?
“Really, is there anything more important to know about ourselves than whether or not we are actually Christians? People have come up with a lot of different ways of thinking about that questionranging from your ability to remember ‘praying the prayer,’ to possessing a signed card in your Bible from a revival meeting, to ensuring your ‘letter’ is safely tucked away in some church's filing cabinet. Examining ourselves to make sure we are in the faith is about a whole lot more than that, and McKinley offers good help for that kind of heart evaluation. This is good devotional material, good small group material; And I expect that for some, it will probably even turn out to be the first time they’ve truly understood the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Greg Gilbert, Senior Pastor, Third Avenue Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky; author, What Is the Gospel?
“Mike has always had the ability to talk about the mundane and serious aspects of life with both passion and depth in an endearing way. That is such a great and rare combination. Using those skills in his newest book, he references everyday experiences to explain much deeper and more important spiritual truths around the question of how do I know I am a Christian or not?”
Jackson Crum, Lead Pastor, Park Community Church, Chicago, Illinois
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Review of Am I Really a Christian? by Mike McKinleyIf you don¿t want to be a Christian this book is not for you. Put it down. If you believe you are a Christian and are satisfied with your grasp of the doctrine of salvation, the role of faith in salvation, personal assurance of salvation and the manner in which your life lines up with your belief system, this book has nothing to offer you. Walk away. There is danger, however, in thinking you are past the point of need for self-examination or for peer-accountability regarding the direction of your life. Since your eternal destination hangs in the balance, the subject matter should be worth your consideration. With these statements Mike McKinley, the pastor of a Baptist congregation, pinpoints the intended audience of Am I really a Christian: the most important question you¿re not asking (Crossway, 2011). Christian jargon can bring more confusion than clarity. In the context of Am I really a Christian?, McKinley¿s perspective of ¿born again¿ is one of regeneration. The regenerating love and mercy of God is the cause of salvation while the fruit of the believer¿s life is the result or effect of salvation. Being a ¿Christian¿ goes beyond respect for Jesus to belief and faith in him. McKinley addresses the concept of faith as consisting of both objective content (doctrine) and a personal trust in Christ. McKinley also addresses the often tossed about ¿once saved, always saved¿ catch-phrase and the concept of ¿losing¿ salvation when a Christian doesn¿t persevere in his faith. This is an area of dispute among Christian denominations. A genuine Christian, McKinley states, ¿perseveres in following Christ¿ (emphasis is the author¿s). A onetime decision is important and it should be followed by a daily decision to follow Christ. Am I really a Christian? is scripture rich. McKinley relies heavily on passages of scripture and points readers to them by providing direct quotations within the text. Like John Piper¿s Think: the life of the mind and the love of God (Crossway, 2010), McKinley compels readers to look past feelings and common Christian expressions to contemplate questions like the following: What do I believe? Do I agree? Does scripture bear out his arguments? How should I respond in light of these truths?McKinley¿s message is to the church. He speaks as a fellow sojourner wanting to guide, encourage and strengthen the faith of believers. He takes care to reassure Christians with sensitive consciences. His pastoral gifting rings true. He is a builder and a gatherer. The author continually brings to the forefront the need for believers to be surrounded by brothers and sisters that can be trusted to come alongside to encourage and guide you as you walk out your faith. As the body of Christ, the goal should be self-evaluation in consultation with trusted mentors in order to seek and find evidence that the cause of our salvation (God¿s regenerating love and mercy) has taken root and our lives are beginning to reveal the fruit (effect) of that salvation. To aid in this process, McKinley recommends the formation of year-long one-on-one mentoring relationships. The format for each chapter is text followed by a How to Respond section containing four points: reflect, repent, remember, and report. The book contains three appendices: Notes, containing sources for in-text references divided by chapter; Subject Index and Scripture Index. Am I Really a Christian? can be useful to individuals apart from a group environment. Its best and most complete use will come in the form of small groups of either new believers or those seeking membership within the body of a local congregation. A person¿s willingness to engage in such a small group would be a good indicator to leadership of the individual¿s desire to become a Christian and/or to participate in the life of that body. If you are willing to put quality time into self-evaluation in consultation with trusted f
God knows his own. Just saying we¿re a Christian doesn¿t make it so. God sees ¿us clearly, we don¿t see ourselves clearly.¿ I loved to Willy Wonka and how God makes it clear what we have to do to be a Christian. There are no ¿hidden clauses.¿ He uses many analogies. ¿Our life is destroyed by sin, not damaged by it. He used a rotted closet to represent our sinful lives. We can¿t patch it up. Christ must replace every bit of the rot with his love and grace,( see page 35). Just ¿liking¿ Jesus doesn¿t make us a Christian.Being a Christian means ¿changing teams and having new allegiances¿, (page 60). I loved the analogy that many people think of forgiveness like a vaccination you get once that protects you against hell¿s fires, while you continue to do what you want to do!¿ (page 79)
One thing I want to emphasize is this book is not aimed at non-Christians. It’s not meant to convert the non-believer or convince the non-believer that Christianity is the only way. Instead, it focuses on individuals who claim to be Christian and helps those individuals examine their lives, so they don’t miss the boat. Much of what Mr. McKinley said, I knew to be true. It’s clearly laid out in the bible. I don’t know who has a ticket and who doesn’t, but I do know the bible says something to the effect of the gate is small and the road is narrow and few will find it. So logically, it makes sense to me that not everyone who boasts to be a Christian is going to find the path. Especially when considering upwards of 60,70, 80% of Americans believe they’re Christians. Who knows the figures in other countries. Few doesn’t equal the majority. So the question is: if one truly believes the information in the bible, wouldn’t he/she want to be sure to be on the right track rather than one of the many who think they’re walking down the right path, only to find too late they’re on the broad road? Am I Really a Christian? is like stopping and asking for directions. In the end, some might receive a wake up call, but also might find hope and an opportunity to step on the road they’d meant to travel. I loved that this book doesn’t focus on hells fire and damnation. It doesn’t try to scare folks into becoming a Christian or scare people who claim to be a Christian into behaving right. Instead, it identifies markers which might suggest one is or isn’t a Christian. Not by way of finger pointing, which can be so easy (That person’s not a Christian. That person isn’t. That person is.) No. None of that. It isn’t about whether others want to classify a person as a goat or a sheep. Rather it helps a person examine his/her walk with the help of those in the Christian community. Even though this is a work tailored toward those who believe they’re Christian, I still think it’s a great read for non-Christians. Why? Because I believe the worldview on Christianity is tainted by those who profess to be Christian but act in non-Christian ways in the name of Christianity. Am I Really a Christian? is truly insightful. I received this work from the publisher in exchange for a review.
God knows his own. Just saying we're a Christian doesn't make it so. God sees "us clearly, we don't see ourselves clearly." I loved to Willy Wonka and how God makes it clear what we have to do to be a Christian. There are no "hidden clauses." He uses many analogies. "Our life is destroyed by sin, not damaged by it. He used a rotted closet to represent our sinful lives. We can't patch it up. Christ must replace every bit of the rot with his love and grace,( see page 35). Just "liking" Jesus doesn't make us a Christian. Being a Christian means "changing teams and having new allegiances", (page 60). I loved the analogy that many people think of forgiveness like a vaccination you get once that protects you against hell's fires, while you continue to do what you want to do!" (page 79)
The introduction to this book says alot. Mike has a way of putting things in simple understandable terms. He uses humor and down to earth situations to help. This book is for those who believe they are Christians. It is backed up with scripture. Not just a verse here or there to fit what he says but paragraphs to show what God is saying to us. It is not a comfortable book. He makes you think about where you are, if you are a true believer or just going through the motions. It is a book of conviction. Christian has become a common word in some ways without the powerful meaning behind it. It is popular to say your a Christian but that is not the same as living as one. I recommend this book to all who may be wondering where they stand in their faith, those who are floundering and even those who think they are in perfect condition.