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Christian Characteristics

By Pastor William R. Cunningham
July 16, 2006

 

Scripture Lesson: Galatians 5:22-24

Galatians 5:22-24 (NKJV) -- {22} But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, {23} gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. {24} And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Introduction

The other day I was on my way to the gym for my workout and as I noticed a care coming in the opposite direction extremely slowly as I was waiting at the light in my truck.  I thought to myself that those slow driving people should not be on the road and that driving so slowly probably contributes to accidents.  However, as the car got closer, I noticed that an older man (55 or greater from the looks of him) was pushing it.  My first reaction was to jump outside of my truck and help him push the car, but I knew that would be very risky as I don’t know what condition my leg was in since rupturing my quadriceps tendon last September and I fear greatly re-injuring it by stressing it too much.  However, before I could even move the person in the SUV in front of me jumped out and began pushing the car with the man that was already pushing it.

The two pushed the car to the gas station, but ran into a problem trying to get it past the ramp going into the gas station.  Again I contemplated getting out helping to push the car, but once more someone else jumped out of their car to help.  This time it was two men.  All four men pushed the car into the gas station successfully.  I felt very funny sitting there because I’m usually one of the first to help in situations like that, but it was so good to see people running to the aid of someone else with no concern for compensation.

Another situation occurred regarding someone I work with.  She was in a serious car accident, but was thankfully not seriously hurt.  However, she said that the person who hit her tried to get away (a hit and run attempt), but another person stopped him and yet another paramedic who happened to be there helped her.  These were small gestures that made a world of difference to my co-worker.

Now a few days ago this ministry was asked to identify the characteristics of a Christian.  What are the characteristics of a Christian?  How would you know a Christian when you saw one.  Were the people who helped someone else in the illustrations above Christians?  That is a very good question and the answer is not what you might expect.

We are going to discuss the characteristics of a Christian.  However, we are going to focus on the characteristics that are consistent with the behavior and activities of the people in our illustrations above.  We are going to use Galatians 5:22-24 as the launching pad for this discussion on the characteristics of a Christian.

What is a Christian?

Let’s first define what we mean by Christian.  There are many people that claim to be a Christian, but do they really know what a Christian is.  First let’s do a straight definition.  The American Heritage dictionary defines the word “Christian” as follows.

  1. Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
  2. Relating to or derived from Jesus or Jesus's teachings.
  3. Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike.
  4. Relating to or characteristic of Christianity or its adherents.
  5. Showing a loving concern for others; humane.

These definitions are quite interesting and I believe that this is where a lot of the confusion about the true nature of Christianity originates.  Technically I would have to say that none of the definitions given above is quite right.  These definitions give the impression that a Christian is one who adheres to a certain standard when in fact that is far from the truth about Christianity.

Mere Religion?

Christianity is typically seen as a mere religion instead of a faith and therefore those who are said to be Christian are thought to be someone that adheres to the religious system called Christianity.  Is this what Christianity and what Christians are?  No.  Let’s now give the true definition of Christianity and therefore determine what a Christian really is.

Actually the Christian came first and then the concept of Christianity.  Those who were followers of Christ, that is, believed in Him after hearing the Gospel preached to them, were first.  In any case, let’s look at what a Christian was originally.  Where did this term come from?

Origination of the Name

The word Christian was first used (at least commonly used) at Antioch in Syria according to Luke (Acts 11:26).  It was a nickname given to the followers of Christ and it meant “of the household of Christus” or “partisans of Christus” or even “soldiers of Christus.”  One suggestion is that the word “Christian” was used as a satire of the followers of Christ.  Some suggest that it was modeled after the organized brigade of chanting devotes who led the public adulation of Nero Augustus.  The zeal and enthusiasm of the believers and the ludicrous homage of the brigade were satirized by the implicit comparison with each other.  It was kind of poking fun at the Christians by comparing them with the imperial cheer leaders.  However, the name “Christian” may be older than the institution of the chanting Augustiani brigade.

In any case, the word Christian was given to those who followed Christ.  Furthermore, it was given to the Christians by gentiles and did not originate from the Christians themselves.  The terms believer, followers of the way, and others were used to name those who followed Christ.

A Better Definition

Here is a very interesting point in case you missed it above.  The name Christian was given to those who followed Christ by those who were not followers of Christ.  The believers were called Christians by unbelievers.  Do you see the significance of that?  Consider this point, which is directly related to our discussion.  Why did the gentiles call the believers Christian?  What did they see such that they would give them a name that basically meant “followers of Christ” or “of the household of Christ?”  Are you getting it now?  Let me ask the question this way?  What characteristics did the gentiles see such that they would associate them with the man named Jesus Christ?

Seeing From the Outside

Remember that the followers of Christ were called Christians, i.e., of the house of Christ or patrons of Christ by those who were not followers of Christ, namely the gentiles.  So we can conclude that the gentiles must have seen something that distinguished the followers of Christ.  What did they see?

Before we get into that, let’s consider the role of characteristics here.  The gentiles saw certain traits in the followers of Christ that were so prominent that they were nicknamed.  At first the name Christian was not given as a honorable title, but simply as a distinction or as a joke as we discussed briefly earlier.  In any case, let me ask you this question.  What traits do you have that someone would conclude that you are a Christian?

OK.  Let’s get back to the previous question, namely, “What did they see?”  What did the first followers of Christ do such that they were labeled Christians?  The answer is very simple and we have been stating it indirectly almost since the beginning of this document.  All of the traits or characteristics that the gentiles saw came from one main premise.  The main characteristic of the followers of Christ at that time was that they were following Jesus Christ.

Following Jesus

John 12:26 (NKJV) -- {26} If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

John 10:27 (NKJV) -- {27} My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

All that the early Christians did in regards to their faith and the affects of that faith on their lifestyle derived from the fact that they were followers of Christ.  However, what does it mean to follow Christ?

The word “follow” means

  • To go after in or as if in pursuit
  • To move along the course of, to go in the direction of
  • To be guided by
  • To accept the guidance, command, or leadership of
  • To adhere to or practice
  • To take as a model or precedent, imitate

A follower of Christ is one who subscribes to the teachings or methods of Jesus Christ.  It is one who imitates or copies Jesus Christ in terms of lifestyle issues.

Now if you were careful here then you may have noticed something very interesting about the definition of following Jesus Christ.  Technically, a follower of Jesus Christ is not necessarily a true Christian, but we will talk more about that later.  For now let’s focus on the meaning of following Jesus Christ.

Jesus taught many things during His ministry on earth.  We can read His teachings in the Holy Bible and then govern our lives by the principles they reveal to us.  So someone could be considered a follower of Jesus Christ if he or she learned Jesus’ teachings and then abide by them.  We might call this a religious follower, because doing something is consistent with religious beliefs.

The fact that someone follows Jesus from a religious perspective as noted above is not necessarily a Christian in the strict sense of the word.  A Christian is more than following the rules so to speak.  Being a Christian means more than just using the teachings Jesus Christ as a guide for life.  We have to look at the underlying source of doing these things.

Becoming a Follower of Christ

Given the discussion above we can classify two groups of followers of Christ.

  1. The external or religious group
  2. The internal or spiritual group

Those are terms that I just made up to describe the two groups of followers.  As we said in the last section, the external or religious followers are only concerned with the teachings of Jesus Christ in regards to governing their lifestyle.  They would be concerned with such things as Jesus’ teaching on adultery, fornication, anger, prayer, etc.  The concern here does not tend to be those things that a spiritual in nature such as salvation.  The external or religious group is only concerned with abiding by the rules and doctrine.

On the other hand, the internal or spiritual group is concerned with the spiritual aspects of following Christ.  These are what I call true Christians because these believe in the Lord Jesus Christ that He died for their sins, rose again, and ascended to the Father.  These have put their faith in Jesus Christ and their lifestyle is a consequence of that commitment to Christ.

The primary difference here is that the external group believes that they are accepted by God by doing good things and the internal group believes that they are accepted by God because of their faith in Jesus Christ.  The early Christians followed the teachings of Jesus Christ as they learned them from the Apostles, but they also became a “Christian” first.  They put their faith in Jesus Christ after hearing and believing and accepting the Gospel that was preached to them.  The accepted that Gospel and the Holy Spirit entered into them and made them a new creation as Paul said.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) -- {17} Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

So one becomes a follower of Christ by putting his or her faith in Jesus Christ and not by merely following Jesus’ teachings.  Anyone could follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, which is a mere religious or external practice, but it takes someone who has put His faith in Christ to be a follower of Christ, i.e., a true Christian.

Jesus’ ministry was not to get us to do what He taught.  Jesus’ ministry was to get us back into a relationship with God.  A part of that was to teach us how the Kingdom of God operates and therefore how we should operate.  The teachings of Jesus Christ were not the object of His ministry, but a tool to get us to the primary objective, which was and still is the Father.

A Christian then is someone who puts His faith in Jesus Christ and becomes saved (regenerated, justified).  Good works that are consistent with Jesus’ teachings are a result of the regeneration that took place.  Another way of stating this is that we become a follower of Jesus Christ and then we follow Him.

Christian Characteristics

OK.  Now we know what a real Christian is at least as it applies to this discussion.  You will find that the definition of a Christian is quite complicated if you study this topic further.  However, those are more theological and religious issue well above the fundamental meaning of being a Christian.  However, just to recap we said that a Christian is one who puts her faith in Jesus Christ and that the good works or Christian Characteristics arise because of that faith.

The Primary Characteristic

Now the primary characteristic of a Christian is internal and not external.  In other words, the first trait of a Christian occurs on the inside of her and is not therefore something that she does.  This fundamental trait is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

The first characteristic of a Christian is the Holy Spirit abides within.

Of course I’m sure you realize that this is something that you cannot see, but it is something that you can see the affects of.  In other words we cannot see the Holy Spirit, but we can see the affects of the Holy Spirit on the lifestyle of a person.  This is why many people who become Christians say how their former friends don’t hang with them anymore or their acquaintances notice differences in them.  This lifestyle change is due to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who compels us to a walk consistent with Jesus’ teachings.

Notice here that a Christian isn’t someone who does the good things (follow the rules, abides by religious practices, etc.) and then the Holy Spirit comes when he reaches a particular point of “goodness.”  No.  The Holy Spirit comes when we put our faith in Jesus Christ and receive the salvation of the Lord.  After that our lifestyle changes because of the Holy Spirit within and we desire and tend to do those things that are consistent with the Way of God.

Now the affects of the Holy Spirit abiding within you will manifest in many ways in regards to your lifestyle.  However, we would expect those changes to lead to consistency with the Kingdom of God and therefore with the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Remember, Jesus was not creating a new system during His ministry on earth, but rather He was revealing the Kingdom of God that already existed.  We cannot enter that Kingdom by merely following the rules so to speak.  Entering God’s Kingdom and therefore the Christian faith is not obtained through religious activities.  Jesus admonished the Scribes and Pharisees of His day with just that point.

John 3:3 (NKJV) -- {3} Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

You may follow the rules and do the religious activities, but unless you are born again (regenerated, justified, saved) then you will never comprehend the Kingdom of God.  You will never “get it” so to speak.  Consider something that Jesus said.

Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV) -- {21} “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. {22} Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ {23} And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

My point here is that the Characteristics of a Christian begin with what’s inside and not with what we do on the outside.  It begins with receiving the Holy Spirit as a result of being born again and then the influence of the Holy Spirit will affect the way we live our lives.  This is why we can be holy because the Holy Spirit is within us.

Character Effects

The effect of putting our faith in Jesus Christ and receiving the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a changed lifestyle.  The premise is this; A righteous person does righteous things and we have been declared righteous as a result of our justification when we put our faith in Jesus Christ.  Therefore, the fact that the Holy Spirit is in us and we yield to His promptings will lead us to a different lifestyle.  Here is when the gifts of the Spirit come into play in regards to lifestyle.

Galatians 5:22-24 (NKJV) -- {22} But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, {23} gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. {24} And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

These should not be considered an all inclusive list of all the attributes of a Christian.  These are actually the attributes that come as a result of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  We have the gift of love, joy, peace, etc. in the context of the Kingdom of God.  I say in the context of the Kingdom of God because these gifts could be perceived differently depending on the context (the world or the Kingdom of God).  For example, love as it pertains to the world system is very different than it is in the Kingdom of God (See Matthew 6:43-46).

Let’s look at the items in Paul’s list just to discuss and give you illustrations as to the lifestyle that is consistent with the Kingdom of God, which we are led to by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Love - The bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8).  The bible also states that

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NKJV) -- {4} Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; {5} does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; {6} does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; {7} bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love is the very nature of God the father.   The word love means basically to esteem someone very highly.  It is to have a strong affection (even ineffable affection) towards someone.  It is the general concern for the well being of another.  The concept of love is indeed quite involved especially when we consider the Bible and how it compares with the typical use of the world (as in a man who loves a woman, or someone who loves their car).

In any case, we must see love here in the context of God’s love for us and our love for Him.  God holds us in high esteem and we should hold Him in high esteem as well.  God demonstrated His love for us by giving His only begotten son (John 3:16).  Love is unselfish among other things.  See 1 Corinthians 13 for Paul’s description of the concept of love.

Joy – Joy is the happy state that results from knowing and serving God. A number of Greek and Hebrew words are used in the Bible to convey the ideas of joy and rejoicing. We have the same situation in English with such nearly synonymous words as joy, happiness, pleasure, delight, gladness, merriment, felicity, and enjoyment. The words joy and rejoice are the words used most often to translate the corresponding Hebrew and Greek words into English.

The word joy means to experience great pleasure or delight.  Spiritually speaking, joy is much more than an emotion.  Sometimes people will say that joy is happiness.  This I believe is inaccurate when the spirit is considered.  Natural happiness in invoked by external stimuli.  For example, you may become happy because you get a new car.  However, joy is the state of happiness invoked from the spirit.  You are happy because of God:  You have joy.  This is why you can be unhappy about lack of finances, for example, but still have joy.  The unhappiness is externally invoked by your financial condition or situation.  The joy is invoked by the internal revelation of God in your soul and spirit.

Peace - A spirit of tranquility and freedom from inward and outward disturbances or circumstances.  It is to be still in a particular situation.  Peace is a very important characteristic that we all should practice.  Notice that because the Holy Spirit gives us peace does not mean that it is automatically realized.  We have to remember and practice the art of peace else we will cause ourselves to worry and fret.  See Philippians 4:6-7.
 
Patience – Peace is the ability to consistently wait and to tolerate; the ability to go through trials – longsuffering; an active endurance of opposition, not a passive resignation. Patience and patient are used to translate several Hebrew and Greek words. Patience is endurance, steadfastness, longsuffering, and forbearance.

Kindness - Benevolent, thoughtfulness, considerate. It is the steadfast love that maintains relationships through gracious aid in times of need.

Goodness - Goodness is well behaved; having desirable or positive qualities.

Faithfulness – Faithfulness is to be faithful, steadfast, dedicated, dependable, and worthy of trust. It is derived from the Hebrew root having the basic meaning "to trust (a person)," or "to believe (a statement)." This is the same root that gives us the word "amen." The derived meaning is that the one so described is trustworthy, dependable, trusting, or loyal.

Gentleness - Meekness, peaceful, mild mannered, not harsh

Self Control - The ability to retain your composure, to remain in control of your actions.  This is the modern translations' term for several Greek words indicating a sober, temperate, calm, and dispassionate approach to life, having mastered personal desires and passions.

So from these we could say that some of the characteristics of a Christian are love, joy, patience, faithfulness, etc.  Now keep in mind what I said earlier in this discussion.  Having these characteristics do not constitute being a Christian.  Anyone could have patience, faithfulness, gentleness, etc.  However, these attributes are gifts that we receive from the Holy Spirit and are in the context of the Kingdom of God in regards to Christianity.

Now we have to also look at Galatians 5:24 since it too describes a characteristic of a Christian.

Galatians 5:24 (NKJV) -- {24} And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Those who are Christ’s (of the household of Christ, i.e., Christians) have crucified their flesh along with the passions and desires.  The flesh is what causes us to do all kinds of sinful and selfish things.  The flesh is opposed to the things of God because it only is concerned about itself.  The flesh here could be understood as raw human nature.  The flesh, for example craves power, wealth, etc.  The Christian is not concerned with such things and as a matter of fact, those things are directly opposed to the way that the Kingdom of God works.  Jesus said that the greatest in the Kingdom of God is the servant.

Lifestyle Effects

The effect of the indwelling Holy Spirit is the changed lifestyle of the now Christian.  The way you think, act, and the way you perceive things are different.  Whereas apathy may have been more prevalent in your life, now you find yourself caring more about people in thought and deed.   It is possible for example that the people in the illustrations earlier in this discussion could have been Christians, but not necessarily so based on what we discovered earlier.  In any case, a Christian would be compelled to help whenever possible.  Christians cares about the people around them and that concern could manifest itself in helping when possible.

Christians are thought to be kind and passive, but those are not necessarily the activities of Christians.  Kindness sometimes is relative so an action may be perceived as unkind when in fact the gesture came as a result of kindness on the part of one person on the other.  My son may think that I am not kind by not letting him go to a particular party when he is a teenager, but I know that my decision is based on my concern for his well being.  So perhaps I’m not being kind, but instead operating by another concept or precept.

Relationship

I could go on with many examples, however my point is that you cannot merely look at the activities of a people and conclude that they are Christians.  To further determine or get a good idea of whether someone is a Christian requires relationship.  Remember that we said the primary or fundamental trait of a Christian is their faith in Jesus Christ that led to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who affects their lives in a plethora of ways.

We cannot say that a person is a Christian because he or she is nice, kind, loving, patient, self-controlled, etc.  There are other religions that may have those same attributes.  We can suspect that someone is a Christian if their life is consistent with Christian teachings (the teachings of Jesus Christ), and their life is a witness of their faith in Jesus Christ.  This person would say that he or she believes in Jesus Christ.  He or she would say that he or she believes that Jesus died for their sins, rose from the dead, and ascended to the father.  That would be an integral part of their life.  You would see this same person reading and studying the Bible, praying, talking about biblical things, going to church, being actively involved in church fellowship activities that are consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ (all church activities do not lead to Christ).  You will never know these things unless you got to know the person.

This is one reason why I ask people, “What would Martians conclude about you if they were to observer you for a period of time?”  They would get to know you, though not personally or intimately.  They would get to know your activities and you must realize that what a person spends their time doing voluntarily is indeed important to him.

For example, if a person spends most of their time watching television then one would have to conclude that television is important to her.  If a person spends a majority of their time doing community activities then one could say that either helping others or productive community activities are important to him.  If a person spends most of their time in church or doing church activities then we could conclude that church is important to that person.

Likewise, if a person spends a lot of time in things relating to Christianity such as studying the Bible, praying, talking to others about Christianity, etc., then we would have to say that Christianity is important to her or that the things of God is important to her.  Do you see what I mean?  These are the type of things that you learn about a person after getting to know them and for the most part it would require an intimate relationship since you wouldn’t know how much time a person prays by looking from the outside in to their lives for example.

Conformity to God’s Way

I would say that a very good way to describe the characteristics of a Christian is the concept of conformity.  A Christian strives to please God and to live their life according to the way that God would want them to live.  A Christian strives to live righteously since God declared them righteous when he or she was justified.

Now here we could easily get into subjective topics.  For example, one Christian would argue that war is against the way of God and defy their government when it tells him to go to war.  Another Christian would say that war is just a way of life and it is an opportunity to share the gospel with even more people or that war existed in the Bible so it shouldn’t be seen as forbidden by God.  These are more religious topics then fundamental Christian topics.  They are more of an interpretation of Christian ideals and not Christian attributes in themselves.  We have to be able to discern these types of things else we will think very wrongly of people in regards to the Christian faith.

The Spirit of God in a person will affect that person in many ways.  The characteristics of a Christian will be manifested in many ways depending on the situation (not that I am promoting situational ethics or relative morality).  My point is that a Christian conforms to the way of God’s Kingdom and it isn’t always evident from what is done.  For example, God is a loving God and yet he led His people to war where surely some would die.  God is a loving God and yet He punished those that were apostate or disobeyed Him.

Conclusion

What are the characteristics of a Christian?  We said in this discussion that first a Christian is someone who believes in the Lord and savior Jesus Christ.  A Christian believes that Jesus died on the cross for sins, rose from the dead, and ascended to the Father.  A Christian puts his or her faith in Jesus and therefore the redemptive act for the forgiveness of his or her sins and their reconciliation to the Father.  That is the fundamental definition of a Christian.  From there we could get into many other theological and apologetically discussion about the deity of Christ, the humanity of Christ, etc.  However, the number one determinant of a Christian is whether that person is saved or not, i.e., His or her name is written in the lamb’s book of life.

Next we said that the primary characteristic of a Christian is that the Holy Spirit dwells within.  From the indwelling Holy Spirit come the many lifestyle changes that a new Christian would experience and that will be developed as time goes by.  We said that the traits of a Christian come from the fact that he or she is saved and not the other way around.  Therefore, we can’t merely look at a person that is kind, benevolent, trustworthy, etc. and say that he or she is a Christian.  We would need to know that the Holy Spirit dwells within and that can only come by having a relationship with the person.

The Spirit of God within a person effects many changes in a person’s life and those changes are seen as various characteristics, which are expressed in various activities.  Therefore, the true characteristics of a Christian are really unseen, but those unseen components are manifested in a way that are seen, but are not exclusively Christian.  For example, the love of God that we have within us will cause us to help people that we do not know and with no regard for compensation just like the individuals in the illustration at the beginning of this discussion.  However, that concern for others does not mean that the person is a Christian, but rather a person who simply cares about others.

The Characteristics of a Christian then is again unseen and manifested in a way that they are seen, at least in effect.  However, we also stated that a Christian strives to live according to God’s way and that their live will conform more to that way.  A Christian will also spend more time in Christian related activities such as prayer, Bible study, fellowship meetings (church), and more.  From these we could suspect that someone is a Christian.  However, again we cannot say that a person is a Christian just because she goes to church.  We still would have to know the person in order to know what is indeed in the heart.I suppose that the bottom line here is that…

The true characteristics of a Christian are found in the heart

We can get to know a person or observe a person and obtain clues as to whether he or she is a Christian since what is in the heart comes out in word and deed.

The characteristic of a Christian is the indwelling Holy Spirit.  So anyone that you see with the indwelling Holy Spirit is a Christian.  However, one must ask how we would see the indwelling Holy Spirit in someone?  The answer is that you would see it from their lifestyle and what they do.

I like the way James puts it.

James 2:14-18 (NKJV) -- {14} What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? {15} If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, {16} and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? {17} Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. {18} But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

You may have faith and it doesn’t matter if no one sees it.  However, your faith should produce works or activities consistent with the affects of that faith on your life.  You have the Holy Spirit in you now live according to how the Holy Spirit directs you.  You have the characteristic of a Christian, namely the Holy Spirit; now allow others to see that characteristic in action.

Matthew 5:16 (NKJV) -- {16} Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

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