CINO – Christians in Name Only

It is not enough to have Christ in your Christian title; you need Christ in your life. “…Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness” (Romans 8:9-10 NKJV).

I had an interesting experience this past week. I received a package in error that was meant for another house on my street. I looked up the address to see which house it was. I was so blessed to see it was for a house that I had always wanted to meet the people who live there.

The reason I wanted to meet the owners is that I had always thought they were Christians. They had a sign about prayer on their front lawn that had been there for a long time. When I went to the door and rang the doorbell, I saw their doormat had a message about Jesus. There were good signs!

You may call yourself a Christian, but do you act like one? “But whoever obeys His Word has the love of God made perfect in him. This is the way to know if you belong to Christ. The one who says he belongs to Christ should live the same kind of life Christ lived” (1 John 2:5-6 NLV).

After ringing the doorbell, I saw a child through the window walking past. But after a short time, nobody answered the door, so I set the package down on their porch and started to walk home. Though I didn’t get to meet them, it was still a blessing to do something nice for them.

I did not get very far before the owner came out of the house. He started yelling at me violently and threatening me to never ever come back to his property again. I could not see him, but I felt the rage and the anger that was pouring out of his heart. It was unsettling to hear so much anger.

Whatever you pour out is whatever you’re filled with. Jesus taught, “Good people do good things because of the good in their hearts. Bad people do bad things because of the evil in their hearts. Your words show what is in your heart” (Luke 6:45 CEV).

I was so sad because I had thought he was a Christian but what I heard had nothing of Christ about it. I was already feeling very low that day as I was not well and had not been sleeping well. Yet, it is interesting to me that harsh words hurt more than physical pain because they go deeper.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words cut even deeper. “A soothing tongue [speaking words that build up and encourage] is a tree of life, but a perversive tongue [speaking words that overwhelm and depress] crushes the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4 AMP).

As I took my dog out for a walk that night, I prayed for this man. I don’t know what he is going through. I don’t know what caused him to act the way he did. I forgave him from afar and prayed the Lord would help him. If we want forgiveness from God, then we must be forgiving.

God doesn’t need your help to judge people but wants you to show them mercy. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:36-37 NIV).

Now I don’t know if this angry man is a Christian or not. I’ll just keep a safe distance and let God deal with him. But it reminded me that so many Christians are Christians in name only. They claim a title they do not live. This is a most dangerous place to be, thinking you are saved when you are drowning.

Religion does not save; Jesus does. The hardest ones to save are those who sit in the life raft of religion. Jesus told the religious leaders, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life…But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40 NKJV).

It doesn’t matter if your name is in the membership book at your church so long as your name is not written in God’s Book of Life. It doesn’t matter the Christian symbols you show so long as you harbor darkness in your heart. Get right with God first and then you can get right with people.

Don’t seek the title but live the life that the title would seek you. “…be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 NKJV). The example you set is the message you are.

So many in our churches today call themselves Christians but live a life that is a witness to something else. Don’t worry about them. Pray for them. What about you? Do you live a life such that people can see Christ within you? Do your actions support the title you call yourself?

Being Christian is not a title you wear but a new life you’re supposed to walk in. “Anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ did” (1 John 2:6 TLB).

Be sure I walk far around this house where I was threatened. I don’t fear, but I don’t want trouble either. I do think about what kind of witness I am to those around me. Let us not be Christians in name only, but with our words and with our actions, let us be a witness for Christ to the world around us.

We measure people by their title but the Lord measures them by what they do. “‘Pay attention!’ [says Yeshua,] ‘I am coming soon, and my rewards are with me to give to each person according to what he has done’” (Revelation 22:12 CJB).

Blessings to you,

Paul Balius


6 thoughts on “CINO – Christians in Name Only

  1. Wonderful post but I have a minor rebuttal – While we may not “wear” our Christian title, true Christian behavior can be seen by believers and non-believers as share our love of God.

    1. I think your rebuttal is spot on, you are very right! I think the more people can see Christ in us without the gimmicks and signs, the more influence we will have upon them.

  2. Thank you for this message, Paul.

    I have a feeling that the decorative items probably came from a believing wife that hopes for change in the world of this man. I am praying for her and the child to be protected.

    In this day and age he may have thought you were taking the package instead of delivering. I am not justifying what happened just praying he is not like that all of the time 😢

    1. Hi Julia, you bring up some very interesting points. I don’t know what was behind his actions, and I only hope that he is right with the Lord. I know that many people are carrying such heavy burdens, and it does not take much to set them off. They need our mercy and our Father in heaven wants us to give it to them. Blessings to you! Paul

  3. Thank you again for this message, I am always refreshed and redirected by your sharing and scripture. God Bless!

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