A true Christian is anyone who has truly repented of their sins and believed in Jesus Christ the Risen One as their Lord and Savior. There are many people who think they are Christians but are not. In fact, some think that they are really good Christians but are not. They may lead the praise band at their church, they may be preachers, they might baptize other Christians, they might donate time to feed the poor, they might share their stories at testimony time. They might have even experienced a healing. But none of these things guarentees that they are Christians. Some people participate in church and chase after religous experiences in order to impress others. Just because you have tears streaming down your face and are raising your hands in front of a big crowd does not mean that you really love God. It could mean that you just love the attention. All of us need to come before God as sinners and humble ourselves before Him and repent of our sins. We must believe that Jesus is the eternal Son of God and that God has raised Him from the dead. No one is excepted from this.
The Apostle Paul, in his letter which he wrote to the Corinthians 2,000 years ago, warns them about trusting in your religious experiences to save you. He reminds his readers about the faithlessness of many of the children of Israel who followed Moses out of Egypt. Their were times that it seemed like they loved God. They had incredible religious experiences. They got to see the great cloud of God’s presence leading them on their Journey, they got to witness a miraculous salvation through the Red Sea:
For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. (I Corinthians 10:1-5 NIV)
Nevertheless, despite seeing and experiencing these great things, they still rejected God in their hearts. Yes, they believed God existed in a factual sense: they had seen what He had done. But they did not love Him. They did not submit to Him. They did not repent. And for this reason many of them were eventually struck dead by God during their many rebellions.
Therefore, let us learn from their example. Not all people who claim to be Christians or who have religious experiences are saved:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many[n]miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)