Time is flying! We are already almost halfway through December 2015! 2016 is just around the corner!
One thing that has come up often over the last couple of weeks is who and what is a christian? Most people have their opinion and especially in SA a lot of people say they are christians but are we? Hmm… so what according to the Bible (in my opinion) makes us a Christian and not according to our thoughts or what other people say is a Christian…
There are a lot of ideas floating around about what it means to be a Christian. This is to be expected since most people have not been taught about the Bible. Some ideas (and not what the Bible states) about what makes a person a Christian are:
- believes that God exists
- believes that Jesus Christ was a real person
- goes to church every week
- was taught about religion when they were young by parents/church
- reads the Bible and knows a lot about it
- follows the rules, laws, commandments and rituals of a church
- preaches to others telling them how they should live
- I am a good person therefore God will take me into heaven
The above points do not make you a christian.
Some Bible verses to consider:
Rom 3:23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” The Bible is very clear that everyone one of us are born into sin and are not blameless and are not inherently good. Just look at a child and how they do wrong things from the beginning.
Rom 10:13: “For everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord, Shall be saved” We have to call upon the name of the Lord Jesus to be saved. Calling is asking Him. Nowhere does it say to come to God through anyone else but Jesus.
John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” We can only get to God/Heaven through Jesus Christ. Not through your mom and dad serving God, not through Mary, not through your pastor/minister. Only way is through Jesus therefore:
John 1:12: “But as many as received Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in Him” We have to receive Jesus into our “hearts” and we have to believe in Jesus then we will be called children of God, Christians
John 11:26: “Indeed, everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe that?” According to Jesus, even though our bodies will rot our spirits will keep living on with him forever.
A Christian in my opinion is therefore:
The word “Christian” is used in the Bible in Acts 11:26 which states that the disciples of Christ were first called “Christians” in a city called Antioch. The word literally means “little Christ” signifying that one is like Christ. Christians are people who are similar to Jesus Christ in their actions and thinking. They have come to see themselves and the world around them in a new way. After looking at and studying the Bible and the world around them, they have come to realize several things. They believe these conclusions, not on blind faith but because there is evidence that they are true.
Some of these conclusions are:
- the Bible is a reliable and true book
- God created the universe and all living things and not evolution
- God loves everyone and wants to be our God
- anyone who loves another gives them the freedom to choose whether to love them back or not
- God gives each person the freedom to live in whatever way they want, but there are consequences to the choices they make (for example: everyone who chooses to live their life without consideration of God, has to live with the consequences of that decision)
- the world today is in a “mess” – full of evil and suffering
- the evil in the world is a result of people’s choice (either now or in the past) to live apart from God
- each person has contributed in some way to the evil in the world by their evil desires, thoughts, words or actions
- because of this evil in each of us, we deserve punishment from God
- we cannot become good through our own efforts – we need someone’s help and can only be done through God
- God chooses to love us in spite of the evil inside of us and He Himself has provided the help we need by sending Jesus Christ (the Messiah)
- Jesus was a real person who lived about 2000 years ago, was murdered by being hung on a cross, was buried, about three days later came back to life and about 40 days later left the earth
- this Jesus was not just a man but is the Son of God: He existed before the creation of the universe, He left heaven, became a man and when He left the earth returned to His Father where He is now
- the reason Jesus came was to pay for the evil in the world so that we could be forgiven
- this forgiveness is not automatic, but is only given to each person who chooses to receive the living Jesus Christ as their savior and who gives Him control over their life
How to become a christian:
Becoming a Christian is a process of realizing the above conclusions. Then you need to make a choice – do you allow Jesus to take control of your life? If you believe that Jesus died for you and you want Him to take over, then you must personally ask Him to come into your life.
A suggested prayer is the following:
“Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Master. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me the person You want me to be.”
This will be the beginning of a new life with Jesus and through allowing Jesus to work in and through you, you will continue to change into the image of Jesus. Less and less of the sin will be in your life. You do not just change over night but it is a process which if allowed to happen will continue to change you.
The Benefits of being a Christian:
After you have chosen to trust Jesus, you will receive what God has promised to those who love Him. Check each of the promises below by looking up the Bible references given:
- your sins have been forgiven (Col 1:13-14)
- Jesus Christ is living inside of you (in the form of the Holy Spirit) (Rom 8:9-10)
- you are a new person (2 Cor 5:17)
- you have been born-again into God’s family; you have become a child of God (John 1:12)
- you have a guarantee of eternal life with God in heaven; nothing can separate you from God (John 5:24, Rom 8:31-39)
- because you trust Jesus you will value His opinion and ask His advice on various aspects of your life; your reliance on Him will grow stronger over time (Prov 16:3, John 15:12-17, Ps 37:1-6)
- the power of sin over you has been weakened and it will continue to diminish in strength; you will still occasionally sin but you will progress and become more and more like Christ (Rom 12:2, Phil 3:12-16)
- you will want to read the Bible (2 Tim 3:16-17)
- you will care about others more (1 John 4:7-21)
- you will become more confidence/hopeful/assured and you will worry less and less (Rom 15:13, Phil 4:6-7)
- you will want to go to a church where Christ is honored and the Bible is preached (Heb 10:25)
- God will be with you even when you have difficulties and will use them for your good or someone else’s good (Rom 8:28; James 1:2-3)
So in short, a Christian is someone who believes that Jesus came to earth to die for our sins and has accepted Him as Lord and as Saviour. A christian is someone who follows Jesus’s ways always, even though that person will sin, they will keep repenting of their wicket ways and return to Christ to keep following and growing in His ways and do that sin no more. A christian is someone who studies and do Gods Word as that is the primary way God speaks to us daily and a christian is someone who partakes in the Body of Christ (the church). They are not perfect (will continue to make mistakes) but strive to become better and more like Christ daily.
There is a lot more to say, but I will leave that till next time!