Hi! This is my first post and I’m excited to post what I’m learning about. Since this site is dedicated to Christianity, I’d like to post a few thoughts on what it means to be a Christian.
The first step for determining what it means to be a Christian is to establish what your authority for truth is. Many people will say you cant prove the Bible with the Bible. I don’t believe that statement is accurate. We all have to decide what our ultimate authority. And if that is the Bible, then it will come back to itself. It is a circular argument because indeed, the Bible does prove itself. It is the ultimate authority for truth. Being a Christian is about believing in the truth of Scripture. We are saved by the truth. It’s a presupposition that the Bible is true.
So if the Bible is the Ultimate authority for truth, what does it mean to be a Christian?
We are sinners from the Fall. Adam ate the fruit and is our spiritual Father; our federal head. We are now separated from God and need to be reconciled back to Him.
God is Holy. How could a Holy, loving God send people to hell? Well God doesn’t send people to hell. We are destined there to begin with because of the fall. God provides a lifeboat in Jesus Christ. God’s holiness requires him to love righteousness and hate wickedness. Sin demands a penalty. If we were in a courtroom and someone murdered someone, they wouldn’t get off because their good works outweighed their one instance of murder. They would be punished justly with lots of Jail time and probably the death penalty.
We have Hope is Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior if we Believe that He is the God-man. He has to be God to forgive of sins and be raised from the dead. If we don’t believe he has been raised from the dead, we are still in our sins (1 Corinithians:15) It is a great exchange. Our sin in imputed to Christ and His righteousness is imputed to us. He perfectly obeyed and is 100% righteous. Trusting in Christ alone, his death and resurrection is the only way to be saved from God’s wrath. Salvation and repentance is one of the same coin. True Christians repent of their sins and are headed toward a new direction. The Christian life is one of continual repentance; Christians still sin but they aren’t diving into sin.
First and foremost, a Christian is someone who’s life has been radically transformed by God’s Grace through Faith. (Ephesians 2:8) This is called justification or positional sanctification. Whoever believes in Christ will have eternal life (John 3:16). It is a faith accompanied by repentance from sin only possible with the Holy Spirit. We are all sinners under God’s wrath. However, once we truly believe by God’s grace, our life will be radically transformed. (2 Corinthians 5:17.) It is this saving power that is the beginning of a miraculous life. A life that is directed toward His holiness, His paths, His righteousness, His purposes, His Heart, and His will. It is a life that is incalculably greater than the previous life. This life changes your friendships, your direction, your heart, your thinking patterns, and ultimately your character. And that makes sense. Because as we grow in Christ, we are emulating the Character of God; his attributes. His attributes such as His love, His forgiveness etc.
So what now? Maybe you are confused. I know I was. What does my life look like after I become a Christian? Am I supposed to be holy and just abide by a bunch of rules? Can I live however I want? The answer is no. Christians have a new heart to follow God’s ways. God’s ways are in the Bible which are His revealed will. It is the heart of the Christian to abide by these commands and strive for holiness every day. Sanctification (Progressive holiness) takes an aggressive effort. There is a war going on; spiritual warfare as outlined by Paul in Romans 7 and Galatians 5. It is the battle of the flesh and the Spirit. Our old ways and our New ways. Sin vs Righteousness. The idea is that as we progress through the Christian life, we will be empowered by the Spirit to conform more and more to Christ. The Word Sanctifies (2 Timothy 3:16; Psalm:119) Friendships Sanctifies. Prayer Sanctifies. It is our goal, our motivation to live holy because God is Holy. Sin separates us from God. God sent us His Son and we have a new hope to live for Him and be in fellowship with him (Titus 2:11) Now we are holy which means we are separated unto God for Holiness for his purposes. We are instruments of His righteousness to be used.
So really, what does this look like on a daily basis? Well, believers are not blinded but enlightened to the truth of God. They are not under the Power of Sin. It should be in the believer’s heart to strive for the things of God. What does this include?
- Reading the Word-The Word Sanctifies. It is God’s plan for our life and we need to be in it. It is the believer’s desire and a mark of a true Christian (John:8)
- Fellowship- Get into a Bible believing church. True growth can’t happen without fellowship and discipleship. It may be able to happen to a certain extent, but the true fruit of it can’t be seen without the church. The Christian life isn’t meant to be lived isolated. It is a community of believers striving toward the same goal, loving each other and living life together as a witness to the World for the Gospel. The Gospel that Jesus died for our sins. And by believing and repenting through God’s grace, we can have eternal life. A life that strives for the hope of glorification and being in heaven one day. The day that has unlimited value; the day when we will give an account to Christ at the judgment seat of Christ ( The judgment for believers; the Bema seat)
- Prayer- Consistent prayer. Confessing sin to restore fellowship (1 John 1:9) This isn’t restoring fellowship as in being in and out of salvation; it’s cleansing us from sin and restoring the relationship of our great God with us. We need to be in continued relationship with God through prayer, confession, and reading his Word. Christ is in us (Galatians 2:20)
- Striving for holiness- In mind, body, Spirit. This is the desire of a true Christian; a result of the new nature
Is this a checklist? By no means. It shouldn’t feel like a checklist. These are just good, productive things that will make the life of a Christian easier to live. Easier to live out His commands. They are done out of a willing submission to the Father that comes from a heart only He can provide. And that is what the Christian life is about. A life that strives to go after the heart of God and what he wants for us. A life that trusts in His promises and lives those promises out. A life that is content with what he has provided. Being a Christian is about believing in Christ as the God-man alone for salvation. He gives us the belief, grants us repentance, and grants us salvation. There’s nothing we can do to earn salvation. Even our faith doesn’t save us. We don’t contribute to salvation. It is all of Christ.
-For His Glory