How does the Bible define a Christian? In the world, billions of individuals claim that they are Christians. Upon becoming a Christian, one necessity is committing to uphold and adhere to the Christian faith in your daily undertakings both in speech and in conduct. Christians believe in the Bible as their sacred book and in God who makes them full of life. However, there is a wide variation among those believers in terms of doctrines, practices, and beliefs. With these great disparities, one may tend to wonder what it really means to be a Christian. If you are lost in this mix-up, worry no more because the Bible outlines who a Christian is without any traces of confusion. Let us take a walk through the scriptures together and find out who is a Christian according to the Bible.
Christianity is a religion that believes in the worship of one God. Therefore, it is a monotheistic religion. This religion is among the most popular ones all around the world as it is made up of a belief system that is easy to comprehend and relate to. For you to become a Christian, it is paramount to understand the basics of this religion.
The definitions vary depending on the individual's perceptions. Some tend to think that a Christian is one who is born in a Christian family or nation, others think that it is one who believes in Jesus and his teachings. In addition, others think that a Christian is one who has a deep and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible outlines various features and characteristics in regard to who a Christian is. Below is a comprehensive list of who a Christian is according to the Bible.
1. A Christian is somebody who has received salvation
The first definition of a Christian according to the Bible is derived from the book of Ephesians 1:13 which says,
"You were included in Christ when you heard the gospel of salvation".
According to the Bible, for you to be included in Christ or rather become a follower and believer of Christ, you ought to hear the message of truth which is the gospel of salvation. Therefore, the initial step to becoming a Christian is through receiving Christ, which in turn occurs by being saved.
In our churches today, a majority of the sermons end with a call for those individuals who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord of Savior to do so. These individuals are persuaded to receive Christ thus receive salvation in order to become Christ-like. If you have not being saved, it means that you do not have Christ in you. Subsequently, upon salvation, you attain the entitlement to not only be free of sin but to also be called a Christian. Therefore, you cannot label yourself as a Christian unless you are saved.
2. A Christian is one who walks in faith
In Galatians 5:22, the Bible outlines faith as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. A person is said to have faith if they are convicted of the things they cannot see but only hope for. According to the Bible, a Christian is somebody who has faith in God. A Christian believes in a God they have never seen through faith. A Christian hopes to have eternal life through faith. Unless you have faith, you cannot claim to be a Christian.
Christians live by faith that through the hand and guidance of the Lord, they will acquire eternal life. Faith is the core of all Christians' actions and words. In distress, pain, and suffering, Christians stay strong because they have faith that the Lord is with them and that he will make them victors. Christians, through faith, believe that Jesus will come again to carry the righteous and live with them eternally in heaven. The day-to-day activities of a Christian are grounded in their faith in a supernatural being who is God the father, the son and the Holy Spirit.
3. A Christian is someone who responds to the calling of God
In John 6:44, Jesus says,
"No one can come to me unless God draws him".
For a person to accept and follow Jesus, they have to be drawn by God the father. You cannot just wake up one morning and choose to be a Christian. You have to receive a calling and conviction from God that will lead you to seek salvation. Unless you hear the invitation that convicts you to follow the lord, you cannot offer yourself to Christ. A Christian is somebody who has received the conviction in their hearts and thus has made up their decision to live for and like Christ in Christianity.
You do not have to be famous, rich or powerful to receive God's calling. On the contrary, the Lord calls ordinary individuals who are aware of their earthly weaknesses and who are ready to change their ways. Such individuals have faulted before, accepted their faults, and also shown appreciation upon receiving forgiveness. Therefore, another definition of a Christian according to the Bible is one who has heard and responded to God’s calling. A Christian places the calling and conviction before everyone and everything else in their lives.
4. A Christian is somebody who shows change
In the book of Acts 2:37-39, the Bible says that for one to be a Christian, they have to repent their sins and change their ways of life. Conversion is the biblical term that is used to explain the change process that one undergoes upon receiving Christ. When a person becomes a Christian, they are motivated by the good works of God into becoming better individuals.
It is without a doubt that you cannot change all your behaviors and actions overnight. Therefore, to achieve the change that is expected of any Christian, you have to live with a repentant attitude every day and eventually move towards the correct direction as outlined in the scriptures. Change is a continuous process that you can achieve through disciplined practice. For a Christian, you have to discipline yourself by avoiding circumstances and situations that can interfere with your change process. Finding an accountability partner is another great way of ensuring that you attain the positive change expected of a Christian.
5. A Christian is someone filled with the Holy Spirit
Romans 8:9 says,
"A person is not of Christ without the Holy Spirit of God in them".
According to the Bible, a Christian is a person who has been offered the Holy Spirit upon repentance of their sins. When you repent, you are baptized and you receive the Holy Spirit. As a Christian, this spirit enables you to gain insight into the truth of God as well as his word.
The Holy Spirit of God does not ascend on just anyone. Therefore, to receive it, you have to accept Christ as the Savior, receive baptism, and eventually receive the Holy Spirit. It is through the Holy Spirit that you are able to understand the word of God and live according to it. You cannot live like Christ if you are not full of the Holy Ghost. Consequently, you cannot receive this Holy Spirit unless you are saved. For that reason, not until the Holy Spirit of God fills you will you be defined as a Christian.
6. A Christian is an imitator of Jesus Christ
What defines a Christian? In the book of 1st Corinthians 11:1, Paul teaches that,
"You should be an imitator of me as I am of Jesus Christ”.
Paul was teaching the church of Corinth that for one to live a life like Christ, they should imitate his life as he was imitating that of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived an extraordinary life when he was here on earth. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, comforted those who were mourning, and preached the gospel of truth among many other things. During his entire period on earth, he showed love and compassion for others.
To imitate the life of Christ, Paul also showed compassion and showered people with love. In addition, Apostle Paul also preached the gospel of truth to the churches. Therefore, to be a Christian, you have to be compassionate and full of love. While on the cross, Jesus asked God to forgive all those who crucified him as they were not aware of what they were doing. Similarly, as a Christian, you should imitate the spirit of unconditional forgiveness to those who wrong you in whatever magnitude. In addition, as a Christian, it is your role to emulate Christ and Paul by spreading the word of God.
Some people have been given the power to heal. As a Christian, you should use this gift of the Holy Spirit to help the sick. During his time on earth, Jesus Christ had the power to heal and cast out demons. He did this without discriminating those who had refused to follow him. Similarly, a Christian who has the gifts of healing and casting out demons bestowed upon him should use his gift to help all people regardless of their beliefs.
7. A Christian is someone who believes in life after death
In the book of Romans, the Bible states that the wages of a sin is death but the gift from God is eternal life in Jesus Christ. According to the Bible, a Christian is one who believes in eternal life after death. Christians believe that they will reunite with the dead in heaven. A Christian, therefore, ought to believe that when they die, they will rise again and live forever in heaven with their maker. Additionally, Christians should believe that they will meet their dead loved ones in heaven upon the second coming of Christ.
Christians believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ. During this time, he will come to take his righteous ones with him to his Father in heaven. Therefore, a Christian believes in the second coming of Jesus. All Christians should live in righteousness as they know that it is the only guarantee to eternal life in heaven. You cannot be a Christian unless you believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ that will be crowned with eternal life.
8. A Christian is someone who believes in one God
As a religion, Christianity is monotheistic, hence Christians should only believe in one God. In the Bible, the book of Exodus 20:3 states that,
“You shall have no other gods before me”.
This is the first commandment that God gave to his people. He demanded that they should not have any other gods apart from Him. Therefore, for any person to claim Christianity, he or should be a believer of God as the only god.
According to the scriptures, God is the creator of the entire universe as well as its sustainer. Although God manifests himself in different ways that are beyond human conception, a Christian should have reverence to one God. According to the Bible, a Christian, therefore, is one who believes in the power of one God. The belief in a singular God who is manifested in different forms is one of the most important aspects of Christianity.
9. A Christian is someone who believes in the Holy Trinity
Although Christianity is the belief in one God, a Christian is one who believes in the three parts of one God known as the Holy Trinity. These are God the father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit. In the Bible, the book of 1st John 5:7 in the New Testament records that,
“There are three present in heaven, the father, the word and the Holy Ghost; and they are all one”. From this scripture, the Bible refers to God the son as the word because Jesus Christ came on earth to spread the gospel of truth and salvation to all humankind. God uses the Holy Trinity in accomplishing His will upon His people.
God the father is the supreme being that created the universe which includes all human beings in it. God the father also sent his only son Jesus Christ to come on earth and save the people. God the son is Jesus Christ who is the only begotten son sent on earth. Jesus died on the cross to set us free from sin and give us salvation. Though he was without sin, he carried away all our sins, thus enabling us to have life in abundance. God the Holy Spirit is manifested in all Christians after baptism. After the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day, He left the Christians with a helper who is the Holy Spirit.
10. A Christian is one who teaches the word of God
In Antioch, the disciples were called Christians for the very first time. After the teachings, Jesus commanded them to go forth and spread the word of God to all nations. Matthew 28: 19:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations".
At that time, the disciples had already been referred to as Christians. Then, they received the command to disciple other people thus making them more Christ-like. What is the true meaning of being a Christian? A Christian is one who is called to minister the word of God to others thus making them Christians.
In addition to imitating the role of spreading the word as Apostle Paul and Jesus Christ did, a Christian is known from the virtue of spreading the word. Some people are gifted with the ability to preach and teach the word of God. Therefore, it is their role as imitators and followers of Christ to obey the command of going forth to make disciples. For one to attain and claim the title of a Christian, they ought to first fulfill the command of making Christ-like individuals by being teachers of the word.
A true Christian can be singled out from all the others claiming to be Christians when they possess faith in God, when they attain salvation, when they believe in the Holy Trinity and the second coming of Jesus Christ to give them eternal life. In doing all these, a person demonstrates a life like that of Jesus Christ which answers the question: Who is a Christian according to the Bible?
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