What is a Christian?

Being a Christian is more than identifying yourself with a particular religion, going to church, or having certain morals. Being a Christian means you have believed what the Bible says about God, mankind, and salvation, in a way that changes your life. Consider the following truths found in Scripture:

God is Creator and Lord. The Bible teaches that we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him. The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Christ Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore, He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance and worship. Simply, He is Boss.

God is Holy. God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore, He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13). God requires holiness of us as well. 1Peter 1:16 says “You shall be holy, for I am holy”.

Mankind is Sinful. According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). That doesn’t mean we can’t do anything kind, but it does mean we are utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own.

Sin Demands a Penalty. God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s why simply changing our patterns of behaviour can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences.

Jesus is Saviour and Lord. Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, in His love He has provided a Saviour who paid the penalty and died for sinners (John 3:16, 1 Peter 3:18). Jesus Christ’s death in our place satisfied the demands of God’s holiness (2 Corinthians 5:21), enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). Because Jesus Christ created everything and owns and rules everything, He has authority over our lives. Romans 10:9 say “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”.

Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves! Salvation is 100% God’s undeserved kindness to us. Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

The Character of Saving Faith. True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin (Luke 13:3, 5; 1 Thessalonians 1:9) and follow Christ (Matthew 11:28-30; John 17:3) and obey Him (1 John 2:3). It is not enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. True saving faith responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).