What is a Christian?
People often think that a Christian is a kind person, or someone who goes to church, or someone who believes in God. While these things are usually true of Christians, this isn’t the whole picture. Because the Bible is our rulebook, as the book written by God for us, that’s where we go to find out how God describes a Christian. Here’s what it says:
1. A Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ
Jesus called people to follow Him. They were to turn from the wrong in their lives and begin a new journey in a new direction. Jesus used the word, “Repent,” to describe what we are to do. We are to have a new way of thinking that affects our whole way of life. God’s law is perfect and good. It is summarised in what we call the Ten Commandments. We have not kept them, and we need to turn back to God, and to begin the journey of following Jesus as the shepherd who will guide us in the way we ought to live.
2. A Christian believes that Jesus died to save them.
Although we must turn from the wrong in our hearts and lives, being sorry for what we have done wrong cannot make amends for it. God is holy and just. If every sin deserves eternal punishment, how can we pay the penalty and ever get to heaven? Christians believe that God made a promise to send a Saviour.
The first part of the Bible is called the Old Testament. It keeps pointing forward to when the promised Saviour would come. The New Testament describes who that Saviour is and what He did when He died on the cross.
A true Christian is someone who knows they are not good enough and are unable to pay for their own sins. However, they believe God’s promises. In particular, they have put their trust in what Jesus did when He died on the cross. The Bible teaches that He took the place of others. He was an innocent victim, but He took the place of the guilty. Christians know that this is the only way they can escape God’s judgment and be accepted and forgiven.
3. A Christian will live forever on the new, perfect earth that God will create one day.
A Christian is someone who believes that God cannot lie. God has promised that all who trust in His Son will be saved. They are immediately forgiven. That is the first part of salvation.
They are also given grace and strength to leave their sins and grow in goodness and love. As they learn from reading the Bible, praying and asking for God’s help, and as they have fellowship with other believers, God works to save them from sinning. That is the second part of salvation.
We must all die. Christians will go and be with the Lord, and then they will never sin again. But, God is going to create a new heavens and a new earth. Although Christians do not deserve it, they will have a place in that new creation forever.
Christians are ordinary people, sinful people, but they have been saved by Jesus Christ as they turn away from their sin and trust that He is willing and able to save them from the sins they have committed, are committing and will commit. They trust that God will keep them and that they have a place guaranteed by the promise of God.
Jesus put it in these words: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” John chapter 10:27-29