The Bible's Definition of a Christian
The Bible isn't a systematic text book. Therefore what it teaches must be gathered from its various parts. You will find Bible passages linked at the end of most paragraphs from which the various statements have been obtained.
A Christian is a person who has come to see themselves as God sees them. That is, as a sinner, a rebel against His authority - an enemy of God; lost, hopeless, unable to deliver themselves and standing justly condemned under God's righteous law; fully deserving the just punishment of hell. Click here for Bible passages that teach this.
A Christian has embraced the "righteousness of God through faith". That is, they have accepted the only means that God offers of being in a right relationship with Him. This is through the perfect life, the sacrificial death and supernatural resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ, God's Son. A Christian trusts what God has done in Christ as satisfying God's righteous justice for their sins and more than this, that the righteous life of Jesus Christ is accepted as theirs. Bible passages that teach this.
A Christian is one in whom God has placed His Holy Spirit, granting them a turning away from their sin and enmity towards God, faith in what God has promised and causing them to live a life in the love of God and obedience to Him. This means they have a love for God's Word, the Scriptures; an obedience to God's will as revealed in the Scriptures; a desire to see God's reign extended in their own lives and the lives of others and a love for God's people, the Church. Bible passages that teach this.
These features of a Christian will be in every believer, sometimes more, sometimes less, but always present, even if just in seed form.
Are you a Christian?
Many people say they are Christians, but does this profession measure up against what the Bible says a Christian is?
If you say you are a Christian, what is the basis for saying this? Your answer might be something like one of the following statements: “I live in a Christian country”; “I have always been a Christian”; “my parents were Christians”; “I have always been to church”; “I don't do anything to hurt other people”; “I am a moral and upright citizen;” “I do a lot of work for Charities”. These, however, are not the answers that the Bible gives to this question.
The Bible deals with our status in God's eyes, the one who made us and keeps us being. It deals with the matters of our heart, our inmost self. Where we were born and the things we have done, even the best things, are not what makes us accepted in God's estimation – and that is what really counts in the end! Click here for Bible passages that teach this.
We are told by Jesus Christ Himself that there is only one way to God, only one way to be accepted by Him. Jesus tells us that He is the way, He alone. Bible passages that teach this.
How is it that Jesus Christ is the only way to God? The Scripture teaches us that all human beings are born with a terrible problem, one they can't resolve themselves. This problem is their own internal enmity against God's rightful and absolute rule over their lives. It's not just an internal problem. It makes us think and do what we want, not what God wants. The Bible uses the word “sin” for this. It means to “miss the mark”. This is what we inherited from the first man, Adam, who started the rebellion. This is my problem; this is your problem too. Bible passages that teach this.
Not only do we have this terrible problem internally towards God, but also we have another one as a consequence. This is God's just condemnation of our sin and rightful anger against us. We have all “missed the mark” and the result is that God has pronounced the “guilty” verdict against us for our sin; yours and mine. The sentence against this guilt is death, both physically and spiritually, ultimately resulting in an eternal separation from God's goodness and an eternal and awful punishment that the Bible calls Hell. A fearful yet just punishment for our willful rebellion. Bible passages that teach this.
So how is it that Jesus Christ is the only way to God in the face of this terrible situation? Jesus Christ is God's answer to our problem. Jesus Christ is the Son of God who entered this world of ours as a man, a real human being, even being born a baby. He was fully God and fully human, something very hard to understand, yet crucial to dealing with our problem of sin. Because he was God's Son, He didn't start off with an enmity against God, He loved God from the very start and with all His being, He wanted God's rule over Him. He lived out his life as a true human being without ever sinning against God His Father; not once. So He didn't deserve to die, he didn't deserve punishment; but that is exactly what he endured. But why? Click here for Bible passages that teach this.
As we said before, Jesus Christ is God's answer to our problem. Through the incredible and completely undeserved love of God He accepts the death Jesus Christ died, undeserved as it was, as the punishment for the sin of all those who trust in Him as their representative, their substitute, their advocate, their Saviour. More than that, God accepts the righteous life of Jesus Christ as His peoples. The Bible puts it this way, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God". Bible passages that teach this.
God calls us, God commands us to turn away from our rebellion, our sins, and our desire to go our own way and turn to Him trusting what He has done through Jesus Christ to deal with our biggest problem. Bible passages that teach this.
So, a Christian isn't someone who has done something to deserve God's favour, but someone who sees they can never deserve it and gratefully accepts and trusts in what God has done in His Son. That's faith.
So, we can ask the question again, are you a Christian? Is your answer that same as before, does it have the right basis; the basis the Bible gives us?
If you would like to know more about God's work of salvation in Jesus Christ, please contact us. We would be happy to help you.