What it Means to Be A Christian

Christian: a person who believes in Jesus Christ; adherent of Christianity. [i]

Contrary to many popular beliefs Christianity is not a religion but a relationship.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us. –Romans 8:14-18

The wonderful promise is that the Christian is a child of God. This is our position and is ours for the asking (Romans 10:9) and is a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9). A gift may be free to us but someone had to pay the price and the high price for our salvation was paid by Jesus on the cross. While it may be easy to stop there this new birth is just the beginning.

More technically the term Christian means “little Christ.”

A new born child is helpless and cute and everybody loves a baby (Just look at all the moms in the nursery when a newborn arrives for the first time, or any time for that matter) but suppose that child is six or seven years old and is still just as helpless. That child will still be just as loved but will be a cause for great concern for its lack of growth.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. –Romans 8:9

God’s goal for His children is to grow to be like Jesus! One of my favorite verses on this topic is 1 Peter 2:21-23

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously:

A few thoughts here

  1. He is our example. We need to follow in His steps. I remember as a child growing up in NJ how after a snow storm and my Dad would walk out to shovel the snow and I would try to walk in his steps. I could not hit them in one stride, I was too small and my foot (or more depending on the depth of the snow) would disappear in his footprint but I loved to try to follow. We cannot do everything just like Jesus, He is God but we can seek to follow Him just as close as we can.

  2. He did no sin: We should seek to do the same

  3. No guile: craft, deceit, guile [ii]. He was honest with no hidden motives.

  4. Did not threaten when He suffered. He was beaten and hung on a cross yet was silent as a sheep to the slaughter. Yet when someone hurts my feelings, cuts me off in traffic or does the slightest thing that may be an offence I squeal like a stuck pig! (OK, maybe I’m preaching to myself here! If you don’t need it I do!). As Paul would say: God forbid! We need to be a good testimony. If people can see a difference in our actions, they will be more likely to hear our words.

So next time I will try to do this and commit the outcome to God. He is the One who judges righteously.


[i] Christian. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved March 13, 2007, from Dictionary.com website

[ii] Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for ‘dolos (Strong’s 1388)’ ” . Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2002. 13 Mar 2007. http://www.blueletterbible.org/cgi-bin/words.pl?word=1388&page=1

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