What It Means to Be a Christian
What does it mean to be a Christian? Many people today identify themselves as a "Christian," but what does it involve? Being a Christian is more than simply making the profession, “I am a Christian.” Being a Christian means that you have wholeheartedly trusted in Jesus Christ for your salvation, and the result of that faith is unmistakable... it will produce a brand new life! Everything about you will be different. Consider the following truths found in the Bible.
God Is the Holy, Sovereign Creator
Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution, but the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him. The New Testament reveals it was Jesus 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, obedience, and worship. The Bible also teaches that 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. 1 Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” Ask yourself, "Am I like this? Am I perfectly holy as God is holy?"
Mankind Is Sinful
If that is God’s holy standard for a relationship with Him, that leaves all mankind in a dire predicament. Which one of us hasn't broken God's perfect standards? All of us have lied, stolen, cheated, lusted, been angry, and acted selfishly (Romans 3:23). According to Scripture, the reason we are like this is because everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). That doesn't mean we're incapable of performing acts of human kindness, but we're utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own (Romans 3:10-12). God's holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death (Ezekiel 18:4). That's why simply changing our patterns of behavior can't solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences.
Jesus Is Lord and Savior
If left to ourselves, we would all get what we rightfully deserve, which is death and separation from God forever (Romans 6:23). But God, out of His love, provided the only solution for our sin problem. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world in order to pave the way for our salvation (John 3:16). Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Even though God's justice demands death for our sin, His love has provided a Savior who paid the penalty and died for sinners (1 Peter 3:18). Christ's death satisfied the demands of God's justice, and Christ's perfect life satisfied the demands of God's holiness (2 Corinthians 5:21), thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). If you think about it, this is a remarkable act of grace and mercy on God's part!
The Character of Saving Faith
So what can we do in order to be rescued from our sin and the eternal consequences of that sin? The Bible calls us to one simple truth as the starting point of a new relationship with God... it's faith (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). True faith is entrusting your entire life to the person and work of Jesus Christ for complete forgiveness through His sacrificial death on the Cross. True faith is always accompanied by the attitude of repentance. Repentance is agreeing with God that you are sinful and making a sincere choice to turn from sin (Luke 13:3, 5; 1 Thessalonians 1:9) and follow Christ (Matthew 11: 28-30; John 17:3). It isn't enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don't follow Him at all. Therefore, true saving faith involves a heart that completely trusts in Jesus Christ and a willingness to forsake sin and follow Him.
What Should I Do?
If you agree with these truths that the Bible teaches and you desire to place your faith in Jesus Christ for your salvation, you can do so right now. Come humbly before the Lord and pray to Him... admit that you are a sinner in desperate need of salvation and place your trust completely in the finished work of Christ on the Cross for the forgiveness of your sins and the perfect righteousness you need to be accepted by God. If you are serious about having a right relationship with God, take this step of faith and then, find a Bible-teaching church in your area where you can grow as a Christian.