The title of this post raises an interesting question. What does it mean to be a Christian?
Does it mean that you walked down an aisle at a church service, or prayed a prayer, or were baptized? Does it mean that you go to church, at least on most Sundays? Does it meant that you profess belief in God? Those are all things that are familiar to church-going people and many Christians have done one or more of them.
But is that all there is to the Christian life?
Change is a key element of the Christian life.
Where no change has taken place there is no new life.
Is there more? The answer is Yes, there’s more!
Being a Christian can be looked at from two perspectives: the theological and the practical. The theological is what we believe, the practical is what we do.
From a theological standpoint, being a Christian means confessing Jesus as your Lord and Savior. It’s putting your faith and trust in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ through His death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15: 3-4).
But there’s more.
From a practical, day-by-day standpoint, being a Christians means that a perceptible change has taken place in your life and is still taking place. It begins with faith when you consider yourself dead to the rule of sin in your life and alive to the rule of Christ (Romans 6:11). But the change doesn’t stop there.
It continues throughout your life as you grow spiritually and are transformed into the image of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). Just as we grow physically, so we are to grow spiritually.
Change is a key element of the Christian life. Where no change has taken place there is no new life. If anyone is in Christ they have changed, the old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). Old ways of thinking; old ways of acting; old ways of responding; old ways of talking; old ways of ordering your life; old ways of living your life have all given way to new ways – ways that reflect the One we profess to love and follow.
As one writer put it, a Christian is someone whose behavior and heart reflects Jesus Christ. And that is an on-going process.
Followers of Jesus were first called by the name “Christian” in Antioch because their speech and behavior were like Christ (Acts 11).
The theological is to be demonstrated by the practical. Faith is to be demonstrated by action. Or, to put it another way, the practical is the outcome of the theological. What you do will be a testimony of your faith (James 1:22).
What does it mean to be a Christian?
It means that a real, observable, spiritual, practical, and on-going change is evident in your life.
Stay in the Word