The Gospel

What It Means to Be a Christian

There are lots of ways the word "Christian" gets used today, but what does it really mean to be a Christian? The word simply means follower of Christ. The Bible, God's Word to us, tells us just exactly what it means to be a Christian. Consider the following truths from God's Word.

God Is Sovereign Creator
The Bible teaches that all people were created in the image of God for the purpose of glorifying God and enjoying him forever. The New Testament shows us that Jesus is the eternal God who created everything (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16). Because he is the creator of all things, and because we exist for his glory, we must submit to his sovereign rule in our lives through faith, obedience, and worship. 

God Is Holy
God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), which means he is separate from all sin and evil. He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13). God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, You shall be holy, for I am holy.

Mankind Is Sinful
According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin (Romans 3:23). There is no one, except Jesus, who is not guilty of sin (1 Kings 8:46). This doesn't mean that everyone is as bad as they could be, nor does it mean that no one does anything good. It does mean that we are guilty before God and incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own (Romans 3:10-12).

Sin Demands a Penalty
God's holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death (Romans 6:23). Simply changing our patterns of behavior can't solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences.

Jesus Is Lord and Savior
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 will be saved." Even though God's justice demands death for 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). Because Jesus dies as a substitute for sinners, God is willing to forgive and save those who place their faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26).

The Nature of Saving Faith
True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin (Luke 13:3, 5; 1 Thessalonians 1:9), pursue Christ (Matthew 11: 28-30; John 17:3), and obey him (1 John 2:3). It isn't enough to believe certain facts about Jesus. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don't love and obey him. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).