James 2:19 – Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. Wow, that means the devil and his minions are Christians! I think not. So what does it mean to be a Christian?
Oftentimes, we meet people who either ask us if we are a Christian, or tell us that they are a Christian. In today’s society, we accept other people’s reference and understand that when others tell us they are Christians, what they mean is that they believe in Jesus, God, and organized “Christian” religion. Is that the same thing we mean when we tell other people we are a Christian? Yes, belief in Jesus is a central focus of a Christians life, but why? Is it enough to simply believe? If that truly was all it took to be a Christian, and it did not take any further action, then we are surrounded by “Christians” every day in both the physical and the spiritual world. James 2:19 – Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. Wow, that means the devil and his minions are Christians! I think not. So what does it mean to be a Christian? In the simplest explanation, it means to be Christ like. Ok, that’s easy enough, but what does that mean? How can I be Christ like? Well in order to know how to live a Christian life, we need to first understand what His mission on this earth was.
So what was Jesus’ mission while he was walking among men? Some people thought that He was a rebel and was here to destroy the law of Moses. Jesus tells us Himself in Matthew 5:17-18 that He did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. He also told us in Matthew 20:28 that He came to minister and to give His life as a ransom for many. Therefore, it is safe to say that in order to be like Christ, we need to obey the law given to Moses and to teach others what that law and the gospels say. In order to reach out and teach others the law, it may mean sacrificing of ourselves. Maybe we need to sacrifice our time, our money, or maybe even our pride. We cannot be so concerned with what others think of us, that we are not willing to make ourselves vulnerable to rejection.
Furthermore, in Luke 19:10, Jesus stated; 10For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. It did not say that the Son of man came to live the good life and enjoy earthly pleasures. It did not say that He waited for someone to show up asking for His thoughts on the latest religious fad before telling them how He thought they should live. It says He came to seek people out that He might save them. That word seek means “to seek in order to find”, “to desire after something or someone”, “to endeavor”, “to demand something from someone.” This tells me that there was some action and behavior on Jesus’ side to find lost people and tell them what they must do to be saved. For me to be a Christian, I must make an effort to go find people who are lost, and then do something to help them come to salvation. What does that look like? Well, that depends. Some people just go right out and take the straight forward approach and tell people that they need Jesus. Others might develop a relationship with them through time vistiting over coffe or dinner and begin sharing pieces of information about the Bible or about what is taught at church. Others might go out and knock on doors and invite people to church. Whatever approach is taken; it is important to understand that the end goal is to see people saved. Sometimes this means you may have to change your approach with different people, but in the end, we cannot be ashamed of Jesus or who we are. Notice we want to see them saved, not that we want to see them in church.
Getting people to attend church regularly is good, but it is not salvation. Until people see the need for and implement Repentance, Baptism in Jesus name, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost with evidence of speaking in tongues, they have not found the path to salvation. This is the salvation that Peter speaks of in Acts 2:38 in response to the question in Acts 2:37 – Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Back to the original question, what does it mean to be a Christian? Yes it takes belief among many other things. If we do not believe, we will not obey God’s word and the laws in it. We will not sacrifice of ourselves, our time, or our money. We will not seek out others who don’t yet fully know or understand what it means to be saved. And most importantly, we will not repent of our sins and turn away from them or seek water baptism in the name of Jesus, and we will not ask for His Spirit to dwell inside of us. To truly be a Christian, we must make every effort to tell others about how Jesus died on the cross for our sins and provided us all an opportunity for forgiveness and redemption.