Have you ever stopped to consider what it truly means to be a “Christian”? Today in our society, the term “Christian” is often simply defined as “one professing Jesus Christ as Savior” – and sometimes, at best, “one who is a believer”; yet, it is not clear as to what one is a believer of or in whom one is a believer. And then, that’s where it ends. However, through the study of God’s Word you will find that in order for one to truly be identified as a “Christian”, one must first be soundly saved – meaning, one must have repented of their sins, placing their faith in Jesus Christ unto eternal life [salvation].
Romans 10:9-10 states,
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Likewise, one must also become a “disciple” of Jesus Christ.
In Acts 11:22-26 we find that the “disciples” in the church at Antioch were first called “Christians”. So now you might ask, “How does one become a disciple of Jesus Christ?” Further study of God’s Word reveals that upon accepting Christ as your personal Savior, you need to be scripturally baptized and unite with a local New Testament assembly – and become an adherent to Christ’s teachings. For without baptism and church membership in a local New Testament assembly one cannot become a true disciple [follower] of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself was baptized by John the Baptist, and as well He was the head of the church He founded.
But it must be understood here that following the Lord in baptism and uniting with a local New Testament assembly is just the starting point to being a true “Christian”. God’s Word teaches that a true “disciple” (if you will a true “Christian”) will walk in obedience before Christ.
Luke 9:23 states,
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Luke 14:27 states,
“And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”
John 14:15 states,
“If ye love me, keep [do] my commandments.”
A true “Christian” will also find that the more one follows Christ, the more they will be hated by the world. Jesus stated in Luke 21:17,
“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.”
Note the following Scriptures.
1 Peter 4:12-16,
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”
Though one may have persecution and suffering in their Christian walk, God’s Word teaches that He continuously cares for His children. Jesus even stated that His desire is for each disciple of His to bear much fruit – for, therein is His Father glorified.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
As you begin to “bear the fruit of your faith in Jesus Christ” as one of His disciples, you will not have to “tell” people that you are a [Christian], they will call you a Christian – because they will see Christ living in your life. May each of us prayerfully seek to be a “disciple of Jesus Christ” – that is, a true “Christian”.