As a Christian, we often are told by non-believers what we should do, say, or think based on their view of what a Christian is. The world has a definition of a Christian that is flawed, and I will make an effort to correct some of those myths of what a Christian is.
First and foremost, a Christian is a follower of the Biblical Christ Jesus.
- The Son of God
- Born of a virgin
- The only one who was and is without sin
- One with the Father
- Savior of the world
- The Alpha & The Omega
- Creator of the universe and everything in it
- The God-Man that bore the sins of the world
- The only one who can save us from eternal separation from God
- The one in whom a sinner places their total and complete faith in
- The One "every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that He is Lord
Now that Christ has been clarified, lets define the Christian.
- A sinner
- In need of a savior
- Unable to save themselves from their sin
- Unable to access God the Father, without first embracing Jesus the Son
- In possession of a desperately wicked heart
- Born selfish and dead in their trespasses
- Unable to understand the things of God without a measure of faith
When I became a Christian, something happened to me. Something that can never be undone. I was spiritually born. I was born again. Jesus said it himself, you must be born again. He said this to Nicodemus as recorded in John Ch 3; 3&5. Now, you must understand who Nicodemus was. A Pharisee, a Jew who studied the Law of Moses and knew it forwards and backwards. He was a very religious man. He thought he knew how to act and think and also tried to impose his views on others. Much like non-believers today, he thought he knew better than God how to be right with God and man. Jesus clarified perfectly Gods plan for man. To have faith in God, not religion, not good works, not wealth, not anything other than faith.
In Hebrews we read;
When you boil it all down, a Christian is one who is born again, and then, continues to seek him. That's it. We have been changed, and now we spend the rest of our lives continuing to be changed. This is a very simplified description of what happens to someone who has been converted, or "born again". The more technical description is following;
- Born again, or justified. To be declared innocent before God. This along with Sanctification takes place instantly when one realizes that they are a sinner, ask God to forgive them for your sins, and begins to follow Jesus. In that moment the Holy Spirit takes resident in the believer and becomes their helper and guide. Their unrighteousness is replaced, or imputed with Jesus righteousness.
- Sanctification, which takes place at conversion, continues throughout the believers life. It is at conversion that we are set apart . A Saint is one who has been set apart. Sainthood is not attained or earned. Man or a church government can not declare or appoint one to be a saint. All one has to do to become a saint, is put their faith in Christ. Sanctification is the lifelong process we undergo that involves change in our thinking, behavior, and level of devotion and commitment to God. It is referred to as our walk with God.
- Glorification takes place when the believer goes home to be with the Lord. We get our new body, free from the sin nature, never to separated from God, forever to live in heaven with God.
Now that we have defined who Christ is, and whom the Christian is, lets look at what the world views a Christian is.
These are not listed in any particular order.
- They think we have a higher view of ourselves. They put us on pedestals, and then proceed to tell us how much we don't belong on a pedestal
- They think, that we think we are perfect, and then take every opportunity to show how imperfect we are.
- They think we are to be generous and then tell us how generous we should be. In fact they often quote scripture to compel us through mandates to give.
- They think we should always be nice and never disagree. If we simply disagree, we are not being nice
- They think we spend our lives trying to impose our views and beliefs on them. In reality, we just want them to realize their need for a savior and point them to Jesus.
- They think that being a Christian is about living a life of rules and regulations.
- They think that becoming a Christian means that they can no longer have fun. In reality, we have true joy, which only comes from a relationship with our creator.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of their beliefs, but rather a sample of what the believer encounters on a daily basis.
In conclusion, a Christian knows he is a sinner, in need of a savior, far from perfect, constantly stumbling along the way, yet filled with joy, peace, and assurance. Assurance that we will live in eternity with God, in Heaven. Our lives are filled with the same pitfalls and challenges as everyone else on this Earth. The difference is, we know that this life is only a brief moment in time compared to eternity. We possess something that can not be bought. Eternal life, a gift of God.
Yes, God loves us just the way we are, He loves us so much that he can't leave us the way we are.