What does it mean to be a Christian?
Being a Christian is more than identifying yourself with a particular religion or affirming a certain value system. Being a Christian means you have embraced what the Bible says about God, mankind, and salvation. Consider the following truths found in Scripture.
God Is Sovereign Creator
Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says you were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him. The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore, He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over your life and you owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.
God Is Holy
God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3). Therefore, He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13). Not only is God holy, but He also requires holiness of all people. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Mankind Is Sinful
According to Scripture, everyone has fallen short of God's requirement of holiness. All mankind is guilty of sin. First Kings 8:46 says. “There is no man who does not sin.” That does not mean we are incapable of performing acts of human kindness. But we are utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own (Romans 3:10-12). Romans 3:23 also says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." You must recognize that you are a sinner who has sinned against a holy and righteous God.
Sin Demands a Penalty
God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death (Ezekiel 18:4). Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." The wages of your sin is death and there is nothing you can do to save yourself from death. Simply changing your patterns of behavior can’t solve your sin problem or eliminate its consequences.
Jesus Is Lord and Savior
Jesus paid the penalty you could not pay. He died on the cross as a sacrifice for sinners. 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 shall 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), thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). He commands you today to place your faith in Him alone.
The Character 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 your 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 Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. Saving faith is always accompanied by an increasing pattern of obedience (Ephesians 2:10) to Christ.