What is a Christian?
Friday, February 19, 2010 7:00:23 PM
The Holy Spirit is invisible, and although the fruits of the Holy Spirit can be visible over time, only God can judge with certainty if a person is truly converted. We may have opinions about whether this person or that person has the Spirit of God dwelling in him or her, but God KNOWS to whom He has given His Spirit. It is God alone who knows definitely who a true Christian is.
In another sense, a Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. This is often how the term "Christian" is used by both those who claim to be Christians and by non-Christians. Those who claim allegience to the teachings of Jesus Christ are considered by society to be "Christians." That is the meaning of the word in the context of most conversation about religion that people have.
So if we claim to be Christians, we better strive to believe and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.
What did Jesus Christ teach?
Jesus taught that we should live by every word of the Bible, and that includes the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. "But He answered and said, 'It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God' " (Matthew 4:4). "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Jesus taught that not one jot or tittle will pass from the law till all is fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-20). Jesus taught that scripture cannot be broken (John 10:34-36). Jesus also taught that one should not place religious traditions above the word of God (Matthew 15:3-9).
Scripture is called the word of God (John 10:34-36, Matthew 4:4) and it is evident that the scriptures are the word of God because they are inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16). Yet Jesus Christ is also called the Word of God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God....And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:1, 14). "He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God" (Revelation 19:13). So both the Bible and Jesus Christ are called the Word of God. In a sense, as one writer put it, the Bible is the Word of God in print and Jesus Christ is the Word of God in person, the same Word.
If we are to live up to our claim to be "Christian," we must be followers of the Bible above tradition, above churches, above the ministry, and above our opinions. If we place the traditions of our church over the teachings of the Bible, we are not truly following Jesus Christ as we claim we are when we call ourselves "Christian." If that is the case, then the words of Christ apply, "But why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46).