There seems to be a lot of confusion in the general public, as well as within the religious community about what it means to be a Christian or more importantly who is a Christian.
What do you think it means to be a Christian? There is a popular belief by many that becoming a Christian means you can’t do a lot of things like go to movies, go dancing or have a drink of alcohol.
Does being a Christian mean following a particular belief-system or joining a church organization or practicing regular rituals of worship? Or does it mean changing one’s behavior, subscribing to a morality pattern, or dropping bad habits?
Even some people who call themselves “Christians” often struggle to explain what it means to be a Christian to their non-religious friends. The lack of clarity has caused many non-religious people to discount the importance of this question; “What does it mean to be a Christian?”
It would be tragic to go through life and not know the answer to one of life’s most important questions: “Am I Christian?”
Christianity is not just adherence to a strict set of rules and regulations. In fact, Christianity isn’t about rules and regulations at all. Christianity is about living in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Traditional Christianity teaches that in Old Testament times God gave the “Law” which had to be followed precisely. The “Law” gave instructions about clothing, diet, rules for the Sabbath, temple procedures, duties of priests, how to treat each other and strangers, civil laws and punishments for breaking those laws and many other important rules. Those rules had to be observed properly and precisely since all of them affected one’s standing before God. According to the Talmud there are 613 mitzvot (“commandments”) in the Torah. Breaking any one of God’s laws is called sin. No human being is capable of perfectly following all of God’s laws. Most of us have difficulty just following the Ten Commandments, much less all 613. In Old Testament times, sacrifices were made to cover sin.
In the New Testament, Jesus comes into the world to testify to the truth that God loves all humanity. God’s standards didn’t change in the New Testament and we still can’t keep God’s laws any better than the people in the Old Testament. Because we break God’s laws, we are sinners. In the New Testament, Ephesians 5:2 says that we are to, “…walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Jesus Christ became the once-and-for-all sacrifice for our sins because He loved us so much. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but everlasting life.”
Early followers of Jesus Christ were called “Christians” and the name stuck. A Christian according to John 3:16 is whoever believes in Jesus Christ. Followers of Christ are still not perfect and still can’t keep all of God’s laws. The difference is that believers in Jesus Christ have accepted His sacrifice on the cross for their sins. Are you a Christian? Do you believe in Jesus?
After becoming a believer in Jesus, the next step is growing as a Christian. It is easiest to get in a group of other believers and read the Bible together. Tell people in your group how you plan to apply what you are learning in the Bible to our life.
Living out what you learn in the Bible in practical ways may look different to every person. We all start at different places and we all take different journeys to align our lives with biblical principles. In fact, the process of living out your Christianity will take the rest of our life.
Jesus gave His life on a cross for us. What we do with our lives is our gift back to God. You will grow faster as a Christian if you join a church, get into a Bible study group and begin practicing what you learn. Christianity isn’t about what you can’t do. It is about what you can do through Christ. It has been the greatest and most joyous adventure of my life. I hope you will join me in becoming a Christian.
For more information about Christianity visit our "How to become a Christian" page.
CEO of 4Tucson