There is much confusion among the general public, as well as the religious community, concerning what it means to be a “Christian.” It is a popular belief that being a Christian means you can’t go to movies, you can’t go dancing, you can’t have a drink of alcohol, or that you can’t have any more fun.
Does being a Christian mean following a particular belief-system, joining a church organization, or practicing regular rituals of worship? Or does it mean changing one’s behavior, prescribing to a morality pattern, or dropping bad habits?
Even those who call themselves “Christians” struggle explaining Christianity to their non-religious friends. The lack of clarity has caused many in the community to discount the importance of this question.
It would be tragic to believe that Christianity is just adherence to a strict set of rules and regulations. Christianity isn’t about rules and regulations; it 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 and we still can’t keep God’s laws. 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 sacrifice for our sins because He loved us. 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 have everlasting life.”
Early followers of Jesus Christ were called “Christians” and the name stuck. A Christian by definition is whoever believes in Jesus Christ and follows Him. Followers of Christ are still not perfect and still can’t keep all of God’s laws. Followers of Christ have accepted Jesus as the sacrifice for their sins. Part of the Christian life is for followers to read the Bible and try to apply what it teaches to daily living as a gift back to God for what He has done for us.
For more information about Christianity check out “Steps To Peace With God” at the following link: http://www.fishthe.net/steps/steps1.htm.