What’s a Christian?

text below from :  www.gotquestions.org

What’s a Christian?

A dictionary definition of a Christian would be something similar to “a person professing belief in Jesus as the Christ or in the religion based on the teachings of Jesus.” While this is a good starting point, like many dictionary definitions, it falls somewhat short of really communicating the biblical truth of what it means to be a Christian. The word “Christian” is used three times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26;26:28;1 Peter 4:16). Followers of Jesus Christ were first called “Christians” in Antioch (Acts 11:26) because their behaviour, activity, and speech were like Christ. The word “Christian” literally means, “belonging to the party of Christ” or a “follower of Christ.”

Unfortunately over time, the word “Christian” has lost a great deal of its significance and is often used of someone who is religious or has high moral values but who may or may not be a true follower of Jesus Christ. Many people who do not believe and trust in Jesus Christ consider themselves Christians simply because they go to church or they live in a “Christian” nation. But going to church, serving those less fortunate than you, or being a good person does not make you a Christian. Going to church does not make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile. Being a member of a church, attending services regularly, and giving to the work of the church does not make you a Christian.

The Bible teaches that the good works we do cannot make us acceptable to God. Titus 3:5says, “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” So, a Christian is someone who has been born again by God (John 3:3;John 3:7;1 Peter 1:23) and has put faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8tells us that it is “…by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

A true Christian is a person who has put faith and trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ, including His death on the cross as payment for sins and His resurrection on the third day. John 1:12 tells us, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” The mark of a true Christian is love for others and obedience to God’s Word (1 John 2:4,10). A true Christian is indeed a child of God, a part of God’s true family, and one who has been given new life in Jesus Christ.

 

What is the prayer of salvation?

Many people ask, “Is there a prayer I can pray that will guarantee my salvation?” It is important to remember that salvation is not received by reciting a prayer or uttering certain words. The Bible nowhere records a person’s receiving salvation by a prayer. Saying a prayer is not the biblical way of salvation.

The biblical method of salvation is faith in Jesus Christ. John 3:16tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Salvation is gained by faith (Ephesians 2:8), by receiving Jesus as Saviour (John 1:12), and by fully trusting Jesus alone (John 14:6;Acts 4:12), not by reciting a prayer.

The biblical message of salvation is simple and clear and amazing at the same time. We have all committed sin against God (Romans 3:23). Other than Jesus Christ, there is no one who has lived an entire life without sinning (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Because of our sin, we have earned judgment from God (Romans 6:23), and that judgment is physical death followed by spiritual death. Because of our sin and its deserved punishment, there is nothing we can do on our own to make ourselves right with God. As a result of His love for us, God became a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a perfect life and always taught the truth. However, humanity rejected Jesus and put Him to death by crucifying Him. Through that horrible act, though, Jesus died in our place. Jesus took the burden and judgment of sin on Himself, and He died in our place (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus was then resurrected (1 Corinthians 15), proving that His payment for sin was sufficient and that He had overcome sin and death. As a result of Jesus’ sacrifice, God offers us salvation as a gift. God calls us all to change our minds about Jesus (Acts 17:30) and to receive Him as the full payment of our sins (1 John 2:2). Salvation is gained by receiving the gift God offers us, not by praying a prayer.

Now, that does not mean prayer cannot be involved in receiving salvation. If you understand the gospel, believe it to be true, and have accepted Jesus as your salvation, it is good and appropriate to express that faith to God in prayer. Communicating with God through prayer can be a way to progress from accepting facts about Jesus to fully trusting in Him as Saviour. Prayer can be connected to the act of placing your faith in Jesus alone for salvation.

Again, though, it is crucially important that you do not base your salvation on having said a prayer. Reciting a prayer cannot save you! If you want to receive the salvation that is available through Jesus, place your faith in Him. Fully trust His death as the sufficient sacrifice for your sins. Completely rely on Him alone as your Saviour. That is the biblical method of salvation. If you have received Jesus as your Saviour, by all means, say a prayer to God. Tell God how thankful you are for Jesus. Offer praise to God for His love and sacrifice. Thank Jesus for dying for your sins and providing salvation for you. That is the biblical connection between salvation and prayer.

__________________________________________________________________________

If you have any further questions from reading the text above, or if you have made a decision to follow Jesus Christ, then we’d love to hear from you.  

Contact the church office via this link.