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 the Bible.
God is Sovereign Creator. Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution, but the Bible says that we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him. The New Testament reveals that 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 that He has authority over our lives and that we 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). God requires holiness of us as well. I Peter 1:16 says, "Be holy, for I am holy."
Mankind Is Sinful. According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin (I Kings 8:46). That does not mean that we are utterly 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).
Sin Demands a Penalty. God's holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death (Ezekiel 18:4). That is why simply changing our patterns of behavior cannot solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences.
Jesus is Lord and Savior. Romans 10:9 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt 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 (I Peter 3:18). Christ's death satisfied the demands of God's holiness (II Corinthians 5:21), thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26).
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 sin to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin (Luke 13:3,5; I Thessalonians 1:9) and pursue Christ (Matthew 11:28-30; John 17:3) and obedience to Him (I John 2:3). It is not enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they do not love and obey Him. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).