"Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Acts 26:28
What does it mean to be a Christian? Nowadays the word Christian is used very loosely and can be
applied to almost anyone. Fortunately, we can obtain a more exact definition from God's Word, the Bible.
We will find out what it means to be a Christian in light of four other names the Bible uses to describe a
Christian. First of all:
A CHRISTIAN IS A DISCIPLE"And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." Acts 11:26
We see here another verse in the Bible where the word Christian is used. We also see that it is used in
conjunction with disciple. A disciple is a pupil, an apprentice, a follower that learns the ways of a teacher.
The teacher here is Jesus Christ. Therefore, a Christian, among other things, is a follower of Jesus Christ.
Yet, how many who claim to be Christians are actually following Jesus Christ and His ways?"He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he [Jesus] walked." I John 2:6
The true Christian should be always striving to keep Christ's commandments - not just the ten we often
hear about but the whole Bible itself."And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know
him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." I John 2:3-4
Instead some who proclaim themselves to be Christian ignore His commandments whenever they conflict
with their own will. Perhaps this is because they do not truly believe the Bible to be God's Word. This
brings us to another name for a Christian:
A CHRISTIAN IS A BELIEVER"And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women." Acts 5:14
Christians are also referred to as believers. This name comes from the fact that true Christians believe
in the following:- Man is a sinner and needs to be reconciled to a holy and just God. (Romans 3:10-20)
- Reconciliation to God is by grace and not works. It is a gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8,9)
- This gift is offered by God and bought by Jesus Christ's death on the cross for our sins.
(Romans 6:23; Romans 5:6-11)
- This gift can be received by man only if he repents and puts his faith in Jesus Christ.
Yet some who claim to be Christian are trying to earn their way to Heaven. They are trusting in their
baptism, church membership or good deeds instead of believing God when He says it has been settled by
Jesus Christ. The true Christian is trusting in nothing else but the shed blood of Jesus Christ as an
atonement for their sins."He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath
made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record,
that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." I John 5:10-11
This "witness" the verse refers to brings us to the most important aspect of being a true Christian:
A CHRISTIAN IS "BORN AGAIN""Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he
cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3
God originally designed man with a spirit that enabled him to fellowship with God. However, man
rebelled against God and consequently died spiritually (Genesis 3:1-8). The result is a "spiritual void" that
makes the Bible seem foolish to him. He, therefore, needs to be born again spiritually if he is to fully
understand and apply God's Word (I Corinthians 2:10-14). Yet many who claim to be Christian have
never experienced a spiritual birth. In fact, some even deny that such a birth is necessary regardless of
the fact that Jesus makes it very clear."Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." John 3:7
This spiritual birth occurs when a person repents and accepts Christ as their personal saviour. They
become a new creature in Christ."Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old
things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." II Corinthians 5:17
As a new creature the true born again Christian will have the desire to follow God's will. They will
want to attend church and read God's word as well as pray and tell others about Christ. All these things
will seem natural and reasonable to them. Yet, some who claim to be Christian find that they must "force"
themselves to follow the Bible. It doesn't come natural to them and may even seem unreasonable. They
may go through life aware of what they should be doing, but being spiritually dead they are unable to carry
it out. To them living the Bible's standard is burdensome and even grievous. Yet, to the born again
Christian it is not."For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not
grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that
overcometh the world, even our faith." I John 5:3-4
Overcoming the world is another trademark of a true Christian. Therefore, the Bible gives yet another
name for a Christian:
A CHRISTIAN IS A PILGRIM"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war
against the soul;" I Peter 2:11.
A pilgrim in a strange land is what the true born again Christian feels like. As a new creature in a world
full of sin, he feels out of place and finds little in common with the world. Yet, some who claim to be
Christian feel right at home. They would rather be friends with the world than friend with God. Their
love is misplaced."Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love
of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and
the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." I John 2:15-16
How many who claim to be Christian would rather go to a ball game than attend church or watch
television than read their Bible or even let pride get in the way of humbling themselves before God or
others? The true born again Christian is naturally drawn more towards the things of God than the things
of the world."They [the unsaved] are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth
them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us [God's Word]; he that is not of God
heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." I John 4:5-6
A born again Christian has the Spirit of God living within them and assuring them they will go
to Heaven when they die. They, therefore, know that this world is not their true Home and they
are only pilgrims passing through.
In summary, we see that being a Christian involves more than just being a "good person". It
is hoped that the reader will examine themselves in light of the names, Disciple, Believer, Born-
Again and Pilgrim. If anyone has any doubts as to whether they are a true Christian, please feel
free to contact the address on the back [bottom] of this tract.
HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN
FIRST THE BAD NEWS:
1. We must realize that we are lost, sinners that are spiritually dead.
* "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10
* "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
* "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3
* "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." John 3:6
2. As spiritually dead, lost sinners, God's judgment and wrath are upon us.
* "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" Hebrews 9:27.
* "For which things' sake [sin] the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience
[sinners]:" Colossians 3:6.
3. Our good works can't stop this judgment and wrath. God demands death as payment
* "Not of works..." Ephesians 2:8-9.
* "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" Romans 3:10.
* "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Ezekiel 18:4
* "For the wages of sin is death;" Romans 6:23.
NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS!!
4. God is willing to accept someone else's death in our place. That someone is Jesus Christ.
* "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who
gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." I Timothy 2:5-6
* "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for
us." Romans 5:8
5. Jesus has bought salvation for us and now God can offer it as a gift by grace.
* "Ye are bought with a price;" I Corinthians 7:23.
* "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not
of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8,9
How does someone accept this gift? Through repentance and faith.
REPENTANCE: means to change your mind and adapt an attitude of not sinning against God.
FAITH: means to simply take God at His Word, i.e., believe the verses you have just read.
* "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward
our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 20:21
* "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13
6. Upon being saved and born again spiritually, we become converted to a new creature in
* "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall
not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3
* "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold,
all things are become new." II Corinthians 5:17
3303 23rd Avenue SouthWest
Fargo, North Dakota 58103
Speaking the truth in love
(701) 232-5500 Pastor T. C. Scheving Schedule of Services Sunday School . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9:30 a.m.
Sunday Morning Worship . . . . . 10:30 a.m.
Sunday Evening Service . . . . . . . 6:00 p.m.
Proteens (Wednesday) . . . . . . . . 6:45 p.m.
Wednesday Bible Study . . . . . . . 7:00 p.m.
[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]