Are You A Christian?

Denver Thomas

Today, many words dealing with religious concerns are often unused, abused and misused in our society. For example, depending on whose poll one may choose, some 60 to 90% of those polled in the United States of America claim to be Christians. Of course, it is appropriate to know what is meant by the term Christian and how one becomes such in order to assess its true nature and value. 

So, just what does it mean to be a Christian? A sailor sails because he or she is a sailor. I may sail, but that does not make me a sailor. I might just be on a cruise. A mailman delivers mail because he or she is a mailman. I may deliver mail, but that does not make me a mailman. I frequently go to the Post Office for our mail. A Christian sings because he or she is a Christian. I may sing, but that does not make me a Christian. There are all types of singers in the world, and most likely very few of them are Christians. A Christian gives because he or she is a Christian. I may give, but that does not make me a Christian. There are many extremely charitable people in the world. Just wearing a name does not make it so! 

I am reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

So, what does the Bible have to say about the word? Who is a Christian, anyway? The word Christian occurs just three times in the King James Version of the Bible. See Acts 11:26, 26:28 & 1 Peter 4:16. 

“And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Acts 11:26. This was not just any name someone applied to a group of people, but, rather, it denoted followers of the Christ. Disciples are doers – as Jesus taught in Matthew 7:21, 25:31-40, and John 8:31. Simply put, these obeyed what was commanded them by Christ in His Holy Word. See John 14:21, 15:10. 

Then, how does one become a Christian? The scripture provides many examples of those who became Christians. See Acts 2:37-47, 8:35-39, 10:42-48, 16:13-15, 25-33, 19:1-5. Those same steps are equally applicable for all mankind today, even though the religious community has tried to substitute a multitude of alternatives of its own making. Many have become as those Jesus referred to in Matthew 15:9: “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

From 1 Peter 4:16 we learn all Christians will suffer. See Acts 4:1-21, 5:17-29, 6:8-15, 7:54-60, 8:1-3, 9:1-2, 12:1-6, 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 and 2 Corinthians 11:21-30.

When Agrippa said, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian,” he realized there was much more to being a Christian than just wearing the name. Acts 26:28. He knew it was a commitment to a change in his lifestyle.

Christians constitute the Lord’s church (Matthew 16:18), the body of Christ (Colossians 1:18), live in accordance with His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17), will be judged by His Word (John 12:48), and will be those who will meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

There is a general feeling within the religious community that people from all so-called faiths will enter Heaven on that great day (Hebrews 9:27). Further, there are those among the brotherhood who are now making that claim. One is left to wonder why? When we study Ephesians 4, for example, we find no room for those who do not follow the standard (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The uniqueness of the Lord’s way simply does not allow for the diversity that exists in the religious world. Remember, Jesus spoke of but two roads (Matthew 7:13-14). Sadly, many will be as Jesus said in Matthew 15:13 and 25:41ff.

Very simply stated, a Christian is one who lives his or her life in accordance to the will of God. God has from the very beginning required strict compliance with His commandments. Just making the claim, wearing the name, or occupying a pew on occasion does not make it so. Are you a Christian? If not, why not? -PO Box 821, Milton, WV 25541-0821.

Return to West Virginia Christian