Friday, August 5, 2011

What It Means to be a Christian

In Acts 11:26, the Bible says, "the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." It is apparent then that after this  Agrippa said to Apostle Paul in Acts 26:28, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." And also that Apostle Peter declared in 1st Peter 4:16"Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf..." So the terms Christians or Christian is infrequently used in the sacred text. But it is evident that the early disciples were called Christians for a reason.  In Adam Clarke's Commentary, Adam Clarke said... well Adam Clarke said a lot of things. But it is evident that by whoever and however the disciples at Antioch first were called Christians, the name stuck. 

Now there are approximately 2.1 billion people in the world who in some way identify themselves as Christians. But what does it mean to be called a Christian? Certainly those who kill or have killed in the name of Christ, think of Northern Ireland, or the Former Yugoslavia, or even the Crusaders, cannot be called Christians.  And it certainly must mean more than just conducting one's life according to a predetermined set of rules. It must mean more than participation or fellowship with a particular church or group. I think that the Apostle Paul probably summed it up best when he said in Galatians 1:10, "For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." I think and believe that to be a true Christian, I must seek to please God in everything I do.  I believe that it is what Colossians 3:17 says for us to do, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." 

Jesus Christ, our great example, and for whom all who call themselves Christians are named, said in John 8:29, "the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him." Apostle Paul said in 2nd Timothy 2:4, "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." If you are a Christian or call your self a Christian, know this that you are only a Christian if you please Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, (1st Peter 2:9) . If you live your life only to please yourself, or your church or the opinions of men and not the Lord Jesus, you are a liar and not a Christian. An interesting passage is found in 2nd Timothy 2:19, "the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." Let God then be the judge of your Christianity. If He calls you a Christian, that is all that really matters.  The Bible says in Romans 3:26, "that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Let Him be your justifier and don't worry about the opinions of men. Romans 8:31 says, "If God be for us, who can be against us." Put your trust in the Lord Jesus today.