So what is a Christian?
So you came here searching to understand what is a Christian. Some would simply say, “to believe in Jesus” makes you a Christian. But what does it mean “to believe?” And who, really, is “Jesus Christ?” According to the Bible, Jesus is the promised Messiah foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures. His Hebrew name is “Yeshua”, which means “Salvation”. He is the only begotten Son of God, God come in the flesh, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, who suffered, and was crucified for the sins of the world. He died and was buried, and on the third day, He rose again from the dead having the keys of hell and death. Soon afterward He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will soon return to judge both the living and the dead.
Those are the facts about Jesus, but how can you know they are really true so to really believe in Him? The kind of believing which the Bible speaks of means “complete trust”, so that you throw your entire existence upon Jesus in FAITH that He will save you. How can someone do that? And why do you need to be “saved”? The answers can only come from the highest authority, God Himself, by His REVELATION. Real FAITH only responds to real REVELATION from God… about Him AND about you. God communicates to a person through His Holy Spirit and His Word (Jesus Himself, and The Bible, Old and New Testaments). The Creator reveals His existence, His nature, His authority, and His will to people, in a way that makes them sure about Him. A true Christian is not someone who has chosen a particular “religion” because it appeals to him or because it seems reasonable. Rather, he comes to know his Creator by REVELATION, and comes to know Jesus personally as who He actually is: the only begotten Son of God and Savior of the world. REVELATION is also required to see yourself as you truly are in God’s eyes.
Reading the Bible does not automatically bring REVELATION, but when God’s Spirit brings conviction and certainty about His truth, then you can respond with true FAITH. Matthew’s gospel [Matthew 16:15-17] gives a powerful example: Jesus said to His disciples, “But what about you?” “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. Peter’s answer about Jesus was revealed by God, Himself.
REVELATION from God also can come in other ways, such as visions, and there is general REVELATION from nature which testifies to an intelligent Creator. However it comes, REVELATION is God’s part in the process of becoming a Christian. But REVELATION alone will not make someone a true Christian. Many people receive REVELATION from God in many ways but never become Christians. This is because they refuse to repent and believe; they do not respond with REPENTANCE and FAITH. REPENTANCE means turning around and away from one’s own understanding and way of life, which is sinful and self-centered; and turning to God. It means responding to REVELATION from God recognizing His existence, His perfect holiness and our hopeless sinfulness. When we truly repent, we really understand and agree that we are sinful unto death, that “all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” [Romans 3:23]; that we desperately need forgiveness and a purification that we cannot accomplish ourselves, because by our very nature we have violated God’s law and His holiness. Only being deeply convinced of these things we can truly respond with a FAITH that trusts completely in Jesus, the Savior who died for sin, and reconciled us to God.
Sin leads to death….do you realize that the certainty of your death is intimately connected with the terrible reality of your sin? The Bible makes these clear statements;”Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—.” [Romans 5:12] And; “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” [Hebrews 9:27] Yes, the evidence of the reality of sin is everywhere around and within us because this world is filled with disease and death, which are the direct result of it. Anyone who says “Well, I’m not that sinful!” is simply not aware of his or her true inner condition.
Sin entered the world when our first parents were tested in that ancient Garden. Adam and Eve were made in the very image of God, their beauty, depth, and profound significance, beyond our comprehension. Because of their great significance to God, the test He allowed them to experience would have far-reaching consequences. Eating the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil would change the very nature and fabric of Creation, bringing the death and decay we witness every day. This event was not a myth. The New Testament makes perfectly clear that, “.. since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead;” [1 Corinthians 15:21].
Are you sensing the truth in these words? Then the Holy Spirit is giving you REVELATION about God and yourself. He is gently calling you to respond with FAITH. Since you have come here seeking, this is His promise: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” [Jeremiah 29:13]. God desires for men and women to seek and to find Him. In His gentle way He calls us into His love without forcing us, even as He wakes us up to the reality of our true condition.
Since the day that Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden and sin and death entered the world, the Father of Creation, in love, has provided hope. Since death was not His highest will or intention for us, but rather Life, even Eternal Life, He made a way to cover and finally, erase, sin from the world. This way involved sacrifice; and the shedding of blood. Expressed with these words, in the Old Testament book of Leviticus, He said; “..the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” [Leviticus 17:11].” The first sacrifice was in the Garden, when the Lord God slew an animal to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. The final, perfect sacrifice was Jesus, the Lamb of God, the Christ, or Messiah who, shedding His own blood, took away the sins of the world. The following passages of scripture prophesy and describe Him in detail: [Micah 5:2; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 53:1-13; Daniel 9:23-27]. Isaiah 52:13 through Isaiah 53 is very explicit about this “Suffering Servant Messiah”. The entire New Testament, especially the four Gospels, is the true history of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
Again, if you find these words, these scriptures, ringing true deep within, then God really is speaking to you and convicting you of your true condition and spiritual need, and of His hope for you. Because after the final perfect sacrifice of the Messiah was accomplished on a Roman cross some 2000 years ago, His dead body was laid in a tomb; but three days later life was restored to Him, and He was raised bodily from the dead. This is described in the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The resurrection was witnessed by over 500 people; [1 Corinthians 15:6]. And since that time, this true message has changed the lives and brought hope for eternity to many millions of people all over the world.
FAITH can also be your response to the conviction you may be feeling and receiving about these things. Today could be your day of salvation. A new, spiritual birth can occur inside you, as the simple truth of John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” And “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” [Acts 4:12]. But make sure that your repentance is deep and sincere and that you fully intend, with God’s help, to turn away from all your sins. God is not mocked. He looks at the heart, and fully knows your intentions. If they are real, He will enter you by His Spirit and give you new life. This means that you, also, will be resurrected from death and receive an eternal and perfect body as the resurrected Messiah did. The gift of eternal life is received by REPENTANCE and FAITH. You can express this response in your own words, based on your conviction of sin, and the death and resurrection of Jesus; or you might use a prayer such as this one:
Father in Heaven, I come to you realizing that I am truly a sinful person, that my sin separates me from you and leads me to judgment and eternal death. I’m asking that you forgive me as I turn from my sins; rebellion, unbelief, sexual immorality, occultism, hatred, cursing, selfishness, and everything you call evil. I do believe that your Son Jesus, came, died, and rose again from the grave and that through Him I can receive your forgiveness and eternal life. So I’m asking you, Father, to completely cleanse me by the blood of Jesus, and write my name in your Book of Life. I gratefully receive this free gift of His righteousness, cleansing, and eternal life as I fully trust that He carried my sins away completely. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for giving your life for me. Help me to live a holy life worthy of your salvation. Amen.
If you have responded in real repentance and faith with this or other prayer, please let us here at Worthy Network know about it; we would love to encourage and help you in any way we can. And know this: “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” [Romans 10:9-10]