What does it mean to be a Christian?
Have you ever wondered what it really means to be a Christian? With so many opinions, philosophies and interpretations being pushed on us today, we need an answer we can count on. The only place we can get such an answer is in the Bible. Since the Bible is God’s Word, it alone can give us the answers we need in order to find salvation and the truth about eternal life.
This short outline is an explanation of God’s plan for salvation as given in His Bible. Of course, much more could be written and explained, but enough is given here for you to know what God requires. It is not intended to be an emotional plea but simply a statement of the truth of Scripture. God gives each of us a free will to accept or reject what He has said.
If you wish to know what it really means to be a Christian, prayerfully and truthfully answer the following questions…
1. Do you know what you need to know?
If a man is on an island that is about to be engulfed with water and there is a boat tied up on the other side where he cannot see, his need is two-fold. He needs to know he is about to die and he needs to know that there is a boat that can save him.
Your greatest need in this life is also two-fold. First, you need to know that you are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Unless the sin that you inherited from Adam is forgiven, you will spend eternity in Hell. Second, you need to know that Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). The Apostle Peter preached, “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). Unless a man hears the claims of Christ and is willing to come to Him, there is no salvation.
2. Do you believe what you know?
Once the imperiled man on the island finds the boat, he must make an inspection of it to see if it can indeed save him. Perhaps it has no bottom or it is full of holes and trusting himself to it would be foolishness.
When you come to Jesus Christ, you are faced with His claims. You must decide if those claims are true and if He can indeed save you. The Bible says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus (who He is) and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised Him from the dead (what He did), thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9). The two most basic claims of Christ were His Person and His Work. Jesus claimed to be God and he claimed to have risen from the dead. No one can come to Christ as Savior and deny these claims. Just as no one would get in a boat without a bottom, no one will trust a Christ who is not what He claims to be.
3. Do you trust what you believe?
If the man on the island inspected the boat and found it worthy, he is still in need of one important step. He must get in the boat. He may still drown on the island believing that the boat could save him. Without this act of commitment, all of his knowledge and belief about the boat will not help him.
The Bible says, “But these things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through His name” (John 20:31). Belief, then, is an act of commitment as well as knowledge. The Bible describes it as “for whosoever calls upon the name of the the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). To receive Christ as Savior, you must make that commitment by calling upon Him to save you from your sin. If you are willing to make that commitment to Him right now, you will find that His promise to give salvation is true.
4. Do you confess what you trust?
The man who gets in the boat and is saved from the island will be alive to tell about it. His confession of what happened is not what saves him, but is simple proof that his soul was saved.
A sinner who truly trusts Christ as Savior will be spiritually alive and will confess it with his mouth and life. “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth in Him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 10:11). That is, the mouth will publicly confess what the heart has secretly believed. There will always be those who say they are Christians but whose lives contradict what their mouths confess. If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, you are saved forever. If that is now true for you, it will cause you to live righteously and not be a license for you to sin. Therefore, if you have just become a believer, seek to tell other believers what has happened to you.