What is a Christian?

C ~ H ~ R ~ I ~S~T~I~A~N


- Christ- Like, or Christ Centered.

To be a Christian means, from dictionary.com ,
  1. Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
  2. Relating to or derived from Jesus or Jesus's teachings.
  3. Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike.
  4. Relating to or characteristic of Christianity or its adherents.
  5. Showing a loving concern for others; humane.

  1. 1. One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and
  2. teachings of Jesus.
  3. 2. One who lives according to the teachings of Jesus.

Easton's Bible Dictionary of 1897 says:
the name given by the Greeks or Romans, probably in reproach, to the followers of Jesus. It was first used at Antioch. The names by which the disciples were known among themselves were "brethren," "the faithful," "elect," "saints," "believers." But as distinguishing them from the multitude without, the name "Christian" came into use, and was universally accepted. This name occurs but three times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16).

So - by definition, you cannot call yourself a Christian, unless you believe in Jesus Christ, and want to be like Him, and live according to His teachings.

What did Christ say He was? By His own words:

In Galatians 5:22 and 23, Paul tells us :
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
We can do more study, and find all of these fruits in Jesus Christ - and as we, according to Galatians 5:24 "crucify" the flesh
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Then we can walk in the Spirit, Galatians 5:25
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Taking the quality of Love - we can learn more about Christ.
We are told in 1 John that God is Love - and hates sin. This is a great chapter to learn more about the God we serve through Christ Jesus. It's just a few short chapters - check it out.
Now, the really big issue on love is in 1 Corinthians 13
Love is translated 'charity' in the King James Version - so read the word charity as LOVE.
This is a great explanation of what growing into Christ is really all about.

By now, you may be a little overwhelmed about what is a very small part of being like Christ. I know I am! For several years (I'll have been saved for 40 years in 2009), I have been working on the fruit of the spirit, and starting with Love, since Galatians starts with that one, and working on Love through 1 Corinthians 13:4 - in the New International Version:
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

Now, to be honest - I haven't gotten past Love is patient!!!

That brings us to the second letter in Christian:


- Humble

defined in dictionary.com as:
Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful.

To become a Christian, one needs to admit that they are a sinner - this is the first act of humility.
You must recognize that you cannot make it into heaven - only God can make that way for you - and the proud will not enter in.
Part of humility is knowing who you are, and what you are, and recognizing when you need the help of someone else.
God spoke to us through Peter, in 1 Peter 5:6 and 7 :
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
There are many warnings against pride, such as this one in Proverbs 16:18
Pride [goeth] before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
And it is followed by:
19 Better [it is to be] of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
Here are a few for your own study, look them up in your Bible, or on Blue Letter Bible: Being Humble before God puts us into a position to receive His Grace! And - we really aren't humble if we aren't repentant. That's the R.


- Repentant

According to dictionary.com: repent means:
  1. To feel remorse, contrition, or self-reproach for what one has done or failed to do; be contrite.
  2. To feel such regret for past conduct as to change one's mind regarding it: repented of intemperate behavior.
  3. To make a change for the better as a result of remorse or contrition for one's sins.
  4. v turn away from sin or do penitence [syn: atone]
  5. feel remorse for; feel sorry for; be contrite about [syn: regret, rue]
This comes from the realization that we are not "all that and a bag of chips"
We know
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23)
Rom 6:23 "For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
In Matthew3, we read about John's ministry
"And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
John the Baptist preached that to prepare the way for the Lord, we are to repent of our sins - read this in Mark 1: 1-5. John taught us how to begin, the first steps in a walk with Jesus.
Repentance means to turn away from sin - the humility comes from the recognition that you are not Christlike - cannot be Christlike, and therefore need a path and help.
The repentance is that you want to turn away from the old life - turn away from sin.
In the dictionary defintion, there is the concept of penance and penitence - there is a wage for sin - death, but as we read above, the gift of God is eternal life.
Our sins deserve death - and we couldn't pay the price.
One sin deserved one death - and we only have one life to give, and can't die enough to pay the price. If that wasn't enough, the sin offering had to be spotless and without sin, so once we sinned, we couldn't be our sin offering anyway!
It was a catch-22!
But, from the beginning, God had a plan(read Genesis 1 through 3, and focus on 3:15 ).
That plan was Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of the world!
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
God knew we couldn't pay the price, and in the fullness of time, He sent His son to be the perfect lamb that takes away the sin of the world. And, John the Baptist is the one that pointed Him out to us:
John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Here are some more verses about the gift that Jesus gave us:
Rom 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Gal 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
1Jo 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
And here is the verse that leads us to 'I'
Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.


- Identify

Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Just for clarity - crucifying your flesh, and being crucified with Christ does not mean anything in the flesh - lilke flagellation, or inflicting physical pain upon your body. There is no where in the bible that says you must add to Christ's sufferings on the cross. Just before He died, he said "it is finished" - and what can you and I add to the fullness of His work? nothing. I'll talk about what crucifying the flesh really means later - just don't go out and buy a whip!!! Check out Psalm 40. Hebrews 10 talks about Jesus replacing the sacrifice as well.

I'm having trouble with this one - because I like this phrase : justified - Just as if "I'd" never sinned.
I is just*i*fied - by Christ - if we believe.
But this is the important part of being justified - that we Identify ourselves as the sinners that put Christ on the cross:
It must be understood that 2 Corinthians does not say Jesus became sin - the other verses explain that He was sinless, and suffered for our sin.
This is the type of the lamb for the sin offering in the Old Testament - the lamb did not become the sinner - but rather, became the substitution for the sinner, for the sacrifice. This is called the substitutionary atonement in theological terms. Atonement made by a substitution.

We Identify with Christ on the cross - and receive the gift of salvation. We are ambassadors for Christ: 2 Corinthiams 5: in New international Version:
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin* for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
This is getting a bit ahead of ourselves - but this is the reason for us to identify with Christ.
Dictionary.com defines identify in this way:
  1. To consider as identical or united; equate.
  2. To associate or affiliate (oneself) closely with a person or group.
We cannot identify with Jesus as God, and perfect, until we identify ourselves as the sinners that put the Lamb of God upon the cross to pay OUR price for sin.
The cross is a sign of death to sin.
Rom 6:23 "For the wages of sin [is] death;
And the payment of those wages was done on the cross. Jesus tells us how to identify with him in Matthew 10:32 and following
We are told of our cross in Mat 10:38
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
But what is this cross? In this chapter, Jesus warns us of the cost of walking the path He walked.
If we walk as Christ walked - we can expect to be persecuted.
Matthew 5:10,11,12 Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
John 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
His cross was picking up the cost for our sin. Our cross is letting go of those things that separate us from Godliness, in appreciation for His paying our price.
But, we must be identifiable with Christ! We need to be like Christ. What do we need to start identifying with? 2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us we are a new creation - but our cross is to put off the old man. Anyone that has tried to break a habit knows that even though you KNOW that you need to stop, the body doesn't always just up and quit.

Eph 4:22, 23, 24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
This means, there is some work to be done - taking up our cross - identifying with Christ, by willingly putting our old man on the cross.
Colossians 3 has much to say about the difference between the old man and the new man.
These are also referred to as "besetting sins".
Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We need to remember that Jesus saw the joy of the gift He was giving us, in the midst of the cross:
Rom 6:23 "For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
And the Apostle James reminds us, in another way to identify with Jesus to:
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
By letting the Lord cleanse us from sin, renew our mind, and train us through trials and temptations, we will be made perfect and whole, wanting nothing. We must rejoice - because God is doing a work in us, to bring us into the fullness and likeness of Christ.
Galatians 5:22 tells us the first three fruit of the Spirit are LOVE, JOY, AND PEACE.
1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us that faith, hope and love will endure, but the greatest is love.
1Jo 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
If we can learn to love as Christ loved - understanding how God loves, and respond in like fashion, we will go a long way in being like Christ. Like I said, I am still working on love is patient!

At this time, I am going to stop here. We have S~T~I~A~N to finish - and I want to do them justice.
I think these are going to be the rest of the letters - but these are subject to change as I seek the Lord in prayer.

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