What It Means to Be a Christian

A Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ (John 10:27-28). In order to be one, you need to have devoted yourself to following Him by living the way He taught people to live.

The beginning of becoming a Christian is called salvation. God initiates an invitation to you to become a follower of Jesus. When you accept His invitation, God saves you.

The big question, of course, is “Save me from what?”

The answer is spiritual death.

First, you have to recognize that in addition to being a physical being, you are also a spiritual being. Among other things, your spirit is the part of you that will live forever, long after your body dies.

Wait, I thought you just said that I was being saved from spiritual death? That is true; spiritual death is not the end of your existence. It is a permanent separation from God that will come to those who have rejected His invitation. Often, this is called hell. Whatever it is, the Bible has nothing good to say about it.

Why would God allow anyone to be separated from Him if He loves all people?

The answer has to do with the biblical creation story. Adam and Eve did something that God told them not to do; they ate fruit from a tree that God told them not to or they would die. For doing so, God had to enact punishment:

All humanity became “cursed” (unable to make things right with God on their own).
All humanity became “mortal” (their physical bodies would die).

The penalty of sin is death (Romans 6:23). All have sinned (Romans 3:23) and as such, are unfit to live forever with God.

The penalty is ultimately paid with your spiritual death. One person = one penalty. But that was never God’s plan; His plan was that all people would come to know Him and spend forever with Him. So, He needed a plan to fix the curse.

So, God became a human being (John 1:1, 2, 14). His name is Jesus Christ. Because God has never sinned and never will, if that person were to die, He would be able to pay the penalty for everyone else.

But salvation is a gift; it isn’t automatic for all people. They must accept the gift. Remember, God wants you  to want Him. No one will be made to live with God against their will. Those people will experience spiritual death.

Acceptance of that gift is called salvation. It is formalized with your declaration before others that you are associated with Jesus Christ. The most common expression of this declaration is water baptism. Baptism itself does not save; rather it is the outward expression of an inward change.

Once you become saved, other things happen as well.

God’s Holy Spirit becomes a daily part of your life. He initiates a number of changes in you:

Regeneration: You die spiritually and become “born again.” You become a new person (John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Justification: You are declared holy by God (Romans 5:1).
Sanctification: You are being transformed into the real person God intended you to be (Galatians 5:16-25; Romans 12:2).
Spirit Baptism: You are placed into union with Christ and into union with all other Christian believers (1 Corinthians 12:13).
Adoption: God adopts you as a son or daughter (Ephesians 1:5).

What is a Christian’s purpose on earth? Is a Christian supposed to be doing something?

You have only two commands of God as a Christian:

Love God
Love Others

As simple as that sounds, you will find just how difficult obeying those two commands can be. But now that judgment and punishment have already been dealt with, we can spend the rest of our earthly lives getting better at loving.

There is so much more to the Christian Experience but this is our faith broken down in simple terms.

Pastor Scott