You can find them in almost every geographical region of the world. They are present in every sphere of society. They are poor, wealthy, educated, and uneducated. Their skin tone varies from black to white and includes every hue in between. Some are tall, and some are short. Many are physically fit and many are not. Experts predict that by 2050 these people will constitute 3 billion of the world’s population.
Who are they? Christians. At least, this is what they call themselves. Some may identify as being Christian based on their place of birth, their cultural tradition or another form of societal influence. But many, many others use the term to sincerely and boldly proclaim that they have decided to follow Jesus. The reality is that if you ask ten people, “What is a Christian?” You may get ten differing answers. So let’s take a brief look at what being a Christian means.The reality is that if you ask ten people, “What is a Christian?” You may get ten differing answers. So let's take a brief look at what being a Christian means. Click To Tweet
Acts 11:26 records, “And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” Historians say that the inhabitants of Antioch in the first century were known as people who liked to give out nicknames. And so as they observed the followers of Jesus they decided they should be called, “Christians.” Later in His epistle, Peter uses the term, and because of his use of the title, it stuck. (See I Peter 4:16)
The nickname of Christian is beautiful and powerful in its meaning. Let me briefly highlight the three principal truths of the name:
First, it means “of Christ.” To be a true Christian, you must be “of” Him. It isn’t about being born into a Christian family or culture where people are traditionally Christian; you must be born of God. You must have His blood, His DNA! John records the conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus as they met around a campfire. Jesus shocks the religious leader by telling him, “Most assuredly, I say to you unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The phrase “born again” literally can be translated as “born from above.” Later John wrote, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…” [I John 5:1] Just as you and I possess our parents DNA because we are “of” them, so those who believe in Jesus are born of God and possess His DNA. No wonder John goes on to write, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” [I John 5:4]Those who believe in Jesus possess His DNA. Click To Tweet
Secondly, the word Christian means “belonging to Christ.” Those who are “of Christ” belong to Him. We can boldly claim the promise found in Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Hallelujah! Because I belong to Jesus, I will not lack or fail! Just as I am responsible for taking care of my daughter, the Lord bears the responsibility to take care of all who put their faith in Him and become His family! He has “bought us” with the price of His life, and He who began this good work will bring it to completion! [See I Corinthians 6:20 and Philippians 1:6]
The third definition of the word Christian is the most widely used inside the Church. To be a Christian means to be “like Christ.” This is the heart cry of every true believer in Jesus. We want to be like Him: Like Him in character and like Him in action. And if we are truly born of Him and belong to Him, it naturally follows that we will indeed be like Him. Jesus said, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” [John 15:8] It is by bearing the fruit of His Spirit that we are indeed known as His! [See Galatians 5:22-25] And then Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also…” [John 14:12]
This is who we Christians are! We are the sons and daughters of God Most High. We are born from above and given the power to be like Him in character and action. We are His body on the earth and called to proclaim Him in power among the nations! Let’s rise and be Jesus in this generation.