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What Is a Christian?

May 15, 2017


It is easy to look at the huge variety of people who call themselves Christians and be confused about exactly what a Christian is.


Sometimes people use "Christian" just to mean a moral person or as a word to describe someone who goes to church. Some people think "Christian" refers to a political view.


The first time anyone was called a Christian is recorded in the Bible. "It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians" (Acts 11:26, New Living Translation).


The people who believed that Jesus was God also chose to live like Him. As a result, a group of people in Antioch teasingly applied Jesus' title of Christ as a label for His followers.


The word Christian is less important than the spiritual reality it illustrates.

  • Christians know God loves them.

  • They recognize their rebellion separates them from God. This is what the Bible calls sin.

  • They know Jesus came to earth, died and came to life again to offer forgiveness.

  • Christians have responded to God's offer of forgiveness by making a choice to stop living for themselves and allow God to make them who He wants them to be.

Many people think they must behave a certain way to become a Christian. The Bible explains that becoming a Christian is not about behavior, but about responding to Jesus' offer of forgiveness.


"God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it" (Ephesians 2:8,9, NLT).


However, people behave differently after becoming a Christian because their relationship with God changes them. People do good things for many reasons, but a Christian is motivated to do good things because they love God.


Learn more about how God changes lives by reading about what the Bible says is true if you are a Christian.


If you are a Christian, then:


God's Spirit lives in you

Revelation 3:20 (A picture of your new relationship with Jesus if you've placed your faith in Him.)

  • Romans 8:9-11

  • Ephesians 1:13,14

You are forgiven
  • Colossians 2:13,14

  • Romans 6:6, 11-13,14

  • 1 Corinthians 10:13

God changes you

As you get to know God better and continue to follow His plan, God will change your life and character through the Holy Spirit.

  • 2 Corinthians 3:18

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17

  • Galatians 5:22,23

  • Philippians 1:6; 2:13; 4:13

You live for Christ

Living for Christ is a lifelong process. God will give you the ability to follow Him as you trust in His promises and obey Him.

  • Ephesians 2:10

  • Galatians 2:20

  • Matthew 10:38,39

  • 2 Corinthians 5:14,15

  • John 15:9-11

Your faith and trust in God will continually develop

This process of knowing God better and experiencing His love and plan is developed by:

  • Talking to others about Christ

  • Spending time with other Christians

To Think About:
  • In light of these truths from the Bible, are you a Christian?

  • What would keep you from committing your life to Jesus Christ?

  • Learn more about becoming a Christian by reading How to Know God Personally











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