What is a Christian?

by Stuart Allen

If this question was addressed to six people it is possible that six different answers would be given:
one might say he is a good living man, another that he is a member of a church or chapel, or that he is a
person who does charitable work in aiding needy people, and so on. Let us look at the word `Christian’
again, and suppose we pronounce it differently, calling it CHRISTian, it will remind us that such a person
has some relationship to Christ in the first place.

If we ask in what way, we shall be wise if we turn to His own divine statements and give them serious
consideration. The answer to our question is not to be found in the various opinions which come from the
human mind; these will only lead us into error and disillusionment. What more reasonable than that we
should turn to the `fountain head’ Himself? Why did Christ come to this world of ours? These are His
own words:

`The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost’ (Luke 19:10).
`I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness. … I
came not to judge the world, but to save the world’ (John 12:46,47).

These words are surely clear. Christ came to dispel darkness and doubt and to give LIGHT. Christ
came not to condemn but to SAVE. This being so, it is obvious that there must be a fundamental need in
the human heart for enlightenment and salvation; but what is salvation? As you begin to consider this
please put from your mind all thoughts of churches, reformation, ordinances, baptism, whether infant or
adult, for in its essence the salvation which Christ spoke of has nothing to do with these things. Many
there are around us whose idea of salvation is that it results from a way of living, moral or religious, and is intimately connected with some religious rite or ceremony. Multitudes have conceived their own
conditions of salvation or have accepted the conditions laid down by others and, having fulfilled these
requirements, they rest in the false security of self deception. They may have met the requirements of
men, but they have fallen short of the requirements of God.

In this article we wish to avoid theological language and to use great plainness of speech so that all
who read can understand. The subject is so vastly important–actually there can be nothing more
important–that at all costs we must avoid having our minds clouded by human opinion. Consequently,
we shall turn away from men however good they may be and go direct to the teaching of the Lord Jesus
Christ.

From the verse already quoted (Luke 19:10) He has stated that the purpose of His coming was to
SAVE, and those to whom this work applies are described by Him as LOST. Let us add another
statement of His regarding this purpose:
`They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the
righteous, but sinners to repentance’ (Mark 2:17).

It is clear from these words that Christ’s mission was not directed to good people but to the unworthy,
those whom He described as LOST and as SINNERS. Now this is not flattering to human nature, but
before you turn away from it, my dear reader, just ask yourself honestly whether, in spite of any good
behaviour which you strive after, perhaps these terms truthfully describe you? It is not a question of big
sinners or little sinners. One sin makes a sinner just as one lie makes a liar. Even if your self-control is
so strong that you never commit any act or speak any word that is wrong (which is improbable), what
about the inside–your thinking? Have you never indulged in sinful thoughts? Remember that of Christ
it is said:
`He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man’
(John 2:24,25).

He sees inside and knows every thought, and while men may deceive one another with externals, there
is no deceiving Him. Apart from this, as one looks around and considers the present appalling condition
of world affairs with its mounting armaments and gigantic weapons of destruction, its terrible threat of
war, suffering and death, one would have thought that these things of themselves would prove that there is something radically wrong with the human mind. There can be no doubt that salvation is a necessity
and it was for this express purpose that Christ came. A sinner needs a saviour whether he knows it or
not, but this saviour must be the one of God’s providing, and the one He has provided is the Lord Jesus
Christ. Saving the lost is His business. He has never failed nor can He fail.

There are no exceptions in connection with sin and failing for `All have sinned, and come short of the
glory of God’ (Rom. 3:23) therefore all need a Saviour and that includes YOU. Do not turn away because
this does not pat you on the back and flatter you. Do not indulge in wishful thinking, but be absolutely
honest with yourself in this matter. You can settle the question of your own salvation by answering the
following questions: Is the Lord Jesus Christ my personal Saviour? Do I as a sinner belong to Him?
Have I put my trust in Him and in Him alone? If the answers are `YES’, you are saved, because you are
linked by simple faith with Him who is the only Saviour of mankind. If the answers are `NO’, you are
lost and the final condition of the lost is one of condemnation and perishing eternally.

`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’ (John 3:16).
`I am come that they might have LIFE’ (John 10:10).
`He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already’
(John 3:18).

So, in all solemnity, it is a question of LIFE or DEATH and that eternally. To be linked with Christ
means life eternal for you; to be divorced from Him means eternal death. Note that salvation comes to
you from Him by the avenue of faith. You are not saved by faith itself–it is the object of faith, the Lord
Jesus Christ that saves. Your faith is merely the channel by which His salvation reaches you and becomes
your own possession. Faith, belief and trust mean the same thing. If you have faith in a man, you trust
him. If you trust him you have faith in him. If you have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ you have all that
God requires of a sinner in order to be saved.

It may be asked, is there no other way of salvation? In the words of Christ Himself the answer is NO.
` I am the door: BY ME if any man enter in, he shall be saved’ (John 10:9).
` He that entereth not by the door … but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber’
(John 10:1).
`I am the WAY, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but BY ME’ (John 14:6).

Men may talk of working out their own way of salvation, but all such efforts in the light of these words must end in deception and death because they ignore the only way God recognises, i.e., Christ Himself.

There is a further question that may be put: How can God save me through Christ? It is entirely beyond the capabilities of the finite mind to grasp this in all its fulness, but the Apostle Paul summed it up when he said:
`For He (God) hath made Him (Christ) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the
righteousness of God in Him’ (2 Cor. 5:21).

There is a wonderful transference here. He takes your sin and bears it away and pays the penalty in
your stead, which is death. Hence His atoning death on Calvary’s cross. You take His righteousness by
simple trust in Him and the free gift of eternal life in the place of condemnation and death; and not only
this, but His almighty power which will enable you to live, in the fullest sense of the word, a life of peace
and joy, in spite of all circumstances.

God’s way of salvation then is plain. You are a failing creature, a sinner. You need a Saviour. There
is only one Saviour, and He is Jesus Christ. When you put your trust in Him and rely entirely upon His
all sufficient work and merit, you are saved and that for all eternity and the question which heads this
leaflet is then answered as to what a real Christian is. It is YOU if you have taken this one vital and
necessary step. If you have not, then we would urge upon you, with all the earnestness at our command,
that you do it NOW. You cannot guarantee to-morrow, therefore let not this day pass before you go to
God quietly, simply, and in all sincerity and tell Him that you are a sinner; that you realise your need of
salvation and will put your trust in the only Saviour of sinners, the Lord Jesus Christ. The peace of mind,
the joy, the sense of a real purpose in life which will surely follow have to be experienced to be believed.
If you turn away and reject Him, things can never be the same for you again. At least, you will not be
able to say that you did not know. Do not be concerned or afraid of what other people may do or think.
What does this matter when eternal things are at stake? Never mind how much you have sinned and
failed in the past; remember He said that He came to call sinners not righteous people, and therefore He
came for YOU. He will not turn you away for He has given you this promise:

`Him that cometh to ME I will in no wise cast out’ (John 6:37).
` He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to
make intercession for them’ (Heb. 7:25).

He can be your Saviour here and now, and you can be a Christian in the truest sense if you will put
your trust in Him and receive His salvation and transforming power. This can only be done by yourself.
No one can do it for you. The question is: WILL YOU?

Think well before you say NO, for your eternal destiny hangs upon your answer.

* * *

If you have a question about the Christian faith, please contact us. We will do our best to answer your query.

2 Responses to “What is a Christian?”

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  1. Shirley Davis says:

    Thank you for this website. I am beginning to study your articles and to save the verses in ScriptureTyper.com.
    I started a group collection under Spiritual Blessings to learn and review all the verses I find here.

    • bbfaadmin says:

      Thanks for your kind comments, Shirley. We hope that our website is of help in your study of the Bible. Feel free to share any of our articles with your family and friends.
      BBFA Admin.

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