In the last UK census around 60% of the population identified themselves as being a ‘Christian’. But are they really? What does the Bible say about how someone becomes a true Christian?
A Person not a Place
The term ‘Christian’ was first used in a city called Antioch (in modern day Syria). It was used to describe those who belonged to Jesus Christ. Christianity is essentially all about a person; Jesus Christ.
Many consider themselves to be ‘Christian’, simply because they were born in the UK, which was historically regarded as a ‘Christian country’.
Others describe themselves as being ‘Christian’ due to their regular attendance at a place of worship.
However, according to The Bible, it isn’t a place of birth, nor a place of worship, that makes someone a Christian. A true Christian is someone who has surrendered and committed their life to Jesus Christ.
Trusting not Trying
Some people consider themselves to be a Christian because they try their best to abide by the law of the land, live a good life and help others whenever they can.
Whilst these are commendable things, the Bible is clear that it is not through trying, but by trusting in Jesus that a person receives forgiveness, eternal life and the guarantee of a home in Heaven. It is not about what we can do to work our way into God’s good books. It’s all about what Jesus has done through His death on the cross. As a result we can receive God’s forgiveness as a free, undeserved, gift.
They say that “God helps those who help themselves”, but the wonderful news is that God actually helps those who are utterly helpless. None of us measure up to God’s standards and we are unable to earn our way into Heaven. But God is merciful, gracious and loving. All God wants us to do is trust in Jesus. This is the point at which a person becomes a true Christian.
A Relationship not a Religion
A religion is a system of rules and rituals designed to help a person gain the approval of God. As we’ve noticed already such an approach based on our own efforts is doomed to fail. Christianity is different. When a person becomes a Christian they are not subscribing to a set of rules and rituals which they must keep to earn a place in Heaven. Rather, they are entering in to an unbreakable, personal relationship with God.
Upon becoming a Christian, a person is welcomed into the family of God and is assured of an eternal home in the ‘Father’s House’ in Heaven. The Holy Spirit empowers them to overcome sinful desires and to live a new life. They can talk with their Heavenly Father through prayer and can learn His desires for their life through His guidebook, the Bible.
So to be a Christian is not simply to live a ‘religious’ life. It is to have a personal relationship with God, through faith in Jesus Christ. This brings with it real forgiveness, peace, love, hope and joy.