I would like to start my definition by first saying what a Christian is NOT!
Anyone who is not Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim is NOT therefore automatically Christian. If you were born into a Christian family, you are NOT automatically Christian. I suggest the appropriate term for you is Gentile. In NEW Testament times, there was a distinction between Jews and Gentiles. That was it. Everyone who is not Jewish is a Gentile. here are some quick one liners about what Christians are not:
- No-one is born a Christian
- You cannot become a Christian by simply going to church
- You are not a Christian just because you believe in Jesus
OK so then what is a Christian?
Jesus said that unless you are born again, you cannot see God. John 3:3-6
In simple terms I like the definition of a Christian as Christ I Am Nothing. You have probably seen many people on twitter say ” I am second” and essentially they are saying the same thing. The Bible teaches very clearly that becoming a Christian is about being born again. And as Jesus explains in John 3, we have to be born of the spirit.
You cannot be a Christian in the Biblical sense of the word, and not love God. And by love God, I mean serve Him, and follow Him and profess your faith and have a relationship with Him. Jesus described himself as the Good Shepherd and he said that his sheep know his voice. Do you know the voice of God? If your answer is “huh” then perhaps you need to re-evaluate where you are at, because Jesus said it. See John 10:22-30.
S0 now let’s turn attention to what a Christian is. And this is not a matter of debate, it must be based on what the Bible says, because that is the Word of God.
A Christian is:
- Someone who has been born again (see above)
- Someone who knows the voice of God
- Someone who obeys God (John 14:15)
- Someone who loves others (Mark 12:31)
- Someone who abides in Jesus (John 15:1-11)
- Someone who bears fruit (see above scripture reference)
There are more attributes of someone who becomes mature spiritually, and starts to display the fruit of the Spirit, but that is not what I am discussing now.
So therefore anyone who walks around professing to be a Christian (in the sense of someone who really serves God as opposed to someone who just says I am not Jewish), can be weighed against the above list to determine if they are a true Christian or a fake. Remember that we can never really tell because we are unable to see the heart. Only God can see the heart. But Jesus speaks about fruit, and anyone who lies, cheats, steals, blasphemes, curses, is prone to get drunk and does not have a love for the Bible, is almost guaranteed to not be a Christian in the Biblical sense. And the reason I say that is that when one is born again, you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, and He will constantly work to change you from the inside out. He will cause you to be uncomfortable with all these things and will keep pricking your conscience and you will know you are letting God down. Sooner or later the Spirit will raw you back to God and as a result you will change your behaviour.