What is a Christian?
It may be said that this question is so commonplace that it is foolish. Who does not know what a Christian is? But wait a moment, and let us reflect a bit seriously and soberly before we pass that kind of judgment, about so important a matter. This is not a foolish question, but an important question, a question which involves, by far, too much to put it aside with a mere gesture or a shrug of the shoulder.
Suppose we were to ask the general run-of-the-mill people, as we meet them day by day, “What is a Christian?” Would they really know? Would we get the right and proper answer? I think not. Among the answers we would receive would be “a Christian is one who is honest, lives a clean moral life, plays the part of a good neighbor, obeys the Golden Rule, is baptized, has joined a church, attends the services of the church, takes communion, and gives financial support to the cause of Christ.” The tragedy of the situation is that even a majority of those who profess Christianity are self-deceived; they think they are Christians because they have joined a church and are trying to be good and seeking to do good. These things are good and right in their place, but they do not make a person a Christian.
Who is a Christian? A Christian is one who has been born again by the action of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of the Lord. “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” John 3:5.
A Christian is one who has the witness of the Holy Spirit that he is a child of God: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” Romans 8:16.
A Christian is a new creation in Christ Jesus: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” II Corinthians 5:17.
A Christian is one who has passed out of death over into life, and who is a partaker of the Divine nature (See John 5:24; I John 3:14; II Peter 1:4).
A Christian is one in whom Christ dwells: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27.
A Christian is a person who, because of what he is in Christ and has received from God in the new birth, manifests a new disposition, and a new objective in life. He desires the things of God and delights in them, and he desires to honor and glorify Christ by conduct and testimony. He is also possessed of a love for souls and is interested in the salvation of the lost. These are some of the marks of a Christian.
Let me ask you frankly and candidly: Are you a real Christian? Has the Holy Spirit ever wrought a work in your heart and life? Do you know that you are born-again? Do you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ from the heart? Remember God’s Word says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9