Let us begin with a fact; one thing that stands out in this age is that uncertainty rules unchallenged. Basically speaking, in the stringiest form of its definition, many people who profess to be Christians are really not. In fact, a larger percent of these people live normal decent lives, they attend services, they help the poor and what’s more, they are generally good as far as goodness can be thought of; but they are not Christians in the narrow sense.
To get your head around this weird but crucial concept as far as Christianity is concerned, let me draw a simple analogy. Imagine of a class where you got one of the two grades as pass or fail. The only way to pass is to obtain 100 percent; anything less is considered a fail, regardless. The exact same piece of basic rule applies in the Christian world; it’s either you are a Christian or not. I don’t want to worry anyone but I’m afraid we have to have to stop a moment and ask ourselves, who is a Christian?
Who is a Christian?
Just look at the environment right beside us. It is littered with many contrasting opinions of who a Christian is. How are we to know what really entails Christianity? There is a lot of religiosity but little Christianity in the world around us. What I love to get people know is that there can never be a sufficient answer in anyone’s opinion, including my opinion in this article. The satisfying answer solely lies in the Bible; the object at the center of Christianity’s most important facts. To this end, I want us to examine the book of Acts 11:26, “…the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”
Consider this, despite the strong opposition they faced from the Jewish leaders, the disciples encountered people on almost a daily basis; preaching to them, healing them and helping them in their needs. Consequently, these people were compelled by the disciple’s acts and realized that they acted “just like” Christ. In other words, they were Christ-like or Christ followers. The name Christian was ultimately coined.
I’d say, a Christian is a person who has willingly accepted and received by faith the gift of God which is salvation to all people through Jesus Christ. That is to say, it is not something one can be forced upon. For he that cometh to God must believe that he is (Hebrews 11:6). Many people including you and I may have a subconscious assumption that being in a Christian family, going to church, living in decency, living a Christian-like family or helping the poor can make you a Christian. If we take the words of 1st Samuel 15:22 seriously- “obedience is better than sacrifice”- then we would know that Christianity goes beyond all our physical attempts to please God. It is a commitment with Jesus Christ that does not entirely cling on emotional or intellectual abilities. The drawing line here is the will, one that makes someone realize themselves as sinners and seek for help. It does not count the rank, literacy, health or wealth; in simple terms, no one gains an upper hand in salvation. Christ belongs to all people and his gospel holds everyone accountable.
It’s unfortunate how we tend to boast about our “religion” or our deeds and glorify the externals of our religion while deep inside in our conscience we are not at peace with God. Our nature has always been to hide from the light. Ours should be the boasting of the cross just as Paul says in Galatians 6:14: “May I never boast except in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Within you there might be a reminder every single moment that you are a sinner. The cross of Christ acts a stumbling block to all of us; reminding us of our hypocrisy, hate, immorality, and so forth. The main concern is not that they are beyond our control. It is rather whether we have taken heed of it and sought for a help from the same Cross or we are always in the business of masking our unseen sins every time we open our eyes.
Has there been a moment in your life where you recognized yourself as a helpless sinner? Have you in your life let Christ take charge of you, by faith? If yes, has there been a change in your habits and attitudes towards God and man? In the narrow sense, ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?
By Omerio Lameck