What is a Christian?

If you ask, “What is a Christian?” odds are you will get a different answer depending on who you ask.

To some, it’s a person whose beliefs and morals are based on the teachings of Jesus, the son of god. Others will say, it’s a deep and meaningful relationship with God, bought through Jesus Christ. And still again, people will say it is a belief that spreads; love, hatred, peace, judgment, healing, etc.

I grew up in a relatively christian household. My parents both believed in god and I learned about him through them and through churches we went to over the years.

However… My brother is Agnostic/Atheist and doesn’t follow the beliefs of my family, which can make things hard when you sincerely want to know something… but in this age you have to be ‘politically correct’.

Now, this has led me down some very complicated thought processes and has caused me to ask some questions…

Oh who am I kidding, lots of questions…

Of course I’m not going to fill this article with all of the questions I have concerning being a christian.

Let me make a disclaimer… I am not an expert in any form of the word.

I have recently begun truly reading the bible and trying to lead a good christian life, so that I can say with confidence “Yes I am a christian, I am a follower of christ.”

Which leads me to my first question…

What does the Ideal christian look like to God?

With so many people having too many answers, it’s hard to say on earth what being an ‘ideal christian’ looks like. Some people think that a christian is someone who goes to church and prays at family gatherings. While others think it’s someone who has memorized every verse in the bible, from genesis to revelation.

There are christians who say that if you are not marching down the street, proclaiming God’s word to the masses and warning them of his wrath, that you are not a true christian…

On the opposite end, there are the ones that say people like this are way too extreme and need to lighten up.

So with all this division, it’s hard to say what a true christian looks like.

The problem with these answers is… they’re all from the viewpoints of people. Who in their very nature are prone to conflict, debate, and argue. So the first thing that people need to do is understand that it doesn’t matter what people think. What matters is what God sees.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” – Matthew 6:1-4

In this passage, Jesus is talking about the harm of doing good acts, just to be seen doing good acts. However, it can be applied to ease our confusion.

There is also a verse that many christians quote.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good, and acceptable, and perfect.”

— Romans 12:2

You can’t be basing your faith and relationship with God on what other humans think. You need to base it off of what God thinks. Because at the end of it all, he’s the only opinion that truly counts.

So what does God think an ideal christian looks like?

To know this, we have to go into the bible and read it. I try to read the bible or look up verses in it, when I have really hard questions.

The first thing we have to remember is that Not everyone who says they believe in god and Jesus, is actually a follower of Jesus.

Matthew 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

This verse can be intimidating if you don’t understand it. And to be honest, I don’t fully understand it. But one thing that I understand, is that a real christian “…does the will of the father” these are words from Jesus Christ himself. Who in fact is God in human form.

Of course then you must ask “what is the will of God? And how do I know that I’m doing it?”

This is where people are divided. The people who say that the will of God is to “preach and walk the streets, and give up everything that accuses temptations and never sin” or “To live for god means to correct everyone else” then there are those who say “The will of god is repentance and as long as you say sorry for your sins, you’re all good. Or the will of God is for us to worship him.

Each having their own verses in the bible to defend this

For the “walk the streets” christians, we’ll call them group A. we have verses like:

“I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon them.” – Ezekiel 25:17

This verse appears to approve of the condemnation and necessary action against sinners.

For the “Say your sorry” christians, We’ll call them group B. We have:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.- 1 john 1-9

So, which group is right? A or B?

My best friend once told me, “Christianity is not black and white.” and in a way she is right. Everyone’s personality and gifts are different. They come from different backgrounds and live different lives.

All these different people with varying understandings become very confusing.

So the question that needs to be asked is “what does God want Christianity to be?”

Because as I said before that’s what matters.

So what does the bible say about this?

There are many things that God tells us to be, as “christians” or followers of christ. The first thing God says about being the “Idea christian” is

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31

The first and foremost command Jesus Christ himself gave ALL Christians, is to Love God and then Love your neighbor. And later on in scripture it shows us what love looks like.

In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 it says: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

So, in this context, Christian ‌should be; Patient, Kind, Humble, Honorable, Forgiving, and Selfless and not be afraid to stand up for the truth.

Is that it? Just love people? This is what Group B thinks.

Group B, the “say I’m Sorry” Christians would say. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Go to church and pray on sunday.

But this is only part of it. The first part.

Jesus commanded all christians to love, that’s true. But the second thing that makes up a good christian is Discipline…

Yep, the one word we really hate, Discipline.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

While it’s good to love others, if we constantly sin and rely on prayer for forgiveness, then we are taking advantage of God and the gift of life through Jesus Christ.

While we are alive sin is going to be a constant struggle, and yes, we will fall once in a while. But if you find yourself constantly and even willingly doing what you know is wrong and you say that “it’s Ok because Jesus died so I can go to heaven”

That is wrong.

Paul says something about this in Romans chapter 6 verses 2-3 :

 “So, shall we then continue in sin that grace may abound? Absolutely not! For how can we who have died to sin, continue to live in it?”

From this verse we understand that while to be human is to sin, we should not want to continue in it. Our attitude towards sin, and darkness should be changed, from the moment we accept Jesus.

So in conclusion a christian should love and do their best not to sin. Of course we must also understand that it is Christ who makes us into Christians. We cannot do this on our own, we must be born again into this wonderful new life.

As christians we are called to be a light and to love our God and our neighbor as ourselves.

So I will leave you with a question…

Have you done this..?