bits from bob....

Who Is A Christian?

by Robert J. Young
©, 2001, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

What Makes a Person a Christian?

In today's world there is a variety of opinion as to what makes a Christian. The important question is, "What does God say?"

  • 1. I recently heard it said of a youth meeting which occurs before school begins: "Two more people were saved." I do know for sure what happened, but I wonder if there were facilities for baptism, because God says, "baptism doth now save us" (1 Pet. 3:21). The clear connection between baptism and salvation is apparent in the New Testament command to be baptized (Acts 2:38; 10:48).

  • 2. I recently heard it said in an adult Bible class, "We are Christians because we live the Christian life." There may have been more in view than is apparent in that statement, but I wonder if we have forgotten that everyone is a Christian who follows Christ in obedience (Heb. 5:8-9) and that the basis of our being Christians is Christ's sacrifice, and not of our own doing. Because everyone sins (Rom. 3:23), both before and after baptism, I am glad that my life is not the measurement of whether I am a Christian. Aren't you?

  • 3. I once saw an individual leave the assembly immediately after the Lord's Supper had been served. Despite all of our efforts to make sure no "magic" inheres in the Supper, I wonder if we have failed to see that mere participation in the Supper does not make one a Christian. The Bible says, "The disciples were called Christians...." (Acts 11:26). Isn't the crucial question, "Am I a disciple?"

  • 4. I recently read in the newspaper that the way others know we are Christians is by the way neighbors visit one another. I fear that if the standard is as simple as one's life and lifestyle, one's friendliness and neighborliness, we have made almost everyone a Christian on the basis of what they do and how they act. While Christians should display attitudes that reflect Christ, non-Christians may do likewise. Also, some Christians do not display attitudes (and actions) that reflect Christ, but are nonetheless Christians, because they belong to Christ.

    The great mistake of Calvinism is to leave the entire salvation process to God with no initiative or contribution from man (unconditional election). The great mistake of Arminianism (Jacob Arminius was an opponent of Calvin) is to eliminate God from the salvation process, measuring Christianity solely by man's activity. May God help us to find a balance--both in being saved, and in keeping saved.

    "For by grace are ye saved, through faith, not of works, lest any man should boast, but we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works...." (Eph. 2:8-10)

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    Last updated December 2, 2001.