Ever been mistaken for someone else? That awkward moment when you’re waved down in the street, only to see a look of embarrassment when they realise you’re not who they thought. Now, imagine the same happening on a spiritual level. The label of ‘Christian’ on you, but does it really fit the bill? That’s what we’re unpacking today, diving into what it truly means to be a Christian. Brace yourself; we’re about to confront some deep-seated beliefs and assumptions.
Cuppa in hand, let’s dive straight into John 3:1-21. Now, this is a cracker of a passage. It’s like a spiritual ‘who’s who’ of what makes a Christian. In it, Jesus gives a stern yet loving reality check to Nicodemus, a religious leader of his time. Nicodemus thought he had it all sorted because he knew the Law inside and out, but Jesus rocked his world with a new perspective.
Only three times does the term “Christian” pop up in the New Testament. It’s a bit like the Loch Ness Monster, often spoken about, rarely seen! Originally, it was used to describe followers of Christ in Antioch. They didn’t earn this title through good works or religious rituals, but because their lives mirrored Jesus’. Here’s a funny thought – if being a Christian were a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying good works are pointless. But the Bible makes it clear that good works alone don’t cut the mustard with God. You could be as saintly as Mother Teresa, but without a changed heart, it’s like spraying perfume on a dustbin – smells nice on the surface, but it doesn’t take away the rubbish inside. We need to repent, to make a U-turn, and give our lives to Christ.
Remember the prodigal son? He returned to his father not because he’d earned his way back, but because he realised his mistakes and repented. His father didn’t just forgive him; he threw a massive party! That’s the love of our heavenly Father, ready to welcome us with open arms when we repent and turn to Him.
Next, we need to be saved. Imagine you’re out at sea, the water’s choppy, and you’re clinging onto a lifebuoy. You can’t save yourself; you need a rescuer. Jesus is our spiritual lifeguard, ready to pull us out of the murky waters of sin and into the safety of His love. We just need to reach out and grasp His hand.
But to be saved, we must first believe. Picture this: You’re given a beautifully wrapped gift, but unless you believe it’s truly for you and unwrap it, it’s just a pretty box. The same goes for salvation. God’s gift is there for the taking, but we need to believe and receive.
So, what sets true Christian believers apart? Simply put, it’s love for others and obedience to God’s Word. It’s like two sides of a coin, both different but part of the same thing. Without love, our faith is like a clanging cymbal, loud but empty. And without obedience, our faith is like a car without fuel, it looks good but won’t get us anywhere.
In a world where ‘Christian’ is often just a box to tick on a form, we need to ask ourselves, are we just wearing the label, or are we living the life? Remember, being a Christian isn’t just about going to church any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. It’s about having a transformed heart, a personal relationship with God, and letting His love overflow in our lives.
So, how about it? Are you ready to look beyond the label and step into the real deal? Being a Christian is more than just a title; it’s a life-changing, soul-saving, love-spreading journey. And let me tell you, there’s no better adventure than that!