To be a true Christian
|The Resurrected Christ, by Wilson J. Ong. Wilson was Steve's roomate in college and best man at our wedding. You can find more of his artwork here.|
Back in New Testament times, the term “Christian” was used in derision to describe the followers of Jesus Christ. It was an insult, a slight. As time progressed, however, the term became more positive. Eventually, over centuries of time, to be called a true Christian was regarded as a term of commendation and praise.
We seem to have come full circle.
Some now condemn us and describe us as intolerant, naïve, or rigid. I’d like to clarify what it means to me to be a true Christian.
True Christians understand that there is a God who rules supreme. He has all power, knowledge, and a perfection of every attribute. He is the great Creator and Lawgiver. He loves us with a perfect love. He knows us individually. He has given us life, a world to live on, air to breathe, food to eat, talents and abilities. Every good gift comes from God.
True Christians follow the pattern Christ set when addressing God. Of all the titles that could accurately be used to describe God, Christ taught us that the preferred title is simply “Our Father which art in heaven.” We call upon Him and regard Him as our Father.
True Christians believe that we are accountable to Him, every one of us, whether we believe in Him or not. We came from Him, we will return to Him, and we will report to Him of our life and how we chose to live it. This report will be a loving, joyful experience for those who have done their best to obey God.
True Christians believe that God gives laws to man for His own divine purpose. Some of us believe that it is merely to bring praise to Him. Others believe that if we keep His laws and commandments, we will become more like Him. All of us believe that we must obey Him as completely and best as we can.
True Christians believe that we are endowed with our Creator with agency, the right to choose how we will think and behave. We may not all enjoy liberty – the right to choose the circumstances of our life – but every one of us has the right to choose how we will react to those circumstances. That is an unalienable right from God.
Therefore, true Christians believe that God will not trump that right. He allows us to choose to obey Him or not. When we choose to follow His commandments, He blesses us. When we choose not to follow or keep his commandments, we receive the consequences.
True Christians believe that God sets the moral code for man. Just as we cannot vote to overrule the laws of gravity, we cannot vote away God’s moral code. We may try, but it is in vain. The consequences of breaking His laws will still be in effect.
True Christians believe that God reserves the right to Himself as to when we enter and depart this life. That is why the two greatest sins – murder and sexual sin – are the most wicked to God. These sins will bring the greatest consequences.
True Christians believe that we are all God’s children and are entitled to be loved, cared for, taught, encouraged, and respected. In the case of those who choose to disobey God’s law we follow the practice to love the sinner, hate the sin. This can be a challenge for some true Christians, but it is our duty.
And finally, true Christians believe that Christ has enough power, grace and mercy to heal all of us. He has power to cleanse us of sin, change our hearts, turn our weaknesses into strengths, remove bad habits and change them for good. He is our great exemplar, Redeemer, and Savior. We love and worship Him.
There is more to being a true Christian – we study His word and apply it in our lives, we seek to have strong and loving marriages and families, we seek opportunities to serve others – but know this. We are honored and pleased to be called true Christians.