There is a world called “Christianity” out there. Many think themselves Christians and based their identity on some church affiliation, or by the performing of specific rituals, or by subscribing to certain beliefs.
But, what does it mean to be a Christian? How can we know we are truly Christians? Is there a way to know for sure?
First, a Christian is a follower of Christ. Christ is revealed in the Bible, the book that Christians believe was written by the hand of God. Second, the Bible tells us everything we need to know about Christ: His work and purpose for His coming into this world. Last: Every Christian has a responsibility to know the Bible, because if they don’t know what the Bible says about Christ, how can they be Christians?
The name Christian was given to the believers in Antioch (Acts 11:26) because they were clearly preaching Christ, and living as followers of Christ. They were people who knew the Scriptures and witnessed all the events in the life of Christ. They believed He was the promised Messiah that the Old Testament Scriptures predicted would come to deliver His people from sin and death.
These first followers of Christ had a working knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures. Even the women who followed Jesus knew and believed what all the Scriptures said about Him. Mary, the mother of Jesus, testifies in Luke 2 of her knowledge of the Scriptures. She considered Jesus “her Saviour” and rejoiced in Him giving testimony of the fulfillment of the Scriptures. Likewise, the apostles believed Jesus because they saw the fulfillment of all the prophecies they have previously read in the Scriptures of Truth.
The only ones who didn’t believe or pay much attention to the Scriptures were the religious authorities who had created a new “law” and didn’t recognized Christ and rejected the Messiah. They called themselves “the people of God” but by their ignorance, they demonstrated not to be part of the flock of Christ.
It is the same today. There are many who identify themselves as Christians but couldn’t care less about the Scriptures. They have many excuses for not knowing the truth, yet they think God is pleased with their ignorance.
Many follow a specific church and believe the teachings of that church even without questioning if what the church teaches is true or it’s in line with the Scriptures. They follow the doctrines of the leaders of that church.
Others believe that the Scriptures are difficult to interpret and are inclined to be guided by their feelings without even making an effort to study and find the truth in the Bible. They believe in their hearts and think that “all you need is love”.
Many more study theology believing that some men have been privileged to teach the Scriptures to the people because the people can’t do it on their own. They follow the ideas of men and seem to have some understanding but most of the time, they don’t study the Scriptures to check if the theologians’ beliefs are true.
So, what defines a true Christian? First, he studies and knows the Bible. God promised His people that the Holy Spirit will guide them unto the truth. Second, he compares the Scripture with the Scripture. And last, he believes the Scriptures. He believes what God says in His Word, because as the apostles, he sees the evidence of the truth in the work of Christ.
We have to make sure that we are true Christians, because when Christ comes, He will separate those who are truly His people from the impostors and hypocrites. That’s why He said, “not all who say to me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of God”.