What is a Christian?
Here is a simple explanation that’s as easy as ABC…
A. for Admit
Firstly, a Christian admits their sinfulness in rejecting God’s right, as their Creator, to rule their lives; to set their agenda according to his standards. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve actively rejected him, or passively ignored God. The result is the same.
You can ruin a marriage relationship by active rejection, e.g. by abuse, whether physical or verbal. But you can ruin it just as effectively, by ignoring your wife, by never talking to her, never thanking her, never considering her desires, except perhaps on the rare occasions you really want something back from her.
Too many people treat God like this. We all need to be honest and own up to this with God. After all, he knows anyway.
1 John 1:8-9 says:
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we admit our sins, He [i.e. God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
B. for Believe
Secondly, a Christian believes that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross for their forgiveness and rose again, defeating sin and death, and securing the way to eternal life. (For more information on the content of what Christians believe, go to Why there are only two ways to live!)
John 3:16 says:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Here the Bible means ‘believe’ in the sense of ‘trust’ or ‘dependence’, not just a ‘head’ knowledge of facts. Everyone believes they know who the Prime Minister is, but not everyone believes in the Prime Minister. They may not trust his or her policies, their party or giving him or her their vote.
But when you trust in a leader – by signing up, as it were, to follow and support him – then that’s similar to what the Bible means by faith or belief in Jesus. It is all about depending on Jesus, and it leads to action. Therefore…
C. for Commit
Finally, a Christian commits themselves to following Jesus as Lord of their life, for the rest of their days. To put it into modern terms, it’s a commitment to letting Jesus be the Captain Coach. That is, the one who gives you your game plan, who sets the direction, and calls the shots in your life. It’s making Jesus the boss!
That means you have to make a decision to become a Christian, to commit your life to Christ (if you haven’t already).
It’s a bit like marriage… You can approve of the ideal of marriage; you can have friends who are married; you might even have gone to church to see people get married; maybe you’ve even been the best man. But none of that makes you married. You actually have to make the commitment yourself. In the case of marriage, you have to say ‘I will’ and make the vows. And you can’t be half married – If someone asked me I if I was married and I said, “Well I guess so, maybe half and half,” my wife would deck me! And rightly so!
It’s the same with being a Christian. You can approve of God and Jesus and Christianity; you can have friends or family members who are Christians; you can go to church. But none of that makes you a Christian. Instead, you need to make a commitment. For there is no middle ground.
In Matthew 12:30 Jesus said:
“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”
Summary – A.B.C.
To summarise then, to become a Christian, you must ‘A.B.C.’ – to admit, believe and commit. That is, you must make a decision to follow Christ as Lord and Saviour. To do that, of course, you can just say a simple prayer expressing the sort of things I’ve written about. The exact words don’t matter, but you could say something like this to God:
I admit I have ignored you, and disobeyed your standards of right and wrong.
I now believe that your Son, Jesus, died on the cross for my forgiveness, and rose again to bring me eternal life.
From this day forward, I commit to following Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.
Thanks you for all you have done for me.
Please change me and help me to live in a way that honours you.
I pray this, in Jesus’ name.
In John 5:24, Jesus made this promise:
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”
So if you prayed a prayer like that, let me reassure you, God heard your prayer, and you are forgiven. You have become a Christian.
Where does Church fit in?
If you have decided to become a Christian, can I urge you to contact someone at a local church. Christianity is not a solo activity. A good local church will give you lots of help and encouragement in growing as a Christian and in understanding the Bible.
See if you can find one that:
– focuses on Jesus, as truly God and man, and on his death on the cross
– believes the whole Bible as God’s authoritative Word, and
– does their best to love one another, and to reach out to others.
Of course, going to church does not make you a Christian. A honey bee without its hive doesn’t stop being a bee. But the bee won’t survive very long in a healthy or productive way without its hive. In the same way, it is hard to stay healthy (spiritually speaking) as a Christian without going to and participating at a good church regularly.
If you live near Kurrajong, in the Hawkesbury region of Sydney, NSW, Australia, then please visit our church.
If you’d like to contact someone about what you’ve read here, please send a message through our contact page.
If you need more information on what Christians believe, or if you have some questions you’d like answered, then we suggest the website Christianity.net.au.
Kurrajong & North Richmond Anglican Church
8am, 10am & 6pm
Monday and Friday mornings
1005 Grose Vale Road, Kurrajong