What does it mean to be a Christian?

small wood crossWhat does it mean to be a Christian? The simple answer is that it means you follow Jesus. But if you are asking that question, you probably want a little more information than that.

When Jesus lived on earth, he called people to come and follow him. This meant leaving behind all other attachments and committing to his way of discipleship as the way they were going to live their lives from that point forward.

Today it is similar but different. Jesus still calls people to follow him. This following is about re-orientating your life around Jesus – how he lived, what he taught and what he did for us.

In the four gospels in the bible, we have Jesus teaching us how to live by a different set of values, teaching us how to live a different way of life. However, Jesus did not leave it with words on the pages of the bible; he backed up those words with action. He lived those words. His example was a life lived according to God’s way and not the default way of rebellion that defined the rest of humanity. He lived a life defined by love, sacrifice and faithfulness to God. But Jesus also showed the truth of his life and teaching through his death and his resurrection.

Jesus died on the cross so that humanity could be set free from the rebellion – the sin – that so easily dominates our living, rebellion from the way of life God desired for humanity. In his death, Jesus takes the burden of sin from us and places it on himself, and it dies with him. This is what saves us. We are saved from a life defined by sin. Instead, we can start again with a clean slate, if we believe that this is what Jesus has done for us. Through Jesus’ death, God graciously says that we can start again.

However, we also need a new way of life to replace the old. We need something to define us when we start again, and this new life is made available to us through Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus’ resurrection shows us that death is not the end of life anymore; that a new life defined by Jesus’ teaching can begin now. It means we can live differently; we can love God and love others first in our lives.

This is what it means to be a Christian: believing that all that Jesus did for you – his teaching, his example, his death and his resurrection – can make a difference in your life now. It means committing to the way of Jesus – a way of love, sacrifice and faithfulness to God. Being a Christian is all about following Jesus by loving God and loving others.

You may also want to check out christianity.org.uk 

If you come along to any of our gatherings, please feel free to ask us questions or request prayer for anything that is worrying you.