An extensive survey conducted by Pew Research Center, and reported in its “2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study”, shows that 71% or approximately 173 million Americans identify themselves as Christians. That number has declined over the years but is still the largest percentage, by a wide margin, of those who identify with an organized religion or have have no religious affiliation at all.
Worldwide, while the percentage of those, throughout the world who identify themselves as Christian, continues to decline, a comprehensive demographic study of more than 230 countries and territories conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life “Global Religious Landscape”, released in 2012 estimated that 31.5% of the world’s population ( 2.2 billion people) was Christian.
Next question; “Why do you say you’re a Christian?”. Here are some answers I bet you’ve heard over the years;
- I go the church every Sunday
- I read my bible everyday
- I’m a good person
- I don’t lie, cheat, steal, or curse
- I give to those less fortunate than me
All of these things are good things but do they, and other good stuff, make you a Christian?
The bible tells us that we can’t be made acceptable to God by good works.
Titus 3:5 (NKJV) not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit
The word, Christian, comes from the Greek word, christianos, which is derived from the word,christos or Christ, which means "anointed one." A Christian, then, is someone who is a follower of Christ. Pretty simple right? But it’s much more than that.
The first time that we are introduced to the word Christian is in the book of Acts.
Acts 11:25-26 (HCSB)25 Then he went to Tarsus to search for Saul,26 and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught large numbers. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.
It appears only two more times in the Bible.
Acts 26:28 (HCSB)28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Are you going to persuade me to become a Christian so easily?”
1 Peter 4:16 (HCSB)16 But if ⌊anyone suffers⌋ as a “Christian,” he should not be ashamed but should glorify God in ⌊having⌋ that name.
A Christian is someone who has been born again by God.
John 3:3,7 (NKJV) Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
1 Peter 1:23 (NKJV) having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
A Christian puts their faith and trust in Jesus Christ and His finished work.
John 3:16 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 6:47 (NKJV) Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.
Acts 16:30-31 (NKJV)30 And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
31 So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."
1 Corinthians 15:3 (NKJV) For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
Colossians 2:11-12 (NKJV)11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
Acts 10:39-41 (NKJV)39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly,41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
Now that you know what and who is a Christian I’ll ask the question again “Are you a Christian”? If the answer is yes then you shouldn’t be afraid to examine yourself. In fact the Bible tell us to do just that.
2 Corinthians 13:5 (NKJV)5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you are disqualified.
1 Corinthians 11:28, 31 (NKJV)28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
2 Peter 1:10-11 (NKJV)10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Ask yourself these questions
(from the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry article “What Kind of a Christian are You?”)
- Do you believe the essentials of the Christian faith: Trinity, Jesus is God in flesh, salvation by grace through faith, Jesus rose from the dead physically?
- Do you confess that you are a sinner before a holy God? (Rom. 3:23)
- Do you confess that you cannot please God through your own efforts? (Isa. 64:6)
- Do you acknowledge that Jesus is the only way to salvation? (John 14:6, Acts 4:7-12)
- Do you acknowledge that there is only one God in all the universe? (Isaiah 43:10, 44:6, 8)
- Do you seek to do the will of the Lord? (Matt. 7:21)
- Do you know that God loves you and desires your relationship with Jesus? (1 Cor. 1:9)
- Do you acknowledge that sin causes a separation between you and God? (Isaiah 59:2)
- Do you approve of social agendas in the church? (Rom. 12:12)
- Do you believe that morals are relative? (Exodus 20:1-17)
- Do you suspect that reincarnation might be true? (Heb. 9:26)
- Do you casually look at the Bible as a guide book and not the rule of truth and faith? (2 Tim. 3:16)
- Do you believe that feelings are as valid as Scripture to find truth? (Jer. 17:9)
- Do you believe that those who reject Christ will go to Hell forever? (Matt. 25:46)
- Do you pray only when something is wrong in your life? (Phil. 4:6)
- Do you go to church only on special occasions? (Heb. 10:25)
- Do you use the Lord's name in vain? (Exodus 20:7)
- Do you regularly watch things on TV and in the movies that you shouldn't? (Phil. 4:8)
- Are we basically good in nature or bad? (Eph. 2:3, Psalm 51)
- Is the devil a real being? (Rev. 20:1)
- Is dust collecting on your Bible?
Does being a Christian mean that you don’t sin?
Of course not.
1 John 1:8 (NKJV) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
But if and when a Christian does sin;
1 John 1:9 (NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Only you and God know know the answer. He and you know if you have truly trusted Jesus and are seeking to follow Him.
Are you trusting Christ alone for your salvation, and are you seeking to follow Him as the Lord of your life? If not make sure today by committing your life to Christ today and become a true Christian. The Bible says;
Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV)9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
If you're ready... pray;
“God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!”
If you have just prayed this prayer, in all sincerity, call, text, email, Tweet, change your Facebook status and tell somebody, leave me a comment here or send me an email me Here. Then find a bible believing church and start to fellowship with other believers. Welcome to the family of God…. Christian.