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What is a Christian?
|Created by Gerard de Vos|
What is the definition of a Christian? Is it a person born in Western society which was built on the principles of the Word of God, long ago? Is it someone who belongs to a church? Is it someone whose parents belonged to a church? Is it someone who is not a Buddhist, Hindu or of the Islamic faith?
Not one of the above. The real Christian is someone who has a relationship with Jesus Christ. The end goal of his life is to be united to his Bridegroom, Jesus. God gave us marriage as an example of what a relationship is. It is not a life with somebody else built on rules and regulations. It is about love, compassion, sharing one’s dreams and ambitions, carrying each others burdens in times of stress, enjoying each other’s company, chatting and discussing events that happen during life. Even intercourse has a message for us: just as a man desires to be in a woman, so God desires to be in us through the Holy Spirit.
It is imperative to distinguish between religion and a relationship. The true Christian does not have a religion, but a relationship-based faith. This is what distinguishes Christianity from all the other religions in the world. No amount of ceremonies, forced prayer meetings, or sacrifices can interest God. He is interested in a new heart. A heart that throbs with love for His Son. Just like in a marriage.
A person who belongs to a church, with no real experience of the love of Jesus, and who is not filled with the Holy Spirit, is like a person who is watching somebody of the opposite gender. He has attracted her attention, but it stops there. If he does not contact her, it is a dead end street. No marriage will result from that. It is the same for us: we need the initial transforming of the heart (which we call salvation, the new heart that God talked about in Jeremiah 31:31). Then the love relationship must be cultivated. This depends on the individual. We are all different and it would be unfair to give rules. This is where the importance of the Holy Spirit comes in. God treats us as individuals. (Have you ever wondered how God can put so much genetic variation in man that of the 6 billion people on earth, there is not one with identical finger prints? Even identical twins are not completely identical in thoughts, ideas and habits.) The Holy Spirit is eager to help and guide us, and is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. He never slumbers nor sleeps.
Christians are people of the Way (Acts 9:2). Who is the Way, except Jesus (John 14:6)? Jesus is our future Bridegroom. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11:2b - ‘I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Him.’ Marriage is about intimacy, knowing and loving a person. With Jesus it is the same. The Holy Spirit in us teaches us about Him in the Word of God. Without the Word it would be hard to learn about Jesus. We have all read autobiographies or biographies, and learnt a lot about a person or persons. Why would it be different in Jesus’ case? The Bible is a biography, teaching us about the wonderful Bridegroom, Jesus. A Christian with an unused Bible has to ask the Holy Spirit what is wrong, why doesn’t he love the Word? The Bible is our only source of information about Jesus, and we need the love of the Word, otherwise we will die like children without food (1 Peter 2:2).
Our quest was to give a definition of a Christian. We see that it is not somebody who belongs to a church, but somebody who belongs to Jesus and who is indwelled by the Spirit. It is somebody who is being taught in God’s university, the church, through the Word, about his/her future life as part of the bride of the wonderful Bridegroom.