What is a Christian?


As you progress in your Christian walk you will no doubt hear people claiming themselves to be Christians so it is important that you know exactly what a Christian is because the world has many ways of explaining things which are antithetical to the scriptures.


The Name “Christian”

When a person becomes saved they go from being an unbeliever to a believer.  The name “Christian” is given to the redeemed who follow the Lord Jesus Christ.  The name “Christian” is used three times in the New Testament.


And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.  (Acts 11:26, KJV)


Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.  (Acts 26:28, KJV)


Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.  (1 Peter 4:16, KJV)


It is the Greek word “christianos.”  It carries with it the meaning of “followers of Christ.”  It is believed that the term was first used in Syrian Antioch as far back as 44 A.D.  The word in the Greek is a proper name and noun.  Originally it was used as a term of derision or ridicule of the followers of Christ but later the term was well-accepted.  It is like the term “cowboy” which originally was a term of ridicule in the old west but eventually became an accepted term.  The name “Christian” was also turned into an adjective which describes a noun.  It is used in the following manner such as, “Christian music,” Christian books,” Christian hospital,” etc.


The Substance of a Christian

The world defines a Christian as a person who is not Jewish.  They also see a Christian as one who attends church regardless of denomination.  Some even believe they are born Christians because they live in America or some western European country.  That is called Political Christianity which has nothing to do with salvation.  These are all secular definitions of what they believe a Christian is.  Based on these misunderstandings, many, especially those who attend church every week think they are ready for Heaven and therein lies the great deception.  They are only religious sinners and the fact that they are sinners, religious or not, means they are not true Christians.  There is only one way to become a true Christian and that is when you are born again in Christ.  When you became saved, you went from being an unbeliever to a believer and that only happens when the Holy Spirit indwells the person in Christ.  The only true Christian is a born again Christian.  Outside of being born again, one is not a Christian.  That is an irrefutable biblical reality.