What is a Christian?

There are many definitions of the word “Christian.” Most of us have seen or known people who say that they are Christians but their behavior is not consistent with their profession of faith. Usually, those people are termed “hypocrites.” No one likes a hypocrite, especially when they act pompous and project an air of superiority while among their acquaintances. Nevertheless, those who study and survey the “religious” usually discover certain categories of people who call themselves Christians and those categories can be broken down in these general designations:

  1. The nominal Christian – this is a person who is a Christian in name only. He (or she) might read his Bible and he might attend church but he doesn’t take his faith seriously nor does he believe it enough to actually live it out. This individual leaves himself exposed to the accusation of being a hypocrite and frequently is.
  2. The traditional Christian – this individual probably grew up in the church and actually likes the church and its traditions but is only engaged with the traditions and practices of the church while simultaneously not focusing upon the person of Christ. Church makes her feel good or gives her purpose (and/or a place to serve) in her life but that is its only function.
  3. The cultural Christian – this person believes that if you live in a Christian nation or in a Christian influenced culture, then you are obviously a Christian. Being a Christian isn’t a matter of much importance to this person, but if put on the spot, he would probably profess to being a Christian as opposed to being a member of any other religion or being an atheist. The cultural Christian often looks more like his culture than the Christians described in the Bible and this designation might possibly accurately describe the majority of professing Christians in America and the West today.
  4. The liberally minded Christian – this individual professes to be a Christian and usually professes that Christ is the Son of God (whatever that means) and that she should follow His teachings and worship Him in some fashion as well. However, she doesn’t believe the Bible is fully God’s Word or that it should necessarily be personally obeyed, nor that Christ is unique in either His person (His divine nature) or His work of salvation on the cross.
  5. The true Christian – this individual has, in some fashion, come face-to-face with the reality that the living God is a perfect creator who made him and yet he has lived only in a manner that would be displeasing to this holy God, thus bringing the condemnation of God upon himself. Recognizing this personal predicament, he looks for a solution outside of himself and his own efforts and turns to Christ, repenting of his sins and sinful condition, truly trusting in Christ’s provision of forgiveness through his sacrifice on the cross.

What type of Christian are you? Are you serious about the claims of Christ, His lordship over your life and the truthfulness of God’s Word? Don’t be deceived by a lesser brand of Christian faith, one that is really not a true Christian faith at all. Don’t look at Christians for your faith – they will fail you. Look to Christ. He alone is the eternal creator and sustainer of the universe and came that sinners might find peace and forgiveness and a relationship with the living God. Look to the cross and give your life to Christ. You will not regret it.

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