I used the past two blogs as an overview of what the church is. Many more words can be spent in discussing the church, but I am going to move on and use words to put a frame around the concept of “being a Christian.” I will address, primarily: What makes someone a Christian? And, what does it mean to be a Christian?
I would like to say, in connection to the last two blogs, that it can generally be assumed that if someone has a wrong definition of a church then there will be a wrong definition of a Christian. The inverse is true as well: if we have a wrong definition of a Christian we will have a wrong definition of the church.
So what makes someone a Christian?
The short answer is Christ. Christ makes someone a Christian. “Can we end this blog now? I have a game to get back to.” No. No we can’t. Why? Because I have a few hundred words to spend and I want to spend them all in one place. Just kidding. The reason is because that still doesn’t describe fully what a Christian is. The next question to ask would be, “Which Christ?”
If Christ makes someone a Christian, than who is Christ and what does He say about Christians? This second question is easy to answer and so I will answer it. Christ says that someone is a Christian (a follower of Christ) if:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:25-33 ESV)
Someone cannot be a disciple of Christ, a follower of Christ, a Christian, if they do not obey this passage. Someone is a Christian if they match up to this standard. Christians don’t become Christians because they say they are Christian. We don’t simply self-identify as Christians. No, someone is a Christian if they hear the voice of Christ and obey. But they must hear Christ’s voice in this passage. They truly have the heart of Christ and desire to follow Christ is they desire to obey the voice of Christ in this passage.
A Christian is defined for us here. Obedience to this passage is vital to the Christian life. We must strive to obey this passage. And that obedience only comes by the Spirit of God. Which is why a Christian is a Christian because God declares it. God decides it. It is not dependent upon any act of man. It is solely upon the act and will of God. It is His grace which makes someone a Christian and causes them to obey this passage.
But that will be my next post, how God is the sole actor in changing the life of a man. For now, it is sufficient to say that what makes someone a Christian is the power of Christ, which causes within them obedience to the words of Christ, the word of God, and that word tells them to love Christ, to desire Him above and over all things. To renounce all things and want Him alone.
So Christian who’s heart is growing cold, repent and turn back to Christ and desire Him over all things. So non-believer who hates Christ, repent and turn to Christ, and desire Him over and above all else. Count the cost of following Him. It will cost you everything.
Will you follow Christ? This is the difference between those who call themselves Christians and those whom God makes Christians. A fake Christian can look good and do good and act good, but inside they hate Christ and love everything else over Christ.
A true Christian sees all things as nothing compared to Christ.
This sets the framework for a Christian. This is the frame that holds the picture of a Christian. Someone who renounces all things and wants Christ above all.