What is a Christian?
by Pastor Dan Delzell
So what exactly is a Christian? Is it a person who believes certain things? Or maybe a person who does certain things? Or is it perhaps a person who experiences certain things? Yes. Bingo. That is correct….on all counts. All three of those characteristics describe what it means to be a Christian.
You cannot be a Christian without believing in Jesus as your Savior. Secondly, you are not a Christian unless you experience “streams of living water” flowing within you. That is the presence of God inside your body and soul. Without that experience, you are not born again no matter how much window dressing there may be in your outer life of religion and morality. Finally, you are not a Christian if you are not following Jesus. That is the “doing” part.
Your entrance into Christianity begins with belief. At that moment, you also experience the new birth. The streams of living water which enter you at conversion immediately begin to propel you in the direction of serving God, loving God, and loving others.
Jesus said, “If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:37,38) That is the wellspring of God….and it flows within every Christian….within each person who has been converted, that is, born again.
Your daily need from the moment you are converted is to “stay in the flow.” It’s not just a matter of “staying in the know.” It’s not just about head knowledge, even though head knowledge and true doctrine are critical. From the very beginning of your new life in Christ, it becomes a matter of staying in the flow of God’s love and power as you “walk by the Spirit” and “not by the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)
That is to say, your life is now empowered and directed by the Holy Spirit. The main thing that will get in the way of this new life is “self.” Your agenda….your natural impulses….your sin….your personal ambition or pride….your greed or lust or worry….your perceived “right” to do it your way. Those are the things which will block the flow of God’s work in our lives. So….it is necessary for us to stay in the Word….and prayer….and Christian fellowship….and obedience….if we are going to stay in the flow of God’s power and love.
The “know” of Christianity is what you believe. The message in the Bible is clear and understandable. The “flow” of Christianity is what you experience. This actually makes you a new creation and moves you in a godly direction. The “do” of Christianity is the result of knowing the greatest “doer” of all time. Jesus said, “Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.” (John 14:12) That’s just what happens when you become a Christian.
Christianity isn’t just believing. It isn’t just experiencing. And it isn’t just doing. It is all three….everyday….for the rest of your life. At the end of your life on earth, you are welcomed into heaven….not because of anything you have done to “earn” it….but rather, your entrance into heaven is entirely the result of Jesus dying for your sins on the cross. Period. His work gets you in….and through faith in Him, God saved you….and all you did was to “ride the wave” which the Lord provided in your life.
Are you in the flow of the Holy Spirit? Or are you still “dead in your sins” and unconverted? Are you a Christian? If so, you have believed some things about God….you are doing things as a result of your conversion which flow out of your love for God and others….and you are experiencing the daily influence of the Holy Spirit who now resides inside your body, which has become the “temple of God” and the place where He dwells on earth.
A Christian believes things. A Christian experiences things. A Christian does things. Believing, experiencing, and doing are all part of what it means to be a Christian. Are you one?
If not, then consider this: “Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2) “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” (Acts 3:19) “Repent and believe the good news.” (Mark 1:15) “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31)
Just as there was only one door to enter Noah’s ark, there is only one way to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Without Jesus, you can never believe, experience, or do anything that will connect you to your Creator and to the one true God. He is your only hope. He is your only ticket. He is your only Savior.
Will you repent of your sin and receive Him into your life today through faith? Will you trust Him with your earthly life, as well as with your eternal well-being? He is trustworthy. He is faithful. He is “the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) What a Savior! What a friend! What an opportunity you have right now!
“Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelation 22:17)