Wednesday, February 15, 2012
What's in a Name?
What does the name "Christian" mean to you? Some people say "I'm a Christian", but it's simply based on they are not catholic, jewish, muslim, mormon, or buddhist, so they must be a "Christian". However, Christian is not a race or it's own religion, it's a term first used in the bible in the New Testament to describe people of "The Way" or followers of Jesus Christ. First, they were called people of "the way" and eventually the term "christian" was coined, basically meaning a follower of Christ.
So, you are not a "Christian" unless you are literally a "follower of Jesus Christ" meaning it requires you to do something, not just wear a name. It means people responsed to the gospel/good news of Jesus Christ, and accepted Him as their Savior, was obedient to Him, was baptized, and begin following Him. That's the name Christian.
I have met people my whole life who claim the name "Christian" yet they do not claim any faith in God, some simply believe in God, or went to church when they were little, or know they aren't some other religion, but they are simply misunderstanding the meaning of being a Christian. They aren't serving God, praying to God, reading His word, or serving in His church. They have no relationship and have made no commitment to God through Jesus Christ, therefore they are mis-using the name Christian
I can go around calling myself Doctor, but unless I go to medical school and pass and fulfill the commitments of being a Doctor with the state to get my license, then I am no Doctor. It requires a process and commitment and steps to become a Doctor, and christianity is the same, it's more than a name.
We need to be educated and informed. Do not call yourself a Christian if you have not made a commitment to Jesus Christ and are not actively in a relationship with God serving Him and being a part of His body the church. In order to wear the name, it bears with it a great responsibility and calling.
I am not trying to be legalistic or judgemental, I am trying to be realistic and clarify what the name Christian means and doesn't mean and what wearing the name brings with it. If your aren't another religion, then you simply are no name. You are not a religious person. If you were raised in church when you were a child, but never made a commitment to Christ or stopped going, then you aren't a Christian, you are simply you. A non-christian, or whatever you want to call yourself. I could say you are a sinner, but we are all sinners whether we are christian or not, the only difference is when you become a christian you have forgiveness of your sins those who aren't are still living in their sins.
If we have graduated from a certain school or with a certain degree or training then we take pride in being called an engineer, a soldier, a doctor, a mechanic, a teacher, a certified welder, or licensed social worker. Our names mean something because we did something to earn to wear the name, and we would take exception to anyone who called themselves our name without earning it or going through the steps to be able to wear it. Christianity is the same way.
Anyone can become a christian and everyone has a right to be called a christian, but they must first choose Christ, choose to accept Him in their lives, repent of their sins, be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and be committed to living and growing in a personal committed relationship wi.th God. But, we can't wear the name or call ourselves a christian if we aren't willing to commit to Christ and wear His name in service and commitment.
The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
Acts 2:21 (niv)
And everyone who callson the name of the Lord will be saved.’