hen the name Christian is invoked in today’s society it usually means anyone who has been born into a Christian family, or any person that in any way may have a past link to a Christian heritage, or perhaps a casual Evangelical who once answered an altar-call and visits a church once a week. But truly: What is a Christian?


For example, a political brand of 'Christian' fought a civil war in the 70s and 80s in Lebanon against the Muslims. Political parties with the moniker “Christian”, or carrying placards with the usual Christian slogans and symbols, have been the party of choice for scads of despotic and tyrannical regimes in South America over the last one hundred and fifty years. Tens of thousands of Americans, who devote only the most meager of time and thought to Jesus Christ, regularly report their religion as: Christian - rather than, say, Scientologist, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or Rastifarian. Throughout the history of our country we have witnessed a steady stream of presidents and high ranking political figures shamelessly pander to the public for votes on the basis of their faith in God. Sometimes they have claimed to be born-again just to gain absolution for their “high crimes and misdemeanors”. Should true Christians be taken in by these political testimonies which reduce the cause of Christ to public relations gimmicks? Should Christians accept anyone’s version of Christianity? Should we give the benefit of the doubt to any old cook who comes along with a new fast food recipe that tastes good but is unhealthy for our eternal souls? I was told by a preacher once that "there are many different ‘Jesus Christs’ being slung about and cooked up, as many as men can invent. But you best not dine on them, you'll die either of hunger or poison. And you won't know which one will get you first."


If we accept any version of Christ and neglect to examine the fruits then we make a mockery of what it means to be a Christian. Instead of seeking political power or social influence leaders of the Evangelicals, Pentecostals and all Spirit-led, born-again believers ought to quit their obsession with cleaning up the world and muster up the courage to preach the The Full Gospel, trusting that the truth of the cross of Christ will have God’s desired effect. It may not fill the pews on Sunday the way we wish or want, but there is power in God’s Word. Why can’t they believe that the Word will not return to the Kingdom of God void or frustrated?


They can begin by telling everyone the true definition of a Christian, the sanctity of the Ten Commandments and that the truth is not relative or vague, but is constant and real, because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. They can start to insist on this in their fellowships and congregations and resist the pernicious lies of Ecumenism that smudge the very walls of our Church today like graffiti scribbled over a Rembrandt masterpiece. The letters to the churches in the last book of the Bible touches on some of the lethal lies that infest Christianity and turn it into something other than Christ. To begin with a Christian is only a Christian after he or she has been born-again. Darkness does not have fellowship with light, Belial with Christ. We must not pretend to have unity of fellowship with those who have not been born anew, We are from two different worlds. There are a glorious number of ways to become born-again. The so-called four spiritual laws requiring belief and repentance and confession in that order is not the only way to bow to the cross of Christ and be reborn, born not only of 'water' (natural flesh), but of spirit too. (See: The Six-fold mission statement of Jesus as outlined by Him in Luke 4.) As an example, the six-fold ministry of Christ, declared by the prophets and summed up by Jesus as His mission statement (Lk. 4:18-19), makes provision for the fatherless, the widows, the suffering and downtrodden to enter into His love by being born-again first, by accepting His love. The epistle to the Romans tells us that by our heart we believe unto righteousness, but with the mouth we make confession unto salvation. It does not make restriction only to immediate repentance of sin, only to belief in the heart and confession before man. Repentance and deliverance surely, without exception will follow. You can legalize the born-again experience the way you can mandate traffic laws and good works but don't be deceived, there are many ways in which people accept Christ and become new creations. Sometimes it is just believing God exists and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Sometimes He is received in the heart because He is the healer and the bringer of salvation and love to a lonely and unloved soul. No matter how it is done, receiving Christ and becoming a new creature (born-again) is the essence and starting point of all fellowship in Christ, the Church, His body or whatever one may choose to call it.


Instead of the vain hope of making this world (which according to God’s Word, is at enmity with God) a sanitary place for “good” Christian families, we ought to be telling the nation, at every opportunity, what a true Christian is and what God’s preference is for each of His born-again children. A Christian is not a Christian unless he is a follower of Jesus Christ. Not really a Christian, I mean. That is what the word Christian stands for. The word, or name, Christian was first coined after the first persecution had taken place in Jerusalem, when Christianity had begun to spread to some local cities of Asia Minor (Acts 11:19-26). Breakdown the word Christian for yourself. Christ – ian: Christ like. The believers of Antioch were recognized as this off-beat spiritual sect because they lived like Christ – totally unlike the world. One of the Roman leaders said that these Christians had turned the world upside down. A Christian is not one by name, or label, but one who follows Christ wherever Christ leads. They will have turned their backs on the World, their Flesh and Demonic forces of Satan. They will have departed from their former life which has been dictated to and dominated by those three enemies of the spirit. A person must be born-again if one is to have any hope of departing from the allies and departing from the gutters of these three menacing enemies. We must be extricated, taken away, separated and sanctified for God’s use. By being born-again in the spirit we may begin the journey to an intimate relation with God and His Son by the Spirit. If we are wise we will strive for the ‘mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus’, as the apostle Paul so aptly put it. We will be walking in the opposite way of Man and the World, having fled the wrath that is to come, not in conjunction with it. In this way, going in the way of the pilgrimage of Christian life, Christians ought to be perfect. Ideally they will follow Jesus with a full, perfect discipline of spirit, honest and true, striving for and cleaving to this, desiring to be at His flank, always walking with Him wherever He chooses to lead. The Bible alludes to this as walking in the spirit. As Enoch walked with God and was no more (raptured) because he had a testimony that he pleased God, so ought we to walk. “He that says he abides in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (1 John 2:6) As the popular slogan goes: WWJD – What Would Jesus Do?

            Notice the Bible says that the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. My dictionary says that a disciple is a: ‘disciplined’ follower of the doctrine of a teacher or leader. Jesus said, “And whosoever doth not bear this cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” And talking about Himself as the Good Shepherd He said, “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” And He taught a number of devout Greeks, who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” To be a true Christian one must be a dedicated follower of Christ.

            Jesus also taught this, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Anyone who accepts the title: “Christian” with any understanding of the truth, must accept that it presumes a disciplined following of Jesus Christ to the bearing forth of godly fruits for the glory of God. Anything short of that mission by a Christian is a sham and a misrepresentation of what it means to be a Christian. As the Bible teaches: Let all those who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity! That’s straight enough I think. Mere words or sprinkling of water, or religious vows, or altar calls cannot transform a man or woman into a Christian or constitute a walk. Discipleship is both active and passive. Passive in self and active in spirit. Not doing one’s own will but denying self and walking, picking up the cross, obedience to the voice of God. The receiving of sacraments does not make a follower. Disciples are proven in their footsteps, their actions, following after the cross of Christ with their own cross upon their shoulders. Hypocrisy does the cross of Christ a great disservice and persuades people, who otherwise might find faith to believe, to scoff at Christianity so that they whither up and die in the dark shadows along the wayside of life.

            The epithet of “Christian” is used only twice more in Scripture, once when Paul stood in chains before King Agrippa and gave a stirring testimony to the power of Christ. Agrippa responded by saying, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Even this worldly king understood the implications of calling oneself a Christian. The other instance appears in Peter’s first letter. Peter is talking about the gravity of being a follower of Christ and that it should not be a life solely of abundant blessing, excitement and convenience, but one displaying right living and godly virtue. “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”

            True Christians must be living proof of God’s power to make new creatures of any person who will come to Him. They should be open books of the power and need for change is the human condition. His power to change that person into a vessel filled with the goodness of God. It is not the believer’s own power or discipline, and this should be evident too, but it is the power of God in him or her, made possible by the living glory of Christ residing in that person’s changed and new spiritual heart. Then the law can and will be fulfilled, which could not be fulfilled in a man until Christ came, but can now be fulfilled by those who “walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.” Therefore, the Scripture declares that the law can now be fulfilled by the power of God in a true Christian. If one is truly a Christian the good fruit of God’s love will slowly, but surely, manifest itself. This is a fact of truth, an indispensable part of Christian doctrine. The reason that the apostle John makes the otherwise outrageous statement:

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:4-9)


The Ten Commandments are so rudimentary that they will be taught and “naturally” followed when we are sensitive to the Spirit’s urgings and power in us. There is no gray area or room for debate concerning them. It is wrong to commit adultery. It is wrong to covet our neighbors’ belongings or his or her spouse. It is wrong to bear false witness (or commit perjury) against our fellow human beings. But be sure of this: it is even more wrong not to fulfill in our life the first commandment to love God with all our strength, our heart and soul and body. The second is vital as well, we must love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

            It is not wrong to judge these things in the Church. I say things - not so much people. We must judge righteous judgment, those things which are done and discourage ungodliness. Judgment begins at the house of God. If we judge ourselves we shall not have to be judged later. We shall know who our Christian brothers and sisters are because, “We shall know them by their fruit.”. By examining our selves we shall also know and comprehend if we have actually been freed by Christ from our life and ways of sin and are actually living a life pleasing to God by faith. If we know we are a true disciple, picking up our cross and following Christ because we are changed and are being continually saved and changed, then we are confident that we are pleasing God. Only if our relationship is well with God can we with assurance call ourselves Christian. Only then does the name Christian, by which we call ourselves, become God’s honest truth.