What’s In a Title? Part 1: Christians

For many of us — a title defines our purpose.  We get a job, and we assume a role.  The title we’re given is a reflection of our professional selves.  However, we all know that titles don’t just apply to our professional careers.  Speaking for myself, in addition to my work title, I’m also wife, mom, daughter, friend, and a Christian.  It’s the latter title on which I want to focus.

The term appears three times in the Bible.

And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.  ~Acts 11:26

Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”  ~Acts 26:28

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.  ~1 Peter 4:16

What is a Christian?

Simply put, a Christian is someone who believes on and follows Jesus Christ.

Really, it’s that simple.

Yet, our society has warped the definition of the title “Christian.”  A lot of people call themselves a Christian, but they neither believe on or follow Jesus Christ.  Those who may call themselves Christians may include those who:

  • Do nice things.
  • Live a moral life.
  • Give money to charities and volunteer their time to the needy.

None of these things make us a Christian.  Because unlike our jobs, we don’t earn the title of Christian.  The Bible is very clear that we can’t do anything on our own to claim salvation.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  ~Ephesians 2:8-9

There’s a movie that came out in 2006 called Driving Lessons that stared Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint.  In the movie, the main character’s father is a preacher.  In one of the scenes, the preacher tells his congregation this about being a Christian:

If you ask me, “Am I Christian?”, I say to you, if you strive to do good, then you’re a Christian. If you don’t seek to hurt or betray others, you’re a Christian. If you’re true to yourself and treat others as you’d have them treat you, you’re a Christian.

To me — that pretty much sums up the modern day world view of what it is to be a Christian.  And nothing could be further from the truth.  Again, that is NOT what makes someone a Christian.

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,  ~1 John 2:4

A true Christian is the following:

  • A person who knows he / she is a sinner and have confessed their need for Jesus Christ.
  • They seek and obey God’s will.
  • They seek to model their lives after Christ.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,  ~John 1:12

The title of Christian is one that should never be used lightly; it should be revered because those who call themselves Christian are declaring to the world that they aim to be as much like Jesus as much as they possibly can.  It’s hard to take that title seriously if the actions that back it up mirror the world’s standards, not Jesus’.

Christians are not perfect, but they have been perfectly forgiven, as evidenced by Jesus’ death on the cross and His victory over death when He was resurrected three days later.  The Bible promises that those who place their trust in Jesus will have their sins cast as far as the east is from the west.

as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.  ~Psalm 103:12


Dear Jesus, Thank You for Your sacrifice in death and Your gift of salvation.  You, who were too strong for the grave to hold, have forgiven all who ask.  Please help me to live a life that honors You in all I do.  And if there is someone who reads this passage who is seeking You, I pray You will reveal Yourself to them.  In Your holy name I pray and trust, Amen.


The rest of this series will focus on the titles of God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

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