What is a Christian

At Pantiles Baptist Church we take the Bible as our guide to what we believe, including what it means to be a Christian.

So, what does it mean to be a Christian? To become a Christian could be described as taking four stepping stones which are:

1. The Sinner  2. The Sentence  3. The Saviour and 4. The Salvation

Taking these four stepping stones, becoming a Christian, enables us to find peace with God, to know His love and forgiveness, indeed, to know Him, through the Lord Jesus Christ, who said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me." 

Let's look briefly at these four stepping stones:

1) The Sinner

We have to recognise our condition before God; the Bible tells us that our sin separates us from God.

You would not need to be found unless you were lost. You would not call for a doctor unless you were unwell. You would not cry out to a lifeguard unless you were drowning. And no one will turn to Jesus Christ to be saved, unless they recognise that they are lost, that they are a sinner. Whether or not we feel that we are a sinner does not change the situation. Being born into a particular family or in a particular country doesn't make us a Christian, nor does going to church. The Bible says we are all sinners who need saving from our sin.

It is God Himself who declares that we are all sinner;  God knows because He made us and He knows us better than we know ourselves. In the Bible, in the book of Isaiah chapter 53 verse 6 it says: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way”.

Romans 3:23 states: “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. That means all of us are not up to God's standard - we fall short, we are not right with God, and we sin because we are sinners. A cherry tree is not a cherry tree because it bears cherries; it bears cherries because it is a cherry tree. Likewise we are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. And our first stepping stone towards becoming a Christian is for you and me to admit that, to admit that we are sinners.

2). The Sentence

Sin has a penalty, a price, a consequence; sin separates us from God, now and for eternity. There is nothing that we can do ourselves to change this. The second stepping stone is to admit that we cannot save ourselves. Many people think that by becoming religious, going to Church, doing good things and helping others and so on, they can overcome their sin. But nothing we do will ever save us, we cannot make ourselves right with God. Titus 3:5 says we cannot be saved “.... by works of righteousness which we have done.

3). The Saviour

Whilst our sin separates us from God, and its reward is eternal death (Romans 6:23), Jesus died in our place as our Substitute. He paid in full the debt owed by every believing sinner; Jesus is the Saviour of everyone who believes in Him for salvation. John 3:16 says: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. By Jesus dying for us on the cross, God offers us salvation as a free gift. It is on these grounds alone that we can be saved. Here is the next stepping stone:

4). The Salvation

With sin having been dealt with at the cross, God and the repentant, believing sinner are reconciled. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. (Romans 5:1)

We are forgiven for Christ’s sake, and the Bible says that when God forgives, He also chooses to remember our sins no more. (Hebrews 8:12) Once God has forgiven us, He begins to change us from within, with new desires, new appetites, new goals and new values. We grow in love for God and the things of God; at the same time we grow to hate those things which displease God, and others will see a change in us.

 


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