This question is answered by so many people, so many different ways according to their perceptions. Even every dictionary has a slightly different answer and most certainly I do not need to add my opinion.
But you know WHO’S opinion counts?
Answer: God will have the final say because He is perfect and holy!
So what does GOD have to say what a “real” Christian is?
The term Christian was first mentioned in the Bible in Acts 11:26. Here is a little background: Jesus was resurrected and the disciples (followers of Christ) spread that good news to all, who were not there to actually see it. They had nothing written in their hands and most of them had all kinds of questions what is acceptable in God’s eyes and what not. Chapter 11 begins with a lot of conflicts: Is the gospel only for the Jews? Can we eat this or that? What do we do?
The Holy Spirit guided the believers and that is how the news of Jesus came even as far as Antioch, a thriving metropolitan area in Syria, about 8 miles on the southern Turkish border, where archeologist found remains of what was a very large church. Paul and Barnabas were teaching people there for a whole year. Mind you, they were not well received and often made fun of. People enjoy classifying, so everybody knows what “kind” they all are talking about. This is how the name “Christian” was coined for the followers/ disciples of Jesus, The Christ.
The “ian” after people’s names represents ” of someone” or “a believer or supporter of someone’s theory”.
So what that indicates is that a Christian: belongs to Christ, follows Christ, acts just like Christ does and agrees whole heartily with Christ.
How does one belong to Jesus?
Jesus says John 3:3: You must be born again else he cannot see the kingdom of God.
So evidently that is the FIRST requirement or we see nothing at all of God.
John 12: 26: Quote: If any man serve me ( Jesus), let him follow me and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor ( or validate).
Philippians 2: 2-8: Quote: “Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Whow!!!! That sure is a tall order!
1. Thinking the same as Jesus does.
2. Having the same love as Jesus does.
3. Be in one accord ( agreement ) with Jesus.
4. Have the same things on your mind that Jesus has on His.
5. No striving, but humbly putting the other person first.
6. Make sure others have things, not just you.
7. Contemplate always what Jesus has done for you: Even though He is equal with God from beginning of time, never insisted on accolades, but became servant to all mankind, became human and died, even a cruel death.
And if we want to follow Him, we must do likewise: Love people, put others first, make sure others are served, die to self and empty out all our own ambition.
Am I sure that is what Christianity is?
Yeah: That’s what it is because Jesus says on many more occasions very similar things:
Matthew 16:24 Quote”Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Matthew 7:14: Quote ” Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. “
Matthew 19:24: Quote “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
and many more
But wait: It is NOT as impossible as it seems:
Matthew 6:33: Quote “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his (Jesus’) righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
So how DO we become more like Jesus and His righteousness?
Study your Bible and follow what the BIBLE says. It is much easier these days than in the time Paul and Barnabas taught in Antioch:
If you have a computer or a concordance look up all the phrase where God says:
“Be ye” (KJV). That will give you a clear indication how we are to act.
In contrast, if you want to know how unbelievers act or how you never would want to act look up the phrase: ” be ye not” (KJV).
That way no teacher can ever lead you astray since you are getting the direction totally from God and what He says He means literally- no interpretation necessary.
Now a few thoughts on “acceptable” Christianity:
We are living in the end times which means that there are more liars, more false teachers, more religions, more confusion, more opinions.
It is imperative to follow the Truth of God and not our own idea, religious club, pastors, gurus or any of the nice persons, who has so much wisdom, is so wealthy, so educated and lets us in their special inner circle.
Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
Matthew 7: 22-23 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I (Jesus)profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Friends, that can happen to any one of us since God is under NO obligation to save us. He is God! His will be done, not our wishful thinking.
So what shall we do? Is there any hope?
Yes! Surrender your life to God, our creator. Develop a relationship with Him through the Bible and press hard after Jesus example.
Whenever I do not know, why the Holy Spirit departed from me since I am pretty dense sometimes and life is fast pace, I always cry out to God: ” Lord have mercy on me!” and then wait on the Lord to show me, where I went wrong. The fellowship being disrupted might be as simple as forgetting or avoiding what I was supposed to do, just being careless or I did not forgive someone right away. I always like to take a meditation break every hour or so, so I do not go too far off the deep end. I was very lost before Jesus found me and I rather walk with my Savior through the fire, than be out in left field not bothered by His wooing.
Couple more thoughts:
If you think you have to be a “good” person to be saved: NOT so. Jesus takes you just the way He finds you and puts you together perfectly the way He created you to be. There is NOBODY else like you and you are irreplaceable to God. If you were the only person on earth, you are so valuable that Jesus would have died only for you because He loves YOU with an everlasting love and doesn’t want anything to happen to you. He is so hoping you would choose life through Him and start casting your sorrows on Him because He cares for you more than any person on earth. That is what the Bible says.
If you consider yourself a “good” Christian and deserve to be saved for all your goodness, I have to tell you: ” Good” is a relative term and the Bible says only God is good. (Luke 18:19), but then you would know that since you read your Bible. Consider this: If Christians would be “good”, then Jesus would have had no need to go to the cross and die such an agonizing death. You would be able to save yourself easily with your goodness and the minor sins God will forgive you, of course. Sorry, that is NOT how it works. God is not a respecter of persons and will treat everybody alike on judgment day. God also has no grandchildren.
Each person will give an account what they think of God’s redemptive work on the cross. That is the only thing that matters if you can get saved from wrath or not!
As long as we are alive in the body, we can choose how to live, because God set us totally free. After our soul and spirit is separated from our body (physical death), our choice can not be altered. At that time we will experience perfect fairness the first time in our lives since we ALL will be judged equally with the same measurement by the same God, our creator. Never before that judgment day we can expect fairness or favor because we live in a world of good and evil, which will ALWAYS have someone on the bottom and someone on the top in every issue of life.
If you need help contact me http://patternstriedandtrue.org/have-a-question-or-comment-contact-me/
But you really do not need me. All you need is Jesus and you will gain access to the throne of God by being born again:
Here is how: http://patternstriedandtrue.org/?s=be+born+again