By Mike Riley
The disciples in Acts 11:26, were first called “Christians” at Antioch somewhere about A.D. 43. They were known to each other as, and were among themselves called, (1) brethren (Acts 15:1, 23; 1 Corinthians 7:12); (2) disciples (Acts 9:26; Acts 11:29); (3) believers (Acts 5:14); (4) saints (Romans 8:27; Romans 15:25).
Let us ask ourselves this question: “What does being a Christian mean?” Being a Christian means that:
We Are Saved From Sin – God forgives our sins when we obey the gospel that Jesus and the apostles preached. Jesus gave them the command to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). They did as Jesus commanded, beginning in Jerusalem (Luke 24:47). Thousands of lost people obeyed their doctrinal message (Acts 2:17-47), were saved and added to the Lord’s church by the Lord (Acts 2:47).
We Have A New Relationship With God – A Christian is referred to as God’s child. Paul said, “we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17). Paul in his letter to the Galatian brethren states, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27). God also calls Christians “sons and daughters” (2 Corinthians 6:18). Being children of God means we have “fellowship” with the Father and the Son (1 John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 1:9). That relationship causes God to love and care for us (1 Peter 5:6-7).
We Have A New Life – Paul states, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). By baptism, we are raised to walk in newness of life, being “born again” (John 3:3-5; Romans 6:3-6). The Christian has “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). The Christian no longer lives a life of sin. He has become “dead” to sin and “alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:11).
This is what makes the Christian live so wonderful and great. The Christian is “made free from sin” (Romans 6:17-18). He now has heaven as his daily hope (Colossians 1:5; 1 Peter 1:3-4)
We Are To Be Filled With Joy, Happiness and Peace – Christians are happy because “the spirit of glory and of God rests upon us” (1 Peter 4:14). Jesus said we can be glad with “exceeding joy” because we know that one day He will come again and usher us into the Father’s heavenly home (John 14:1-3; 1 Peter 4:13; 1 Peter 1:3-4).
The last question we must ask is: Are you a Christian? Do you have the joy and hope found only in Jesus Christ? If you are “in Christ Jesus,” you are not under the condemnation of God (Romans 8:1). Remember, “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). Become a Christian today (2 Corinthians 6:2) and enjoy the blessings of God, “who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3).
Would I Be Called A Christian?
By Mike Riley
Would I be called a Christian if everybody knew
My secret thoughts and feelings and everything I do?
Would they see the likeness of Christ in me each day?
Oh, would they hear Him speak in everything I say?
Would I be called a Christian if all could know
That I am found in places Christ would never go?
Oh, could they tell the difference in the songs I sing?
In my eating, drinking, dressing — in everything?
Would I be called a Christian if judged by what I read?
By all my recreation, and every thought and deed?
Would I be counted Christ-like in my work and play,
Unselfish, kind, forgiving others every day?