Well, for a start, what is a Christian anyway? So many people have different ideas. We need to turn to God’s book, the Bible, to find out what God says on the subject.
The apostle John, who was specially close to the Lord Jesus, gives us the following tests. Apply them to yourself to see whether you are a Christian.
1 A Christian lives in the light of God
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1 v 6-7). The Bible is the light that God has given us. A Christian is someone who will seek to live according to the teaching of the Bible.
2 A Christian does not pretend to be perfect
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1 v 8). Although, as we have said, a Christian seeks to live according to the Bible, he or she never completely succeeds, because we are never perfect in this life. A Christian, then, acknowledges to God and to other people that he or she still falls far short of God’s holy standards.
3 A Christian loves other Christians
“He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause of stumbling in him” (1 John 2 v 9-10). Jesus commanded His disciples to love one another and said that it would be by their love for one another that the rest of the world would believe their message.
4 A Christian believes that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God
“Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; but he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2 v 22-23). The Christ, or Messiah, was the One for whom the Jews were supposed to be waiting, the One to whom the whole of the Old Testament points forward. Amongst other things, the Christ was prophesied to take away sin, and also to reign forever as God’s appointed Ruler. A Christian is someone who believes that all the Old Testament prophecies about the Christ are, or will be, fulfilled in Jesus.
“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4 v 15). Some people acknowledge Jesus to be the Christ, but stop short of admitting He is the Son of God. Others will call Him Son of God, but make out that somehow that makes Him less than God. But Jesus made it plain that anything the Father did, He could do. Who but God could claim to do everything that God does? An earthly son is just as human as his father, and the Son of God is just as divine as His Father.
5 A Christian has the Holy Spirit
“Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” (1 John 3 v 24). We have each been born physically when we came into this world. But we each need also to be born spiritually, born of God’s Holy Spirit. Not until we are, do we become Christians. When a person is born spiritually, then God’s Spirit takes up residence within him or her. The Holy Spirit helps us to become holy, more like the Lord Jesus. He also helps us to pray and to understand the Bible better.
How do you match up to these five tests? Maybe before you read this, you thought you were a Christian. Maybe others also thought you were. But in the light of what the Bible says on the subject, are you really?