So, what exactly is a Christian?

Aside

Image        I am alarmed at the amount of comments I have seen in the last year as to what people think Christianity is. I believe people are so confused as to what a christian really is. Not trying to slam anyone or sound like a know it all but I am concerned so, would like to take some time to blog about it.

What is a Christian? I mean, when you boil it down, we are still pretty flawed individuals just like the rest of the world. The major difference is that our flaws are already forgiven and our sins are as well. This changes our perspective on life. We no longer feel God’s judgment bearing down on us. That burden has been lifted, so we no longer need to run from God, we want more of Him because he has accepted us. He has done this through His Son, Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Jesus is fully God and fully man. It’s not a contradiction as many have claimed, but rather a paradox. The way this happened is that Christ was pre-existent. That’s a fancy word to explain the fact that he has always existed, just like God, the Father, and God the Holy Spirit, the 3 persons of the Trinity; One God, existing in 3 persons. He submitted to the Father, like any good son and laid aside the fullness of his divine privileges, left heaven, and was morphed (Phil. 2:6-8) into a seed and miraculously implanted in a virgin named Mary (it was not sexual luke 1:35). Then, he was born, both fully God, and yet fully man. Because he bypassed the sinful nature that is transmitted to every human being through their DNA (trace back to Adam’s sin in the garden of Eden Genesis 3), he did not inherit the tendency to disobey, do evil, and sin. He had his Father’s dna which is holy and perfect and free from sin. So, the fact that he lived a perfect life does not really surprise us because he was God (although it still boggles our minds because of how hard it is for us not to sin). That is how he lived a perfect life and unlike Adam, did not disobey his father. As, you can see, Christianity isn’t really so much about us. It’s all about Him. All about Jesus. He is the one whom we worship, we haven’t done anything spectacular. In fact just the opposite, we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Jesus never sinned. He always glorified the Father and he gave his life for you and for me, sinners. Not only that, he was buried in a borrowed tomb and on the 3rd day, rose again from the dead to give us eternal life…more on that to come in a later post…

So, Christians are they who have quit trying to work their way to earn Gods’ favor and have begun to rest in Christ’s work on the cross. Tim Keller has summed it up well stating that the way into the Kingdom of God is “a door that leads to a long road, and not a long road that leads to a door.” That door is Jesus. He frees us from the power and burden of our sin and gives us free grace (unmerited favor) to walk the road that leads to life.

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Christianity is One Nasty Plague…

Blob     In Acts 5:34-42 we have the account of some of the Apostles of Christ being persecuted and flogged by the Jewish court authorities. We find at the end of the verses that the Apostles rejoiced that they were “counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name.”

What do you do with that? Seriously.

Beat them so they will shut up. They love it.

Jesus instituted his church and formed it in such a way that it would survive and thrive in any environment in the world. Persecute it and it rejoices. Beat them up and they multiply. Squash them and they spread.

Jesus must have foreseen the brutality that would come from the Roman Empire when he formed this plague.

Let me illustrate: The Roman Empire is a man, standing over a spore. Looking down on it he squashes it with his foot, and it turns to a puddle of slime. As he is standing there rejoicing in his “victory,” the slime begins to bubble and move, crawling up his leg. The slime then infects him traveling deeper into his blood stream. It takes over the heart, organs, and brain. Rapidly, it overtakes his entire being, now controlling his brain function and entire body and soul to do the will of the slime…

This is what the Roman Empire tried to do to the Church and this is what the Church in turn, did to the Roman Empire-in about 300 years time. This is more than an institution, more than an organization, it is a living, breathing organism. Glad I’m a part of it and not fighting against it…

Here are the Verses:

34 Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men.

36 “For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing.

37 “After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed.

38 “And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing;

39 “but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it–lest you even be found to fight against God.”

40 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten [them], they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.

42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus [as] the Christ.