What is a Christian?
What a "Christian" is will vary depending on who is asked. For some people this has to do with the country you were born in or even the family you were born into. For others, it means that you believe in a religion based on the teachings of Jesus. Some people use it as a way to express their standards of morality and rules to be lived by and others as a way to express a deep personal relationship between Jesus and an individual.
What does the Bible say?
The word "Christian" simply means, "follower of Christ".
The word "Christian" is used three times in the Bible, (Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, and 1 Peter 4:16), and all three are referring to the very first "Christians" of the early church. They were called "Christians" because their behavior, activity, and speech were like Christ Jesus. They lived to a high moral standard, they gave money to feed the poor, they gathered as a church, and they served their neighbors. Yet the Bible is very clear that a person can live in this way and also not be a follower of Christ.
"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” - Titus 3:4-6
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” - Ephesians 2:8-9
These verses show that salvation is a gift from God and is not related to our morality or good works, in other words, there is nothing we can do to earn salvation. Therefore, a true Christian is someone that has accepted God's free gift of salvation by believing in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross as a payment for our sins and His resurrection as proof of His power over death.
Becoming a Christian is coming to believe not only that Christ died for all his people, but that all his people died when he died. Becoming a Christian is, first, asking the question: Am I ready to be persuaded that Christ died for me and I died in him? Am I ready to die that I might live? Then, secondly, becoming a Christian means answering, Yes, from the heart.
Quite simply, we baptize because it is what Jesus instructed of His followers. It is a step of obedience to him. Mansfield Bible Church does not believe baptism is required for salvation, salvation comes by faith. "Therefore, having been justified by faith..." (Romans 5:1) Faith is the means by which we are justified, saved, and united to Christ. Baptism is a symbol of that faith, much like a wedding ring symbolizes a marriage.
Baptism outwardly symbolizes three things:
- Dying with Christ to your old self.
- Being raised with Christ as a new creation.
- Walking in your new life with a living community which waits for the coming return of the Lord Jesus.
"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age'." - Matthew 28-18-20
If you are ready to take this step of belief or are ready to be baptized, we would love to talk to you! Please fill out the form below and we will contact you shortly!