A lot of people have heard about Christians, but maybe you don’t know exactly what it means that someone is a Christian. Well, let’s start with the basics.
The word Christian means a follower of Christ, which is all well and good if you know who or what a Christ is. But not everyone does, and some people think they know but what they’ve heard is wrong.
Who Is Jesus Christ
Christ is a person, the historical person Jesus of Nazareth who was an Israelite born 2000 plus years ago and was crucified by the Roman government. In addition to dying, Jesus rose from the dead. Now, pretty much every historian in the world agrees that Jesus’ lived and died, but the resurrection, as you can imagine, isn’t as widely accepted.
As unbelievable as the resurrection is, it’s a demonstrable fact, Jesus was raised from the dead. The reason he was raised from dead, the Apostle Paul tells us is for the believer’s justification (Romans 4:25). Justification is probably not a word you’ve used in the last week, or more likely your lifetime, especially not in the sense Romans 4:25 used it. There it refers to a judicial action—God the judge of all things declares that those who believe in Jesus are innocent. No matter what bad things you’ve done, no matter what terrible, wicked, acts of violence committed or just awful lifestyle lived, all your guilt is taken away and you are pronounced innocent in Jesus. Simply by believing in him.
What does it mean to believe in Jesus?
This is the key thing, right? We have to distinguish between knowing Jesus was a person and belief. Believing in Jesus requires that you believe you need him. You have to understand that before God we are all guilty. Apart from Jesus, every person on earth is hopeless to spend an eternity being punished for our sins.
Believing in Jesus is a saving belief. That means you believe that you are guilty and you have no ways to make up for your guilt. You believe you need something, or someone, to pay for your guilt. So, you turn to Jesus as the one who God provided to pay for your guilt—that’s essentially what the word Christ means. He was sent by God for this specific purpose: to become your guilt, so that you will be declared innocent by God.
There’s so much more, but that is the foundational truth of Christianity. It’s an act of God declaring a believer innocent—it’s justification, not by you, but by Jesus’ work for anyone who believes. Do you believe? Or maybe you have questions about what this means, if so feel free to contact Pastor Matt Stevens at (864) 538-8284 or email him at [email protected]
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