What does the term “Christian” mean to you? The idea of being a Christian can range from merely being a good person to being a believer in God to identifying oneself with Christ. This consideration is not a new one. Back in the first century, there were many people who were becoming the first Christians, and the apostles guided them in these first steps. The main concern, though, was this: Sin separates us from God, and we need reconciliation to our God. This reconciliation is found in Christ; that was true then, and it is true today. Forgiveness of sins is probably the greatest blessing we receive in Christ.
The Problem of Sin
Romans 3:23 – “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” There is not a person in this world who is free from the problem of sin. I John 1:8 reinforces this concept, but it also informs us of a path for cleansing ourselves of that sin.
We often use the Greek to define sin, and we fall on the old standby, “To miss the mark,” but the problem of sin is so much more than that. Sin is a condemnable problem. It is called transgression, unrighteousness, a violation of conscience, but the consequences remain the same.
- Isaiah 59:1-2 – Sin separates God’s people from Him. Sometimes we have a hard time accepting and understanding how our sins remove us from the presence of our Lord.
- II Corinthians 5:10 – Each one of us will be held accountable for our own actions, whether we truly lived as a Christian should, or if we lived with sin in our lives.
- Revelation 20:11-12 – We will be held accountable no matter our importance or how hard we may try to avoid it. We have to take sin seriously because of its effects on us.
In Matthew 26:27-28, Jesus explains that His blood will be shed for the purpose of erasing sin during His institution of the Lord’s Supper. I John 2:1 encourages us to understand that sin is avoidable, but John goes on to remind us of Christ’s role in covering and atoning for our sins. Our salvation is found in Christ and the good news of the New Testament.
- Romans 3:20 – The Old Law was not a complete solution to sin. Christ is.
- Hebrews 10:9-10 – The second replaced the first, and it is through this second will that we can be reconciled to God once for all.
- Romans 1:15-17 describes a message that is able to save and is able to justify those who would believe in it. Matthew 28:18-19 calls Christians to teach others about Jesus and to baptize those that believe in His name. Obedience to the gospel puts us in Christ. That is what was preached on Pentecost, and the message is the same for us today.
Being a Christian means being one who has submitted to Christ. We live like Christ would have us live. We obey His word, and we treat others as He would treat others. A Christian does not live contrarily to Christ’s word, nor does a Christian count Christ as irrelevant and outdated. If we put on the name of Christian, we have to be willing to fully accept and conform ourselves to His word.
Becoming a Christian is a new beginning, erasing our past sins and closing that gap that sin sets between us and our God.
lesson by Tim Smelser