I hear people say: “I am a Christian”, “we Christians”, “I am born-again Christian”, etc., and I laugh; well not just laugh but wonder. For the sake of clarity, in my belief and understanding, there is nothing like a “born-again Christian”. It is a wrong identification, tautological and of no relevance. When I hear such, I ask myself; is Christianity a profession? Is it an Occupation? Is it an Identity? Or is it a way of life? People use the term, “born-again Christian” erroneously to refer to those they call “true Christians”. Again, they are wrong. In effect, there is nothing like a “true Christian”. A Christian is a Christian and primarily a “born again”; no addition, no subtraction. Like the Lord says (Matthew 5:37), “let your yes be simply yes and your no be simply no; anything more than that comes from the evil one”. In it, He sets out a model of living for every Christian. Do not be deceived and do not deceive yourself. It’s either you are a Christian or you are not.
We all claim to be Christians and some call themselves “born-again Christians” but most times what we live out is different from what we profess. What actually makes us Christians is not only what we say but most importantly what we do and the way we live our lives. We should live our lives in Christ’s likeness and not according to a professed faith. That is true spirituality; “Life in the Spirit”. The Bible tells us in Micah 6:8 what true spirituality means: “You have already been told what is right and what Yahweh wants of you. Only this, to do what is right, to love loyalty and to walk humbly with your God”.
A Christian is “another Christ”; one who lives in the model of Christ. And in Christianity, there is only one standard and one model. Your Church, your denomination or religion does not make you a Christian. What makes you a Christian is your faith; the faith you profess in the life you live. That is what makes you a Christian; “Christ-Like”. At some points in our lives we have crisis of faith; some call it trial of faith. In whichever way it comes we keep asking ourselves this question: “am I truly a Christian”?
By saying that “faith, if good deeds do not go with it, is quite dead”, the apostle James explained in small detail what the life of a Christian should be. You are admonished to read the Epistle of St. James and learn the life of true Christianity. A Christian should live a life worthy of the name as summarised by the Lord Jesus Christ when he said; “You will be able to tell them by their fruits?”
Remember, the disciples were called Christians because they modelled their lives to that of Christ not because they demanded to be called Christians or they said they were Christians. Sometimes, I asked myself why the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch, which is “The Place of Pagans” and not in Jerusalem. I happened to come across an author who gave 2 reasons for that, which explains my own view. According to the author, the reasons are: Religion Legalism and Ignorance of the Mystery of Christ.
Religious legalism is simply explained in what we see and hear today among people that call themselves believers: “my pastor told me”; “my church teaches”; “my religion forbids this or that”; “my spiritual father told me to do this or that”; “my prophet this”; “man of god that”; and so on. When I hear all these things I ask myself, “is this not why we go wrong?” We are simply ignorant of the Mystery of Christ. In Romans chapter 8, we were taught about “Life in the Spirit”. In verses 29 & 30, it says: “He decided beforehand who were the ones destined to be moulded to the pattern of his Son, so that he should be the eldest of many brothers; it was those so destined that he called; those that he called, he justified, and those that he has justified he has brought into glory”.
In all these, we should live like Christ. May we all take the admonition of St. Paul in Romans 12:2; “Do not model your behaviour on the contemporary world, but let the renewing of your minds transform you, so that you may discern for yourselves what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and mature”.
That is the challenge of true Christianity.
It is in this challenge that we should define our strength as Christians because “if God is for us, who can be against us?”.