There has been a lot of talk lately about not being referred to as a Christian, but as a “follower of Christ” instead.
First I want to look at the word “Christian”. There’s the obvious “Christ”, who is our Lord and Savior, and then there’s the suffix “-ian” which means related to, belonging to, or like. Therefore the literal translation of the word is “To belong to Christ” or “Like Christ”.
Our purpose is to become like Christ according to the Word. “As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory even more.” 2 Corinthians 3:18b
According to Rick Warren, God sent Jesus, not only to save us, but to restore the full image that we have lost as His creations. He wants us to become godly; taking on His values, attitudes, and character. The Bible says, “Take on an entirely new way of life-a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces His character in you.” (Eph 4:22)
Now, I can understand the negative stigma that sometimes come with the word “Christian” therefore resulting in wanting to be referred to as a “follower of Christ”, but changing a name does not change anything…but the name. If there is a problem with the word “Christian”, then isn’t it about time we changed our actions to become more Christ like and put the real meaning back into the name?
The word “Christian” only appears three times in the Bible (Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, 1 Peter 4:16), and it’s clear that they were the disciples, or followers of Christ. The last verse that the word was used in states, “If anyone suffers as a “Christian”, he should not be ashamed but should glorify God in having that name.” (1 Peter 4:16)
It’s about time to embrace that name and not be ashamed! If people call us Christians, it means that they see Christ in us. If they don’t, then it’s about time that we Christians as a whole represent what it actually means to be Christ like.
James 1:26 says, “People who think they are religious but say things they should not are just fooling themselves. Their ‘religion’ is worth nothing.” I use this verse to say that yes!, people will claim to be a Christian, but their words and actions will prove otherwise, but that’s where wisdom comes in. People who are lost do not have this wisdom to realize that not all who claim to be Christians, actually are not.
It’s fine to say that you’re a follower of Christ, but that’s what a Christian is; someone who follows Christ and try to become more like Him. So why sweep the word under the rug?
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