When I Say I Am A Christian, This Is My Definition Of That Word And How I Define Right From Wrong

Discussion in 'Faith & Religion' started by Babs Hunt, Jan 28, 2017.

  1. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    What is a Christian?
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    Question: "What is a Christian?"

    Answer:
    A dictionary definition of a Christian would be something similar to “a person professing belief in Jesus as the Christ or in the religion based on the teachings of Jesus.” While this is a good starting point, like many dictionary definitions, it falls somewhat short of really communicating the biblical truth of what it means to be a Christian. The word “Christian” is used three times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). Followers of Jesus Christ were first called “Christians” in Antioch (Acts 11:26) because their behavior, activity, and speech were like Christ. The word “Christian” literally means, “belonging to the party of Christ” or a “follower of Christ.”

    Unfortunately over time, the word “Christian” has lost a great deal of its significance and is often used of someone who is religious or has high moral values but who may or may not be a true follower of Jesus Christ. Many people who do not believe and trust in Jesus Christ consider themselves Christians simply because they go to church or they live in a “Christian” nation. But going to church, serving those less fortunate than you, or being a good person does not make you a Christian. Going to church does not make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile. Being a member of a church, attending services regularly, and giving to the work of the church does not make you a Christian.

    The Bible teaches that the good works we do cannot make us acceptable to God. Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us, 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.” So, a Christian is someone who has been born again by God (John 3:3; John 3:7; 1 Peter 1:23) and has put faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8 tells us that it is “…by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

    A true Christian is a person who has put faith and trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ, including His death on the cross as payment for sins and His resurrection on the third day. John 1:12 tells us, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” The mark of a true Christian is love for others and obedience to God’s Word (1 John 2:4, 10). A true Christian is indeed a child of God, a part of God’s true family, and one who has been given new life in Jesus Christ.

    Have you made a decision for Christ because of what you have read here? If so, please click on the "I have accepted Christ today" button below.

    If you have any questions, please use the question form on our Bible Questions Answered page.


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  2. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    How can I learn to distinguish right from wrong?
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    Question: "How can I learn to distinguish right from wrong?"

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    Every human being is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27; James 3:9). Part of what it means to be in God’s image is that we have a conscience that instinctively recognizes good and evil and tells right from wrong. Every civilized culture in the world has adopted similar standards for its people based on this inherent understanding of good and evil. Murder, theft, and deceit are universally understood to be wrong. Sometimes depravity overrides that knowledge, and a people group chooses to value evil rather than forbid it, as in the case of infanticide practiced by the heathen nations surrounding Israel (Leviticus 18:21; 2 Kings 23:10).

    Due to our sin nature, we tend to excuse the evil in ourselves (Romans 5:12; Proverbs 20:20; Jeremiah 2:35). A continual pattern of excusing evil leads to a hardening of the conscience. Romans 1:28 gives God’s response to those who persist in evil: “Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.” There is a point at which God lets go. Those who insist on keeping their sin can now sin boldly and suffer no pangs of conscience. They believe they have transcended conscience and outsmarted God. But their judgment will come when they stand before Christ (Hebrews 9:27; Malachi 3:5).

    As darkness is defined by the absence of light, sin is defined by the absence of goodness (James 4:17). Since God is the very embodiment of good (Psalm 86:5; 119:68), anything contrary to His nature is evil (Romans 3:23). We learn to distinguish good from evil by getting to know God. His Word is the foundation for understanding Him (Psalm 1:1–2; 119:160; John 17:17).The closer we draw to the holiness of God, the worse sin appears (Isaiah 6:1, 5). A t-shirt may appear white against a black wall. But when you place that shirt on newly fallen snow, it appears quite dingy. Similarly, our attempts at goodness look quite dingy when placed next to the holiness of God. As we enter His presence, we start to notice how self-centered our thoughts and actions are. We see our own greed, covetousness, lust, and deceit for the evils that they are. It is only in God’s light that we begin to see ourselves clearly.

    We also learn to distinguish between right and wrong by knowing the Word. It is the Bible, after all, that delineates what is sinful and what is not. The author of Hebrews speaks of those who are immature in their faith, who can only digest spiritual “milk”—the most basic principles of God’s Word (Hebrews 5:13). In contrast to the “babes” in Christ are the spiritually mature, “who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14). Note that a Christian’s spiritual senses are strengthened through “constant use” of the Word. The ability to tell right from wrong, to distinguish between Christ’s doctrine and man’s, comes by studying and applying God’s Word.

    God’s Word is filled with examples of those who did right and those who did wrong. Those examples are there for us to learn what God is like and what He desires from us (1 Corinthians 10:11). Micah 6:8 gives a brief summary of God’s desire for every person: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Verse 18 makes it even clearer. God says, “And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” Here the Lord is equating righteousness with serving Him. If good is defined as serving God, then evil is rejecting God and refusing to serve Him. Regardless of how philanthropic a person may appear to others, his good works amount to little if they are done for selfish reasons. If we make it our goal to seek God and honor Him in everything we do (1 Corinthians 10:31), we will understand right and wrong and know that our life choices are pleasing to Him (Jeremiah 29:13; 1 Peter 3:12; Psalm 106:3).Recommended Resource: Right from Wrong by McDowell & Hostetler


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  3. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    Christians, like most groups of people, have a view of themselves that may be quite different than how people who are not in that group view them..

    So your question "What is a Christian"? would get many different answers depending on who you ask.
     
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  4. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    I know this @Sheldon Scott. But this is exactly who I am as a Biblical Christian and I make no apologies for this. Although I am far from perfect I realize that I am a sinner who is saved only by my faith and trust in Jesus Christ my Lord and my Savior. God is my Father and His Word in the Bible is the Truth I live by with the Holy Spirit living within me teaching me and guiding me in this Truth. It is in God's Word that I find what God says is right and wrong (sin).

    It is not wrong, nor is it judging to speak God's Truth about what He says is right and wrong. If a person does not believe God is real then it is true that they may not believe His Truth is right either. I cannot tell another person what they have to believe....and I haven't done that. I have spoken what I believe as a Biblical Christian. There is no other Truth but God's for me personally. God's opinion as spoken in the Bible is my opinion too. It's just that simple for me.

    Thank you @Sheldon Scott for your post. I have edited my thread title to reflect more that I am not asking a question but defining through those posts who I am as a Biblical Christian and how I define right from wrong.

    I wish I had the gift of words to be able just to have written all that is in the articles myself but I don't so I am thankful for the ones above who did have that gift and expressed exactly my thoughts on this.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
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  5. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Very Well-Known Member
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    Hence, the separate denominations of which I am somewhat apprehensive about. From the pulpit to the layman, each denomination calls for certain priorities to be observed in order to be a proper "Christian" and because of that I have a heavy non-denominational stance.

    Nearly all commentary has a certain bias surrounding them and for that I have found that a comforting reply to all of it would be Proverbs 3:5-6, Pslams 119:11, and John 3:16. All else finds itself inclusive within that structure so any added instruction outside that same structure on what it means to be a Christian (to me) could be deemed as superfluous information.
     
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  6. Denise Happyfeet

    Denise Happyfeet Very Well-Known Member
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    This is true in the world @Sheldon Scott. As for me, I believe that I am a sinner who needs the salvation that Jesus offered to all, if we only believe in Him, and ask Him to be "our" Lord and Saviour. A christian is imperfect, like me, falls short of perfection which only makes sense since why would I need Jesus if I was already perfect, as He is. God the Father will not look upon sin, so He sent Jesus, His only son, to reconcile the fallen world with God. To die in our place as a final sacrifice for sin.

    This is just a start of all that I believe. God gave me the choice to believe, and I made it. I doubt Him, I yell at Him, I fall down. He always picks me up and puts my feet back on solid ground. Sometimes people say you couldn't be a christian, you're a hypocrite because you aren't perfect like Jesus. I feel bad because I am not perfect, and maybe I'm not a christian, but then I remember that it is only by His Grace, His sacrifice that I am saved, not by anything I can do or be.

    I'm glad I saw your OP this a.m. @Babs Hunt We are saved by Grace, not because we are such shining examples of Christ. That doesn't mean I go around cock-sure that I can do anything "wrong" or sinful that I want to because I'm saved, haha! I am ashamed and my heart aches when I remember what He's done for me so I can be reconciled to Him. Nothing like Santa Claus and "have you been a good boy or girl? If so, you get a present".
     
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  7. Denise Happyfeet

    Denise Happyfeet Very Well-Known Member
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    I don't attend church at all anymore because there were so many imperfect people there. It's laughable when I say it out loud. Maybe I'll go again someday, or I won't. I know there are lots of christians that do not attend church, but like me, they believe in One True God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all separate, yet all part of the God-head. A mystery maybe one day christians will get to know all about how that works;)

    When I read about the churches back after Jesus assent into heaven, and they were the way I want them to be today. The ones I've found are mostly not, although I have attended some wonderful churches (groups of christians) that reminded me a lot of the way the first churches were. I loved the South for many reasons, but a tiny church I attended for 3 years, near Florence, was wonderful. One of the verses I love most is this one:

    Matthew 7:5New King James Version (NKJV)
    5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    The world today seems to have it backwards, and instead sees all the wrongs in other people around us, but maybe never able to it's own wrongs.
     
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  8. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    @Denise Happyfeet you have spoken the truth for sure about most of the churches now days. I attend one to worship God when I feel like it but most of the time I don't find the Holy Spirit is alive in those churches. And it's hard to find one where you feel God's presence now days. That's just another sign to me off the "falling away" of the end days before Christ returns to earth.
     
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  9. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Very well put.
     
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  10. Denise Happyfeet

    Denise Happyfeet Very Well-Known Member
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    I remember a gal-friend all worried that I wasn't going to a "spirit-filled" church and I asked her "doesn't the Holy Spirit dwell in people, not a church"? I think maybe you mean something else, it's just it reminded me of that;)
     
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  11. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    Yes, the Holy Spirit definitely lives in each child of God but a child of God can also tell when the Holy Spirit is in the building too! :)
     
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  12. Denise Happyfeet

    Denise Happyfeet Very Well-Known Member
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    I don't believe that is always true @Babs Hunt Yes, I have felt the presence of God, but I sometimes don't. I don't believe that means He is not there.
     
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  13. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    Here we may differ in opinion @Denise Happyfeet and that's okay. I don't believe the Holy Spirit is in every building that calls itself a Christian Chuch nor is He dwelling in every one who calls themselves a Christian.

    I do believe it is possible for some Christian churches to be "quenching" the Holy Spirit at times.
     
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  14. Denise Happyfeet

    Denise Happyfeet Very Well-Known Member
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    I simply believe God is everywhere @Babs Hunt
     
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  15. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    He wants to be everywhere...that's for sure @Denise Happyfeet but sometimes people just refuse to let Him come in.
     
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  16. Denise Happyfeet

    Denise Happyfeet Very Well-Known Member
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    He is omnipresent, whether we "let" Him in or not, in my understanding of the bible.
     
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  17. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    @Denise Happyfeet the last thing I want to do today is argue over "legalities". It has been my experience in many churches that I have gone to in my lifetime where the Spirit of God was not present in that church. Whether He was there and just didn't show Himself is a possibility. God definitely can be everywhere at one time, but I believe just as Jesus walked away from places and people who did not want Him in their lives....God does not stay where He is not wanted either.
     
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  18. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Although it's been awhile since I went to catholic school, I always learned and believed you don't go to heaven by grace alone...you have to confess and be a good person also.
     
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  19. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    I'm wondering @Denise Happyfeet if your gal-friend meant when she said "spirit-filled" church if she was talking about a denominational church that spoke in tongues, danced, was "slain by the Spirit. etc.? Do you know if this was what she was talking about?
     
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  20. Denise Happyfeet

    Denise Happyfeet Very Well-Known Member
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    Well first, I didn't know we were arguing, I'm just stating what I believe to be true of what the bible says. Second, it's not just a possibility as I understand it, it is what God tells us,

    here's a few verses: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/God,-Present-Everywhere

    You say the Spirit of God was not present, and I say He is everywhere, simple as that. You're saying God vacates the wherever He is not wanted, I do not believe that. I believe He will give a person over to their sinful ways yes, but I believe He is ever present longing for them to change their mind. Jesus had a lot to do in 3 years, and He was fully God, and Fully Human, so His Human self could not be everywhere at the same time (well He could have if that had been the plan).

    But you were right earlier I can see, we do differ in our beliefs. So I will leave it at this.
     
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  21. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    I think we are saying the same thing @Denise Happyfeet just in different ways. Your one quote above is what I believe too. I just usually say that it is us that turns our back on God, He is always waiting for us to turn back to Him.
     
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  22. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    There are dozens of references in the Bible to the Spirit of God coming upon someone. If the Spirit of God were everywhere already, then how could the Spirit of God come upon someone?

    The word that is translated, in the Old Testament, as "Spirit," as in the Spirit of God, literally means "breath" or "exhalation."

    In Old Testament usage, breath is often used to represent life, living, or a creative force.

    "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." -- Job 33:4

    "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." -- Genesis 1:2-3

    In the New Testament, the Greek word that is translated as "Spirit" means the same thing as the Old Testament word that is translated similarly -- breath, although it is used differently.

    While the OT word is used to refer to the creation of physical life, the NT word is used to refer to the power that comes upon a Christian when the Holy Spirit comes upon him, or to the Holy Spirit Himself.

    "After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” -- Matthew 3:16-17

    " For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." -- Romans 8:14

    In the New Testament, the Spirit is often said to come upon someone or upon a room like a wind, blowing where it pleases. So I think it might be wrong to assume that the Spirit of God is everywhere.

    God is everywhere, but God exists in three persons: God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and it does seem that the Spirit is picky about the places He chooses to go.

    In particular, I don't see that the Holy Spirit is present in a non-Christian, so it would stand to reason that the Holy Spirit may not be in a church that will not submit to the will of God.
     
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  23. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    This is what I was trying to put into words when I said I have not felt the Spirit in many churches. God will not go where He is not wanted is as close as I knew how to say it.
     
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  24. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I thought you were pretty clear on that, and I agree.
     
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  25. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    My sister came to visit me the other day when she and her husband were in from Florida to visit with his Mom and she said to me: "Barbara, everytime I come to your home I feel the spirit of peace in your home and I just don't want to leave." Her home in Florida is the same way and that peace comes from inviting God's spirit to live in our home...we invited Him in and never want Him to leave us. So many churches today invite everyone in but Him and a person who has Christ living within them can feel the difference to me.
     
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