Have you ever had one of those “aw-ha” moments when something you were familiar with but never really thought about was revealed to you in just an ordinary Sunday night service? This happened to me last Sunday when my pastor, Bro Dennis Knowles, asked the question, “Are you a Christian or just saved?” At first this question did not make much sense. However through his message and with much thought and prayer, the question can be overpowering.
The word “Christian” has gotten so watered down in our society today that if asked, nearly everyone may believe they are a Christian. Many times, especially in America, they may have one of multiple responses. “I was baptized… “, “I am a member of… “, My father was a preacher… “, “I go to church… “, “I am a good person… ” and the list goes on. All of these are great but none of them define you as a Christian and none of these guarantee your salvation.
Salvation, “being saved”, is only possible when one accepts Jesus Christ as their personally Lord and Savior. John 3:16 is probably the most memorized verse in the Bible. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This promise is available to everyone. Many accept this promise of Jesus Christ being their personal Savior. But do we sometimes fail to make him our Lord?
Wikipedia basically states that the word Christian can be defined as a person who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. The term is also used as an adjective meaning, “all that is noble, and good, and Christ-like”. The Bible only gives us 3 verses where the word “Christian” is used:
Acts 11:26 gives us the origin of the word. “… And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” It is interesting to note that this body of believers did not come up with this name for themselves. The name was attached to them because of their testimony. These followers of Christ had the behavior of Christ, their activities represented Christ and their speech reflected Christ.
Acts 26:27-28 calls us as Christians to witness. “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Paul was passionate about telling others about what Christ had done for him. In 1 Timothy 1:15 Paul states, “… that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” People need to see those who have accepted Christ living this message but they need to hear this message.
1 Peter 4:16 reflects on how you handle suffering. “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” Accepting Christ as your Savior in no way guarantees a life without pain, tragedy or suffering. Even when you think you are living inside the perfect will of God, heartaches happen. How do you handle yourself during these difficult times? Allowing God to work through you during these times is how God will be glorified.
So the question, “Are you a Christian or just Saved?”, basically asks the question “Can others see Jesus in me?” If Jesus was physically sitting next to you, would you act any different? Would you tell others what a wonderful Friend this Man is to you? Would you come to Him and have Him comfort you during tragedy? Being saved is extremely important for you but being a Christian is extremely important for others. Can they see Christ through you?