Acts 11:20-27 20 But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. 22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the Church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the Church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. 27 And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch.
The Greek word for a Christian is – Khri-stee-an-os – meaning follower of Christ. The 1828 Noah Webster’s dictionary defines a Christian as: a believer in the religion of Christ. a professor of his belief in the religion of Christ. one of a group of people who are born in a Christian county and or of Christian parents. one who believes in the truth of the Christian religion and follow it. one brought into Christianity by baptism. All these definitions fail to mention the core of who a Christian is. We will be exploring this in the next few weeks. The word ‘Christian’ and ‘Christians’ were mentioned 3 times in the entire King James Version of the Bible. (Acts 26:28 and 1Peter 4:16). The disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians by the unbelievers in Antioch because they saw them do the works of Christ. So they didn’t have the in-depth knowledge of who the disciples were on the inside. The name came purely from their physical observations. The name ‘Christian’ was not given by Christ or God. It was given by people of Antioch based on their observation. This is probably the reason why most of the definitions of a Christian lack the in-depth truth about who a Christian is. The difference between a Christian and a non Christian is the residence of Christ and divine life in a Christian and lack of it in the non-Christian. Being a Christian is the highest identity and honour anybody could have because you get to be a carrier of the presence of the person with the greatest name (Jesus) in your spirit. The non Christians have the human life but the Christians has the divine life. This is really a big deal. The divine life is Zoë in Greek meaning the God-kind of life. The human life is ‘psuche’ in Greek meaning breath (Genesis 2:7).
A Christian is someone who has the divine life as a result of making Jesus Christ the Lord of his/her life. Being born into a Christian country, family, denomination, or religion does not make you a Christian. It might make you a Christian in the eye of human law but not before God. Being born into a Christian environment or Church does not automatically give you eternal life. While Christianity has some religion in it, it is not a religion; it is relationship with God. All the religiosity that is in Christianity is outlined in James 1:27. It is your conscious invitation of Jesus Christ into your life that makes you a Christian and nothing else does. You receive the God-kind of life by confessing with your mouth that Jesus is the Son of God and believing with your heart that God raised Him from death – Romans 10:9-10. This process is called salvation from eternal damnation to eternal life. A Christian is a new creation because of the residence of Christ in him/her – 2 Corinthian 5:17. A Christian is not just a follower of Christ, he is a carrier of Christ. A Christian is Christ personified. He is Jesus Christ living out His divinity through yielded human vessels. Jesus lives out from the spirit of a Christian and manifests in the physical. A Christian is a person whose sins have been forgiven and has been made the righteousness of God. A Christian is no longer condemned. He / She is no longer a sinner but has been made the righteousness of God. This new status is very crucial because it implies that that person has a right standing with God. It means he/she has been acquitted and not found guilty of any offense. It means that he/she has been justified and qualified for glorification – Romans 5:1-2. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 – “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
For Further Study:
2 Corinthians 5:17-21, John 3:16
Questions for Reflection:
- Who are you?
- What is your greatest identity?
- Do you know what has been done for you?
Jesus, as I am now in You, let me manifest the fullness of You in me.