What the Bible Says
Get ready to dive into Scripture! We will mainly be in 2 Corinthians 5 for this study, but we’ll make some other references, too. Last time, we discussed the technical, dictionary definition of Christian fiction and charted our course for the rest of the study. Today, we’re diving in to talk about what it means to be a Christian.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.1 Corinthians 5:21
Yes, this is the last verse of the chapter, but I started with it for a reason. God put it in His plan to have Jesus, His only Son, the Sinless One, to become (or bear) all of our sin on the Cross. He did that so He could exhaust His wrath and judgment for sin on Jesus instead of us, so that when we stand before God on judgment day, God will see Jesus’ righteousness and innocence when He looks at us.
But we have to repent.
Yes, it is the free gift of salvation, but it also costs us everything. We repent (turn away, go in the opposite direction) of our sin and begin to walk in a new direction. The mark of a true Christian is that we follow Christ, His teaching, and His example. Continually.
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow in His steps.1 Peter 2:21
That’s the like we’re called to as Christians. We give up our sin nature, our slavery to sin, to give our lives in return, giving our lives to follow and imitate Christ. Why?
Because we love Him.
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.1 Corinthians 5:14-15
We can’t live for ourselves anymore like we did under sin. Our love for Christ and gratitude for the impossible price He paid compels us to follow and strive to be like Him.
“But wait!” You may be asking, “You jumped straight into talking about Jesus dying and taking our punishment for sin, but why did He have to die?”
Good question. The Bible tells us that sin is anything we do that disobeys God. God gave us a standard to live by, and we break His laws everyday. And when we break the law, there are consequences. Here are His laws on a basic level:
The Ten Commandments:
- I am the Lord you God; you shall have no other gods before Me
- You shall not make for yourselves any graven image (idols, anything we put before Him)
- You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
- Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy
- Honor your father and mother
- Do not murder… or even hate (Matt. 5:21-22)
- Do not commit adultery… or look at someone with lust (Matt. 5:27-28)
- Do not steal
- Do not bear false witness (lie, fib, tell a half-truth)
- Do not covet
Looking at this list, I know I’m guilty starting with number 1. I don’t put God and His precepts first always. Therefore, according to Scripture, I deserve death.
… but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.Genesis 2:17
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.Romans 6:23
That’s why we need Christ. That’s why we need to repent. God is reconciling us to Himself though Jesus Christ and sanctifying us to be like Him.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.1 Corinthians 5:17-20
This is what it means to be a Christian. If you are a Christian writer, then you need to evaluate and make sure that you are following the requirements of Scripture. Next time, we’ll be talking about what God expects of us as Christians.