Why Your Definition of “Christian” is too Narrow

Wes  —  December 17, 2014
  • Sumo

When we think of the word, “Christian,” what comes to mind? How do we define this word in our minds? Most people think a Christian is someone who “goes to church” or has been baptized or tries to follow the teachings of the Bible. But I would like to suggest that most of us don’t have a full understanding of the word “Christian” because we don’t understand the root word, “Christ.”

WHY YOUR DEFINITION OF

What Does “Christ” Mean?

“Christ” is not Jesus’ last name. It is His title. The word, “Christ,” comes from a Greek word meaning, “anointed one.” The equivalent Hebrew word is, “Messiah.” So, when someone says, “Jesus Christ,” that literally means, “Jesus the Anointed One.”

In the Old Testament, kings and priests were appointed by anointing them with oil (see Exodus 28-29; 1 Samuel 10). The Jews knew that one day a man would come who would be the ultimate Anointed One. He would be a descendent of King David who would save, deliver, and lead the people.

This Anointed One would not just be a King to the Jews, but would be the King of the entire world. He would be the “seed of Abraham” through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed (see Genesis 22:18).

Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One, the King

Matthew begins his gospel account by saying, “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” The first four books of the New Testament are written to establish the fact that Jesus is God’s Anointed One, who is King of all the nations. The apostle John said he wrote his account, “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).

Much of Jesus’ teaching revolved around “the kingdom.” This is the kingdom over which He rules as King. Using parables, Jesus taught what the kingdom of God was “like” and how a person could “enter” the kingdom. He admitted to Pilate that He was King and His Kingdom was not of this earth (John 18:36).

Being a Christian is More than You Think

When we think of being a Christian as simply “going to church,” being baptized, or trying to follow the Bible, we have a very limited and narrow view of what it means to b a Christian. Yes, a Christian is someone who has been baptized, goes to worship, and tries to follow the Bible – but it is so much more than that!

Because “Christ” means that Jesus is the Anointed King, “Christian” means to recognize and submit to the Kingship of Jesus. Eventually, everyone will recognize and submit to the Kingship of Jesus (Philippians 2:10), but many will come to this realization too late. On the Day of Judgement, they will see the King return and for them it will not be a welcome sight:

The Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).

What Difference Does it Make?

When we learn to think of Jesus as King, and submit ourselves completely to His authority, it will change the way we do everything. It will change the way we read Scripture, the way we treat others, the way we worship, and the way we think about the church (which is His kingdom).

The great message of the church is this: Jesus is King! He is offering you a pardon; complete immunity from all your lawless rebellion. If you do not accept this pardon and submit to His authority, you will be eternally punished when He returns a second time.

Christians are those who have heard the message, accepted the King’s pardon, and live humbly in submission to His authority. Christians are not perfect. We fall short, but we live – not for ourselves – but to please our King (2 Corinthians 5:9).

Are you truly a Christian? Or do you just “go to church”? Think about it.

I love you and God loves you,

Wes McAdams