It is easy to look at the huge variety of people who call themselves Christians and be confused about exactly what a Christian is. Sometimes people use "Christian" just to mean a moral person or as a word to describe someone who goes to church. Some people think "Christian" refers to a political view.
A LOOK AT HISTORY
The first time anyone was called a Christian is recorded in the Bible. "It was there at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians" (Acts 11:26, New Living Translation).
The people who believed that Jesus was God also chose to live like Him. As a result, a group of people in Antioch teasingly applied Jesus' title of Christ as a label for His followers.
WHAT CHRISTIANS BELIEVE
The word "Christian" is less important then the spiritual reality it illustrates.
Christians know God loves them.
They recognize their rebellion separates them from God. This is what the Bible calls sin.
They know Jesus came to earth, died and came to life again to offer forgiveness.
Christians have responded to God's offer of forgiveness by making a choice to stop living for themselves and allow God to make them who He wants them to be.
NOT BASED ON BEHAVIOR
Many people think they must behave a certain way to become a Christian. The Bible explains that becoming a Christian is not about behavior, but about responding to Jesus' offer of forgiveness.
"God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it" (Ephesians 2:8,9, NLT).
However, people behave differently after becoming a Christian because their relationship with God changes them. People do good things for many reasons, but a Christian is motivated to do good things because they love God.
By Evangeline Vergo, Campus Crusade for Christ International