It was in the city of Antioch that the disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians. People were calling these first century believers “little Christs.”
Today, the term Christian has been so watered-down and overused that few people really seem to know what it means anymore. But at Antioch, they knew what it meant, and they accepted the name and clothed it with such honor and dignity that it has become the most precious designation for Christ’s disciples.
The people of Antioch named the believers for what they saw in them. They were Christians. Sounds a little like “Christ in us.”
Those first century believers bore the name of Christ. They were Christ’s men and Christ’s women, Christ’s teenagers and Christ’s kids. They belonged to Jesus, and they didn’t care who knew it.
When people saw them, they saw Christ.
The all-inclusiveness of the name Christian today is disturbing. People imagine that they are Christian simply because they were born in America or because they were born into a “Christian” family.
Christian is not a distinction derived from a birthplace. It is not the result of your heritage.
Sometimes, I wonder if the claim of so much hypocrisy in the church has anything to do with the possibility that so many who call themselves Christian have never really had an encounter with Jesus Christ.
It is something to think about. Sadly, many who refer to themselves as Christian have never really established a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Don’t settle for just calling yourself a Christian. Be one. Live the life God is calling you to live. Becoming a Christian is really very simple. It begins by admitting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior.
You must be willing to turn from your sins and yield yourself to Christ. That’s repentance. Not only am I sorry for my sins, but I am sorry enough to change. Then, as we ask Christ to forgive us of our sins, he has promised to do so.
The Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. Christ in us. Christian. We literally become Christ’s people as he fills us with his powerful presence. The Christian life in not about imitation. It is about inhabitation. The Spirit of Christ dwelling in us.
If you are a sincere follower of Jesus Christ, if you know what it means to have your sins forgiven, you bear the name of Christ. You are a Christian. Don’t you think you should live like it?
You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.