What is a Christian?

Paul also wrote of these two facets of salvation. Titus 3:4-6 says,

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

The washing of regeneration speaks of our cleaning form sin by Christ's death in our place. The renewing by the Holy Spirit tells how we are made alive when His Spirit enters our lives. Forgiven and made alive, with the eternal life of God.

It does not hurt in any way to repeat, and I trust you will ponder this simple summation: A Christian is a person who has been forgiven by God, on the basis of Christ's death in his place, and a person who has received the Holy Spirit of God, God's very life, living in him.

So we have seen that Peter preached a salvation that is composed of the forgiveness of sins and receiving God's Holy Spirit, living in us. The Lord Jesus addressed the same two concepts when He spoke to Nicodemus of his need to be born again. And Paul also presented salvation as having two parts, being cleansed from sin and being renewed, or made alive, by the Holy Spirit.

These are God's solutions for man's two most basic problems. Our two problems are what we have done (our past), and our resultant separation from God. God sent His own Son, Jesus, to bear our sins in His body, on the cross, completely resolving the problem of our past! Additionally, He offers His own eternal life, living in us, in His Holy Spirit. If we are willing to trust in Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven by God and we will never be separated from God again. He calls it a free gift. It would cost too much for anyone to purchase, nor could we ever earn it. No price can be placed on its worth.

Sooner or later we come face to face with the failures in our lives. We have basic standards of what is right and wrong. I know it is wrong for someone to take my things by force or deceit, so I know it is wrong to steal from others. I know it is wrong for someone else to mislead me by dishonesty, so I know I must not lie to you either. Even if I had never heard of God's laws, I have a law built into my own conscience, and it either accuses me or defends me for my actions.

The trouble is that I don't even live up to my own law. God's standards are too high for me ever to measure up. God's law shows us all to be sinners. My past is too heavy to bear, when I see the perfect love of God living out in the life of Jesus Christ. His beautiful life used to condemn me, His selfless love being so very opposite to the self-centeredness which I found in myself.

And then I believed the Bible. John, the Baptizer, called Jesus "the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world." I finally believed God and accepted His complete and utter forgiveness through Jesus Christ Who died to take my sins away forever. When I received the unconditional love of God in Jesus Christ, my life was changed. I then easily believed the truth of God's own life, living in me. I have been forgiven by God on the basis of Christ's death for me and I have been made alive with the very life of God, in His Holy Spirit, living in me.

If you can see these two needs in your own life, the solution is in Jesus Christ. You can resolve the two fundamental problems of your life by entrusting yourself to Jesus Christ, right now. Jesus will take your sins away for ever, and give you a new life, His very life, living in you. Is there any reason that you would not like to receive His forgiveness and life, right Now? John said,

"For God so lived the world, that he gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life."

Eternal life is God's life, living in you. He alone is eternal, without beginning or end. His life comes to us when we are forgiven by God on the basis of Christ's death in our place. At that moment, He places His own Spirit, His very own eternal life, inside of us. He must first take away our sins, so that His Spirit can dwell in us, make us one Spirit with His Spirit.

He hears your thoughts. Trust in Him right now, and you will receive both the forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Speak to Him now, acknowledging your own sin, and ask Him to forgive you and make you alive with His life, His Spirit.

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Updated 7/3/2010