<<Christian, a follower of Christ>>
Central to the Christian belief is the acknowledgement that Christ died, was buried, and rose again, confirming Him as the Son of God (1 Cor 15:3,4). The faith that makes a person a Christian is a personal trust in Jesus, who gave His life in our place because of our sins and rose again for our justification which means we are totally acquitted in God’s sight (Rom 4:24,25). Righteousness (right standing with God) and eternal life are given to those who believe in Him and claim Him as their Saviour and Lord (Jn 3:15,16,18,36; Rom 10:9,10). This gift of salvation is not based on our efforts or abilities and is found in no other person (Act 4:12; Eph 2:8,9).
All Christians are in effect our brothers and sisters in Christ, because we have been adopted into the same heavenly family (Eph 2:19; 1 Tim 5:1,2). We are all one in Christ; in God’s eyes there are no divisions or levels but all equal regardless of gender, nationality, language, economic or social standing in the natural realm (Jn 17:21; Gal 3:28). While it is natural to develop strong relationships with others in the Church (the body of Christ) as we worship and serve God together, this must be with “absolute purity” (1 Tim 5:2; Heb 10:25).
Does my lifestyle prove I am a believer?
between fellow believers, who focus on small differences of doctrine rather than the major areas of commonality of belief in Christ.
Our trust in Jesus is outworked in obedience to the Bible’s message and any subsequent guidance resulting in a life devoted to Christ through whom we touch the world around us. Believers are Christ’s representatives to the lost and maybe the only ‘Bible’ these non-Christians will read. Although we are not to form binding relations such as marriage or business partnerships with non-believers we should not isolate ourselves from them, but rather live out the Christian life as salt and light by being an influence for good (Mt 5:13-16; 2 Cor 6:14). We are in the world yet not of it (Jn 17:15,16).
A secret believer is one who because of the hostile nature of government, society or family is liable for intense harassment, persecution and maybe death if they will not recant their faith in Christ. They do not openly publicise the fact they are a believer to avoid drawing attention to themselves, but rather seek to win others to Christ through deep friendship and meet secretly with other believers in ‘underground’ churches. The ‘freedom of religion’ whereby people are at liberty to practice their beliefs is permitted by many nations, however this is not the case in others.
Jesus said, “Whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven” (Mt 10:32,33). We need to pray for the persecuted believers – that they will have wisdom in living for Christ and how they share Him with others, to be kept safe from betrayal or if they are caught they will remain true to Christ even when it results in martyrdom.