What is a Christian?

I’m so glad you asked!  I’ll start by telling you that being a Christian isn’t what most people today seem to think it is.

What Christianity is not:

  • Being a Christian is not about living “the American dream.”
  • Being a Christian is not about trying to earn your way to heaven by doing good works.
  • Being a Christian is not thinking that you’re good enough to get into heaven because you know a lot of people who are worse than you are.
  • Keeping a lot of laws that make you look “religious” doesn’t make you a Christian.
  • Having your name on a church’s mailing list doesn’t make you a Christian.
  • Wearing jewelry with a cross on it doesn’t make you a Christian.

What Christianity is about:

  • Christianity is about having a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
  • Christianity is about knowing that your sins have been paid for because Jesus gave His life for you, and that you have been set free from the power of sin over your life.
  • Christianity is about putting Jesus in charge of your life, seeking His will, asking Him to direct you in everything you do by filling you with His Holy Spirit.
“Why do I need saving?  I think I’m a pretty good person.” 

The question is, how good is “pretty good”, and is that good enough to get into heaven?  How good is good enough to get God’s approval?  The answer is, no one is good enough to deserve heaven.  In fact, as God sees you, you aren’t really “good” at all.  Here are few Bible passages that tell us how God sees us.

The LORD looks down from heaven
on the sons of men
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
All have turned aside,
they have together become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.  (Psalm 14:2-3)
Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.  (Mark 10:18)
No one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by trying to keep the law.  Rather, it is through the law that we become conscious of sin.   (Romans 3:20)

Now you see the Biblical definition of good: without sin!  But how can anyone overcome sin in their lives?  By our own effort we cannot hope to do this at all.  That is why God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to the earth.  He was the only human being who ever lived a life without sin.  And because He was without sin, He was in a unique position.  He was able to offer His life to pay for the sins of others, and that is exactly what He did.

If you aren’t sure who Jesus Christ is, and why you should trust Him with your life, get a Bible and read the part entitled, “The Gospel According to John”.  It is the fourth book in the New Testament, the second half of the Bible.  If you don’t have access to a Bible, go to this web site - www.americanbible.org  In the “Search the Bible” window that takes you to any book of the Bible, just type “John” and click “search”.  When you have finished reading that, come back and we’ll continue with the next question.

Have you decided to put your trust in Jesus Christ?

The first step to becoming a Christian is knowing that you are a sinner in need of help.  Do you remember reading John 1:29, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  Well, that’s what Jesus wants to be to you.

Jesus said, “It isn’t the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have come to seek and save the lost.”   In fact, every human being on this earth is sick with a terminal disease.  It’s called “sin” and it does not discriminate.  Sin infects everyone from the richest to the poorest, from the President in the White House to the homeless drunk sleeping on the street, regardless of race, color or social position. It’s an equal opportunity killer.

If you know you are a sinner, then there is hope.  Now we can talk about treatment. The treatment for sin is not a medicine, or a therapy. It is a Person: Jesus Christ.  There are two words that are particularly important when we talk about Jesus: Lord, and Savior.

Lord means boss.  The word comes from a time centuries ago when the land was owned by “lords” who not only owned the land but everything on it.  If you were an ordinary person, your “lord” provided you with a place to live, a job to do, and even a church to worship in.  In a real sense, even the people on the land belonged to the lord.

Savior means one who rescues us from a dangerous situation we could not have solved by ourselves.  If someone falls off of a ship at sea, the one who throws them a lifeline and pulls them back onboard could be called their “savior.”

Putting those two words together gives you a complete picture of Jesus.  You will always see these two words used to refer to Jesus.  He is our Savior because He gave His life to pay the price of our sins and save us from a fate of certain death.  He is our Lord because as Christians we place ourselves under His absolute rule.  Our goal is to obey Him completely, as if He held the deed to our lives this world in which we live.  Actually, He does!

If you ask Jesus to receive you, forgive you, and fill you with His Spirit, He will do exactly that.  Listen to His words:

“I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?   Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  Luke 11:9-13

If you are not a Christian and would like to become one, you can take the most important step right now.  What follows is called “The Sinner’s Prayer”.  It’s more of a tradition than a form.  The words vary somewhat from place to place, but the idea is the same.  If you say this prayer from your heart, and truly want to begin a new life on God’s terms, say this prayer, and God will receive you.  Are you ready to pray?

The Sinner’s Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I confess to you that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for all my sins.  Dear Jesus, forgive me for my sins.  I ask you to come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior.  I receive you into my heart and acknowledge You as Lord, Master, and Savior of my life.

I want Your power in my life so that I can serve You according to Your will.  I renounce all evil in my life.  I renounce all forms of witchcraft (“wicca” or “paganism”). I renounce sorcery, seances, fortune telling (ouija boards, tarot cards, psychics), and any other occult powers.  I renounce New Age philosophy, secret societies (Masons, Shriners, “The Lodge”), false religions that are not based on the Word of God (the Bible), and any power that is not from You.  In Your Name, and by Your power, I cast out of my life every evil thing.

I ask You to fill me with Your Holy Spirit.  Fill me with Your Spirit, and give me the gifts of knowledge, wisdom and discernment that I need to follow God’s will.

Because I have asked in faith in the name of Jesus Christ, I trust that I have received.  I thank you Lord Jesus for receiving me as Your own, for forgiving my sins, making me a child of God, and giving me Your Spirit to renew my mind and fill me with Your truth.  Amen.

After you pray this prayer:  A few questions.

“What if I didn’t feel anything?  Does that mean nothing happened?”  Not at all.  God is not a feeling.  God is truth.  If you have prayed that prayer from your heart with a true desire to receive Him, you can rest assured He has already begun answering that prayer.  Watch for your will to begin to change.  And watch for the circumstances that God will place you in as He begins to help you grow in His way.

“What should I do to help me grow in my faith?” First, start reading the Bible and praying regularly.  Even if it’s only a few verses at a time, set aside a time of day when you will read the Bible, fix your attention on God, and practice listening to God.  If you have already read the Gospel of John as I suggested above, then just keep on reading.  The next book of the Bible you will come to is “Acts”.  It’s the story of the first Christians, the beginning days of the church, and it’s a great place to continue your study.

Also, you need to join a good church where you will have the fellowship and support of other Christians who are growing in their faith.  If you are in the Helmetta area, I invite you to join us at St. George Episcopal Church. The other pages on this web site will tell you a good bit about us, but the best way to get to know a church is by attending it.
When you decide on a church to attend, you should introduce yourself to the pastor, make it known that you are a new Christian, and ask about being baptized.

Even if you decide to attend another church, we at St. George’s would like to be praying for you.  If you have made a decision to follow Christ as a result of this web site, please send us an email to let us know and we will pray for you.  You can email us at 

God bless you as you seek to follow Christ on the way that leads to eternal life!