Disciple of Christ - What Does It Mean to be a True Christian?
Do you consider yourself to be a disciple of Christ? "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? -- unless indeed you are disqualified" (2 Corinthians 13:5).
The Bible declares, "It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). The Bible also says, "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).
Therefore, to be saved from our sins, and thus from the sting of death, we must: (1) confess Jesus as Lord, and (2) believe that after He died upon the cross for our sins, He was raised from the dead. It goes without saying, that Jesus will not be our Savior apart from us proclaiming Him as . Part of salvation includes believing in our heart that Jesus Christ is truly Lord over life and death.
Disciple of Christ - What Does it Mean to Make Jesus our Sovereign Lord?
Part of being a disciple of Christ is stewardship and repentance. If God is sovereign, He owns everything. If God owns everything, we own nothing. We don't so much as own the bodies we possess. The Bible says, "For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:20). "Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ… " (1 Peter 1:18-19).
We don't have ownership rights -- we have management responsibilities. This basic realization is the foundation for Christian stewardship. Good stewardship is the wise management of God's property (you, your health, your money, your time, etc.), including how you invest it as His steward.
One fundamental lesson we as Christians must learn is: God knows best! God knows everything! He loves us as children (adopted into the family through Christ) and has set principles for us to live by in His Word, the Bible. We must follow God's principles. They are for our own protection. We live in a hostile world that has willfully rejected its Creator God, and we, as His children, are not immune to the world's trials, tribulations and temptations. Once we learn this hard lesson, and we outgrow the childish notion that we know better than God, then it's easier to submit to Him and say, "Lord, forgive me, I was wrong... I've been living a life you disapprove of and I want to change. Help me to live the life you approve of." This is the essence of repentance. To repent is to regret your sin, denounce your sin, turn from your sin, and turn to God.
Jesus said, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel" (Mark 1:15). The Apostles "went out and preached that people should repent" (Mark 6:12). Jesus declared, "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3,5). "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord... " (Acts 3:19).
We all want a Savior. To be a disciple of Christ, we need a sovereign Lord. How do we accept Jesus Christ as sovereign Lord? We need to give Him the place in our lives that He deserves and requires, and repent of our old ways. We must be born-again. We all have a choice. We can either live our life the way we please, obeying God and disobeying God as we feel is best, or we can recognize that Christ alone offers salvation. Christ alone offers a relationship with God. Christ alone offers significance and purpose to life that we can never achieve by our own wisdom or might -- a significance and purpose the world cannot offer. Trust in Jesus Christ for your eternal salvation, and trust that He is truly worthy of first place in your life.
Disciple of Christ - So What's a Born-again Christian?
A disciple of Christ has truly been reborn. A born-again Christian is one who both believes in God AND receives Him. As a result, the believer/receiver is born again into the family of God. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13).