What does it mean to be a Christian?

by Matt Slick - video

Some people think that to be a Christian means you can't see movies, that you can't dance, can't have a drink, or that you can't have any more fun. That isn't true. Christianity isn't about rules and regulations to follow. It is about a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Old Testament times, God gave the Law which had to be followed precisely. There were instructions about clothes, food, what you could or could not do on the Sabbath, what you had to do in the temple, how priests were to carry out their functions, how strangers were to be treated, how people were to be punished, etc. All these things were to be observed properly and precisely since all of them affected their standing before God. That was in Old Testament times; but now we have Jesus, and the requirements of the Law are no longer necessary for us in order to please God.

Being a Christian means that you are changed on the inside--not controlled from the outside. It means that your heart has been changed by the presence of God. It does not mean that you are required to go to church, required to pay tithes, required to be good, required to do anything in order to stay a Christian. It means you desire to do those things because you've been changed.


Regeneration means that there has been an actual change in a person. When someone becomes a Christian by trusting in the sacrifice of Christ alone for the forgiveness of his sins, then the Holy Spirit has come and lives in that person. Because the person has been changed from the inside, he does not desire to do those things that are contrary to God. Therefore, he will naturally desire to go to church. He will desire to be good, to be honest, etc. He does not go to church or be good or be honest in order to be a Christian. He does those things because he already is one. It means that those things he desires to do change. He wants to change and wants to please God--from the inside.

So, being a Christian means that you have encountered the true and living God, and that you have undergone a change in your heart and soul. It means that you are not restricted to the Laws of right and wrong in order to please God because you cannot please God by what you do. God will only find pleasure in you through Jesus Christ.

To be a Christian means to follow Christ, to desire Him, to fellowship with Him, to be indwelt by Him, and to bring glory to Him in your life.



About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.