In our society it seems that the term Christian gets used almost flippantly to meet the desire of the communicator. But true, orthodox Christianity may be revealed a bit different than most think. Unlike many conceptions, Biblical Christians make a huge distinction between religion and Christianity. Religion is defined as an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence (Wikipedia). While there are defining borders to the term, Christianity is better defined as a people group embracing a relationship with the Son of God.
What defines a true follower of Christ is someone who has accepted both the salvific nature and lordship of the person of Jesus Christ. It is an understanding that Jesus paid the price that the Father demanded for sin (therefore understanding that we cannot earn our way into heaven) and allowing Him to be lord over our lives. This acceptance is not something that is purely intellectual. Instead, it is walked out in a close relationship with the Spirit of God through a continual shaping of our will to His. A Christian is not one that lives by a list of do's and don't's but is instead following the leading of Christ through His Spirit. And because God is spirit (Jn 4:24) our walk will be filled with the evidence of the supernatural!
The reality of the Christian walk was revealed to me most dramatically over 13 years ago on the short-term mission field. During that time, I found myself in the midst of a ministry that not only understood our relationship with God but operated in its supernatural ways. On this trip (and many subsequent trips in the following years), I saw the Spirit of God break into the natural world and bring emotional and physical healing to people's lives. This included restoration of past hurts and relationships, individuals' hearing being restored (or operable for the first time ever), people literally receiving sight, and people being healed of diseases such as cancer and AIDS.
Brad Livermon. PHOTO PROVIDED.
Over the years, I have come to realize that such evidence of God's Spirit comes as people accept the atoning work and leadership of Christ. Through our submission to Jesus and His ways, there will be undeniable evidence of the supernatural. So while there are many ideas of what a Christian is, the Bible states that we will both do and produce fruit according to who our true Master is (Matt 5:15-20, Jn 14:12). This can only come through genuine relationship through accepting His salvation and submission to His lordship.