The question “What’s a Christian?”, gets a lot of different answers.
The “Webster’s Dictionary” gives this definition —
“A believer and follower of the teachings of Jesus”. Period.
I would add this to the definition —
A person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God,
and our Saviour, because Jesus died for our sins,
and was resurrected, and sits at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven.
I know that some Christians would add even more to this definition, but
the more simple we keep it, the easier it should be to agree.
It is fine to add a bit to this definition,
such as “a person who believes the Bible is from God”,
but some of us add too many requirements to being a Christian.
There are Christians who believe that Christians cannot drink at all.
There are Christians who say certain Christian authors aren’t really Christians,
because they teach differently, even though they teach from the same Bible.
There are some Christians who say President Obama is not a Christian,
because of his past, even though he was baptized in a Christian church, and believes in Jesus.
Other Christians say, you can’t be a Christian if you are divorced and then
get married to someone else.
I have heard all these rules and judgments from Christians.
I did not make these up.
Now, where in the Bible does it say that we can’t be a Christian if…?
There is no sin greater than Jesus Christ.
Jesus can save anyone.
Jesus does not say that your past can keep you from being a Christian.
Jesus does not say that His followers will never sin.
Jesus does not say that His followers will be perfect.
Jesus does not say that His followers are forbidden to read certain books.
Jesus does not say that His followers are forbidden to drink.
Jesus does not say that His followers are forbidden to divorce.
Jesus does not say that His followers must be Nazarenes.
Why do some Christians try to add these rules to the definition of
“What is a Christian”?
All these rules we add do not make us better Christians.
These rules keep people out of our churches.
These rules keep us arguing with each other.
This is not what Jesus taught.
If Jesus did not put these rules on us, then we should not put these rules on others.
In John 13:34-35, Jesus said,
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (NIV)
Let’s keep it simple.
Let’s not make it hard for people to become a Christian.
Let’s not judge Christians by our own made-up rules.
Let’s stay with what Jesus taught.
Jesus said —
His followers must love one another.
His followers must love God.
His followers must stop being selfish.
His followers must believe in Jesus Christ and follow Him.
Let’s leave the judgment to God.