What it means to be a Christian

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, March 18, 2020

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: Because of the debate between politics and religion, many are saying that it’s difficult to determine what Christianity really is. Can it be explained in simple terms? — C.C.

Dear C.C.: There’s great confusion today in what it means to be a Christian. It’s frequently debated in news forums on network television and on the internet. Many think that going to church makes them a Christian, especially those who belong to a particular church.

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Others say that they are Christians because they believe in Jesus, or because they pray and read the Bible. Multitudes believe that going to confession makes them a Christian, while others believe they are Christians because they were born into a Christian family.

Some believe they’re Christians because they give to organizations that feed the poor or go on mission trips to help build houses for the homeless or give medicine to the sick. Others claim Christianity by denying themselves sinful pleasures, or loving their neighbors, or repeating a prayer.

It shouldn’t be surprising when people believe easily in a God who makes no demands, but this isn’t the God of the Bible. Satan’s cleverly misled people by whispering that they can believe in Jesus Christ without being changed, but this is the devil’s lie. The issue’s not “What does becoming a Christian mean to us?” but “What did Jesus say about becoming one of His followers?”

Belief in Christ changes the person. “If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16).

Follow Him obediently today by repenting of sin and turning to the Lord who desires that all people be saved.


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)