A Christian is a person who has been “born again,” and has the holy spirit from God sealed inside him. The moment a person takes Jesus Christ as his Lord, and believes that God raised Jesus from the dead, God creates His own nature inside the person, and he is “saved” (Romans 10:9). God is holy, and God is spirit, so what God creates inside the person is called “holy spirit.” This creation is permanent, and so God calls it “birth,” because birth is a permanent event; it cannot be undone. It is called the “New Birth,” or “Born Again,” and it is being born of God that makes Christians His children (1 John 3:1) and God our “Father.”
Sometimes it helps us to know what something is by knowing what it is not.
- Going to a Christian church does not make a person a Christian. Many people go to church but have never had faith in Christ.
- Being raised in a Christian family does not make a person a Christian. Many people raised in Christian families never have faith and Christ and never get born again.
- Being water baptized does not make someone a Christian. Many people who have been water baptized have never had faith in Christ and actually gotten saved.
- Acting “Christian,” or doing good Christ-like deeds does not make someone a Christian. People of many religions do good things, but do not have the gift of holy spirit born inside them. Furthermore, sadly, many people who do have faith in Christ and are born again do not actin a Christian manner. However, we all know people who come from good families but are not good people, and that is true of God’s family too. Some genuine Christians are not good people.
There are different aspects to the instantaneous event the Bible calls the New Birth, which occurs when a person has faith in Christ and becomes a “Christian.”
- “Saved.” A Christian is someone who has been “saved” from everlasting death, and given everlasting life.
- “Born Again.” The term “Born Again” shows that God is the Father of the Christian (1 Pet. 1:3, 23). When a person has faith in Christ, there is an actual birth. “Born again” is not just a colorful metaphor; it describes a spiritual reality. God the Father, who is holy and is spirit, puts His nature (“holy spirit”) inside each saved person.
- “Child of God.” A person who is “born” of God becomes a “child” of God (1 John 3:1, 2) and gets the divine nature of the Father (2 Pet. 1:4).
- “Baptized in holy spirit.” The term “baptized in holy spirit” emphasizes the spiritual power that the presence of holy spirit brings, and also that—unlike water that is only on the surface of the body—the holy spirit penetrates and permeates the entire person; every cell of a Christian’s body is saturated with holy spirit.
- “New Creation.” Christians are “new creations” because God creates His gift of holy spirit each believer (2 Cor. 5:17).
- “Member of the Body of Christ.” Every Christian is part of a collective group known as the “Body” of Christ, of which Jesus Christ is the head (Rom. 12:5; Col. 1:18).
Christians are also “sealed” (Eph. 1:13) with the gift of holy spirit; it is born in them and permanently part of his nature. That is also why God uses the term “guarantee,” because the Christian has a “guarantee” of everlasting life (Eph. 1:14; 2 Cor. 1:22 and 5:5).
The loss of the real meaning of “Christian” has caused a lot of confusion in the Church today.
A “Christian” is someone who, by confessing Christ as Lord and believing God raised him from the dead, got “Born Again,” and so has the gift of holy spirit born and sealed inside him. It is the presence of the holy spirit created (“born”) inside the person that makes him a Christian. A person who does not have the holy spirit inside him does not fit the biblical definition of “Christian” even if he or she has been baptized, goes to Church, and is a good person.