We want to help people come to life…
…and to experience the radical grace that God offers through a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. This is a response to the ‘good news’ of Jesus – the Gospel.
What is the Gospel?
To understand what a real Christian is we first need to understand the Gospel. ‘The Gospel’ means ‘good news’ – it is the news about Jesus Christ, who he is and why he came into the world. The Apostle Paul summed up the message of the gospel as…
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
At the heart of properly understanding why Jesus came into the world are these basic truths:
- God is holy
- Humanity is sinful
- Christ died for sinners and rose again
- A response is required
To do nothing is to effectively reject it – to accept is to have taken the steps that follow…
We live in an age when there is often confusion about what it means to be a Christian
- Some claim to be Christians because they believe in God. However, this is clearly inadequate as people in other religions believe in God but aren’t Christians. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that even demons believe in God!
- Some claim to be Christians because they try to live a good life and do good to others etc. But many non-religious people would seek to do this but reject any link to Christianity.
- Some claim to be Christians on the basis of church attendance and other Christian activities. However, the Bible says that some people who are involved in such activities (even in the ‘name of Jesus’) will not be accepted by him .
Becoming a genuine Christian?
The Bible teaches that becoming an authentic Christian is the work of the Holy Spirit and involves three key things:
Christians recognise that they have lived contrary to God’s will and His standards, that they have offended and grieved God by their actions and are sorry they have done so. Crucially it involves a change of mind so they turn away from that old way of living and seek to live God’s way. Repentance is more than just regret or sorrow (although these would be appropriate emotions to feel) – it is a decision to renounce ‘old ways’.
Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that only through Him there is forgiveness for sin. So whereas Repentance is turning from sin – Believing (or faith) is turning to Jesus. Believing in Jesus is trusting that through His death for you (i.e. Jesus taking God’s punishment for your sin) that you are put right with God.
Christians are people who are ready to declare/admit before others that they are followers of Jesus. While this aspect of being a Christian is not referred to as frequently as Repentance and Believing in the Bible, it was the expectation of the early church and is something that those who would be Christians must be prepared to do. Baptism is a very public way of ‘confessing’ you belong to Jesus (Acts 3:41).
Repenting, believing and confessing are the hallmarks of New Testament Christians.