8 Beliefs of a True Christian
With so many different types of Christianity, it’s no surprise disagreements arise over what it means to be “Christian.” How do we know we are true Christians?
It may seem like a simple question—“How do I know that I am a true Christian?”—with a simple answer: “A Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ.”
But if it’s that simple, why are there around 40,000 different denominations from which to choose? The truth is that it is a very complex question demanding a well thought-out answer. Hopefully the following short list, by no means exhaustive, will help you begin to answer this important question.
Nearly all denominations would most likely agree on the first four beliefs (because of their clear biblical origin). But many denominations would likely disagree on the last four, and that should give us pause as we consider what a true Christian must believe.
1. God exists.
One cannot be a Christian if he or she doesn’t first believe in an invisible power that created everything (Genesis 1:1; 2:4). It is foundational that a true Christian will believe in a Supreme Being of superior power and intellect.
2. Jesus Christ was God in the flesh.
Christianity is based on Jesus Christ. Christians believe He did exist and walk the roads of Judea about 2,000 years ago. But it isn’t enough to believe simply that the historical figure Jesus Christ lived. A Christian must believe He was the Son of God. He was the Word (the being who communicated with mankind in the Old Testament) who came to earth as a human being(John 1:1-3, 14; Philippians 2:5-8).
3. Christ died for the sins of all humanity and was raised to eternal life.
“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). This statement from John the Baptist sums up the Christian belief that Christ sacrificed Himself so that every human being may be forgiven his or her sins (Hebrews 9:28). Jesus also had to be raised to life again after His death or we would still be in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17).
4. Followers of Christ should be characterized by having love for one another.
Jesus Christ made this crucial statement identifying His followers: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Love, outward concern for others, should be a key descriptor of every Christian.
So far, so good, right?
Four misunderstood beliefs of true Christianity
The next four items on the list demonstrate why there is, unfortunately, so much division within Christianity.
5. The entire Bible is the inspired Word of God.
Hardly any of the holidays and worship practices common among mainstream Christianity are found in the Bible.Many of these practices come directly out of ancient pagan religions and were adopted into Christianity years after the Bible was written.Have you ever noticed how many Bibles only include Psalms, Proverbs and the New Testament? This is due to a belief among many Christians that the Old Testament is a mix of fictional allegory and boring old law with very little relevance today. Polls show that the percentage of people believing that the whole Bible is the inspired Word of God is declining.
The Bible, however, declares that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
6. God specifically prescribes the way He is to be worshipped.
Hardly any of the holidays and worship practices common among mainstream Christianity are found in the Bible. Why? Because many of these practices come directly out of ancient pagan religions and were adopted into Christianity years after the Bible was written. Christ actually taught that it is possible to worship Him in vain (Mark 7:7). You can learn more about the way God wants us to worship Him here: The 10 Commandments, Sabbath and holy days.
7. Faith and works are required by God.
Ever notice how some Christians say they believe they are “saved” and then proceed to live a life that is anything but Christian? Many Christians believe, contrary to the Bible, that God requires only faith without anything to back up that faith. True Christians, however, do not look at James as a “book of straw.” They understand that salvation is a gift of the grace of God, but they also look carefully to the biblical instruction that joins faith and good works. James 2:18 explains that we show our faith by our works: “But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
8. We have to dramatically change our lives.
What should you do?
Have you found areas where your beliefs don’t reflect true biblical Christianity? It is not too late to change. Here are three action steps you can take to remedy the situation: