What is a Christian?
Gospel Light and Perspective
The question I ask in this post's title may seem curious to some. The answer to Jones' question is simply this, a person who experiences the resurrected life of Jesus Christ. Still, Martyn Lloyd Jones asked Evangelicals who were entering into cooperation with teachers who denied biblical truths. He did this during the ecumenical movement of the 1960s. The movement popularized that professing Christians should be regarded as being so, irrespective of what they believe or deny. This fact can be found in Iain Murry's book, The Life of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, pages 392-393.
The definition of a Christian can be observed in every faithful person in the Bible. The story that God redeems a people for Himself begins with the person of Abraham. In the book of Genesis, beginning in chapter 11, we learn that Terah Abram's father took Abram and his family "...from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan..." Abram was not a perfect man because God does not hide his flaws, but his transformation is remarkable.
There is a significant distinction between Old and New Testament believers in that the Old had but a shadow of things to come concerning Jesus Christ, and in the New, we have the very substance in our understanding.
That being said, God worked miracles of transformation in the lives of individual believers during those days. The story of Abraham is recapped for us in Hebrews 11:17-19. "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and the one who had received the promises was offering up his only son; it was he to whom it was said, "THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE NAMED." He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type."
Let us understand that Abraham came from Ur, a land of idolaters, and in time became a worshipper of the one true God, and his worship is characterized for us by extreme obedience. The promise to Abraham was that he would be the head of a great and mighty nation of people through whom the whole world would be blessed. So, when Abraham obeyed God and became willing to trust God, which is in opposition to all other people who take their lives into their own hands and do whatever they desire and rebel against God in countless ways, we witness a miracle of transformation.
Abraham had to have been tormented over the prospect of having to kill his beloved son, and through whom came extravagant prosperity. His son! Nevertheless, he would have done it until God stopped his knife-filled hand. No godly or moral people kill their children; only the most despicable sinners do so. Nevertheless, God stayed Abraham's hand and offered His own Son instead. "And Abraham named that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." Genesis 22:14 The mountain spoken of was Calvary.
Furthermore, "And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised..." Hebrews 11:39. What verse 39 means is that Abraham, like all the saints described in chapter eleven, did not live for the here and now but for life to come and received saving and transforming faith.
Regardless of how liberals want to redefine a Christian, the Biblical fact is Christ took the sins for whom He died into the grave, and their penalty and power as far from each other as the east is from the west, in a straight line, and buried them in the depths of the sea. Therefore, God imparts the righteous, resurrected life of Christ to those who believe, by which they become transformed and obedient to God and for His glory.
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