| WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN?
By: Jerry S. Maneker
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in
him.” (1John 2:15)
The obvious answer to the question posed by the title of this article is that a Christian worships Jesus as Lord,
recognizing Him to be the only way to God; he or she loves his or her neighbor as him/herself. Yet, there is an even
deeper meaning to the Christian life.
In the above verse of Scripture, John shows forth the attitude of the man or woman committed to God; the one who
chooses to look to eternal, rather than temporal, things by which to obtain peace. The peace of God need not, and
does not, eliminate suffering. However, it convicts us of our not being condemned by God; His unconditional love for us;
His desire for our ultimate good; His promises to lead us in the battles of life; His deliverance of us to His presence
If we love the things of this world more than God, we are quite foolish. The things of this world are not merely
temporary, but rather short-lived and frequently don’t deliver on their promised satisfactions. For example, how much
alcohol does it take to satisfy an alcoholic? How much sex does it take to satisfy a sex addict? How much drug taking
does it take to satisfy a drug addict?
The answer is, of course, an infinite amount that this world can’t provide. Moreover, if we cast our lot on the things of
this world we have received whatever pleasure is to be had in a rather half-hearted, temporary manner. If we cast our
lot with the Lord and His promise of eternal salvation and bliss, then we have made the better bargain. Clearly, to
choose the latter way is a matter of God’s grace and call upon one’s life. However, all people are without excuse for
seeing the handiwork of God in creation and even in their own lives. (Romans 1:20-21)
To see Christ as not only Lord but as Master of one’s life, and to live that vision, is fundamental to the Christian life! We
are all fallen, fractured, broken crocks of clay, yet for some inexplicable reason, our Creator, our Father, unconditionally
loves each and every one of us. Unfortunately, one of the many mysteries of His love is contained in the following verse
of Scripture, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Hebrews 12:6)
Yet, our call to endurance in the faith requires us to echo the words of Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him….”
(Job 13:15) Like Job, we are called to always keep God and eternity in view, with certainty that God is not a liar and will
keep the promises He has made to all of His children. This quest for the eternal perspective entails many struggles,
given the blandishments and seductiveness of the world and its myriad pleasures. Yet, we are called upon by God to
endure in faith.
We are told that, “…without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and
that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) The more we grow and mature under the
Lordship of Christ we come to know the truth that, “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”
(Hebrews 13:14) We come to not only recognize our failures and inability to stand before a holy, righteous, and just
God; we know we have to throw ourselves upon His mercy to help, save, and deliver us through the chastening and
scourging that is part of our lives.
Yet, in spite of sufferings, and especially because of them, we are called to be transparent and authentic to others,
showing forth the compassion that God has shown us. We believe that God “…comforteth us in all our tribulation, that
we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
(2Corinthians 1:4) It is these very sufferings that enable us to not only be more compassionate to others, but also
shows us our frailties, and helps us long for the Eternal Kingdom where God reigns.
Our increasingly closer walk with God, despite our failures and sins, clearly demonstrates to us that “…the whole world
lieth in wickedness.” (1John 5:19) This knowledge helps keep us going, enabling our walk of faith that requires
endurance in the race that is set before us, so that we begin to look forward to inhabiting, “…an house not made with
hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2Corinthians 5:1)
Some feel that this is all fantasy. However, those who have tasted the goodness of God and have felt His call upon their
lives know with utmost certainty that He and eternity are very real. Acknowledging and living this reality defines a