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Can you believe in Jesus without being a Christian?

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by omaewa, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. I know this may sound impossible as the word "Christian" usually is understood as "believer in Jesus," but please look at why I question whether they are really the same thing:

    If a person believes in Jesus, then he is a believer. And maybe this is what it takes to be a Christian, but how Christians define themselves and how they actually should be defined seems very different.
    Christians go to a church every sunday, do their devotions and pray, get baptized, go on missions trips, listen to Christian music, go to Bible study, go to Christian schools and can get hired at churches, basically they have an entire lifestyle that is built to some degree on a "Christian culture" if you will.

    So when I see how much Christianity is a lifestyle and is considered a religion by many, I wonder can a believer just be a believer and not do all the extra stuff a Christian does?
    I have heard there are people who are Catholic and believe in Jesus, and so would they be called Christian or a believer? It seems like there has to be a distinction.
  2. Hi Omaewa,

    First, you need to make a distinction between "believing in Jesus" and "accepting Jesus." Many people believe in Jesus - they know He is a real person, and believe He was a good man, or a prophet, or maybe even the Saviour of the world - but they have never accepted Him as their personal Lord and Saviour. The Bible tells us that even the demons believe. It is only when someone takes that next step of putting his or her trust in Jesus for personal salvation that he/she becomes a Christian.

    As for the "Christian culture", some parts - such as prayer, Bible reading and fellowship with other Christians - are important for our spiritual life and growth. They are not what "makes" us a Christian, but if we neglect these things we will never grow in Christ. Other things - such as missions or other forms of ministry - are important if they are what God has called us to do, because we need to learn to walk in obedience to Him; but if we are not called to those things then doing them will not make us a "better" Christian - it will only distract us from the things God does want us to do. Still other things - like listening to Christian music or watching Christian films - are interesting, fun extras, but not at all essential to our Christian walk.


    Christine likes this.
  3. The word Christian means a follower of Jesus. In that respect, being a believer makes you a Christian. Not everyone who applies the term christian to themselves is a believer. A christian is defined by who they are internally, which manifests itself in what they do externally. In other words, christianity comes from the inside out (not in a new-age sense of "tapping the divine within" or similar concepts) because Christ works a transformation from the inside. Many call themselves christians because of externals - their participation in what you see as a christian culture - an outside in approach.

    I know people who don't want to be called christians any more because they are embarrassed to be associated with the attitudes and behavior of some that label themselves christians. I understand their line of thinking, but I will continue to call myself christian because I identify with Christ. I suppose I could call myself a Jesusian or something else, but no matter what we call ourselves, there will be those who take on that name and behave contrary to what the name is supposed to represent.

    This is just a continuation of an ongoing struggle, however. From the very earliest days the Church has had to deal with heretics and false teachers and misguided or deceived members. Even Jesus talks says that not everyone who says to Him "Lord, Lord" will enter into the Kingdom of God.

    Can a believer just believe and not do all the extra stuff that a Christian does? Well, bottom line is that if a person's faith doesn't result in a distinct lifestyle, if they have no interest in fellowship and Bible study and prayer and missions, if they do not prefer Christian oriented music, schools, and other activities over worldly ones, then I have to wonder if they have been made alive in Christ at all. Even the word "believer" can mean different things. Does it mean that one truly believes in what Christ did on the Cross and has therefore placed their faith in that Work and been transformed from death to life by the Blood of Jesus? Does it mean that a person believes in what they perceive to be the the ideological viewpoints of Jesus in terms of a philosophical, social, or political gospel? Belief in Jesus as a good teacher or rabble rouser or challenger of the powers that be?

    Belief is only as good as what one believes in, and the term "believer" is a vague term that applies to many sets of beliefs and is therefore no more definitive than the term "christian", in my opinion. I think the best we can do is to let the Holy Spirit empower our lives and so lead a life that represents what a Christian is, letting them see a genuine Christian, and ultimately causing them to look at Christ, Himself.
    Christine and Major say Amen and like this.
  4. 1 John 2:19.........
    "They went out from us but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us".

    I believe in the security of the believer (OSAS), but I also believe in the INSECURITY of "make-believers". We all need to examine ourselves to see what kind of believer we really are.

    John is telling us in 1 John 2:19 that some who made a profession of being a Christian in that day had all the outward trappings of being a Christian. They had the name, and they belonged to a local church. They were baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. They took communion. BUT then John says that the way you can tell a BELIEVER from a MAKE-BELIEVER is that eventually the MAKE-BELIEVER will show his heart, (true colors) and will leave the assembly of God if he is not a child of God. He will withdraw from the Christians, the body of believers and will wind up right back in the way of the world.

    What was true then is also true today my friend.

    The person who truely comes to Christ delights in being able to do the "extra stuff".

    So then we must ask ourselves....Do I delight in the will of God??
    Do I love His commandments????? AM I obedient to God???

    IF I am a child of God, I have a new nature and now I should want to please God in doing "extra stuff". "Extra stuff" is now not a chore but a BLESSING!!

    Dr. Ironside once said.......
    "My old companions, fare you well.
    I cannot go with you to hell
    I mean with Jesus Christ to dwell.
    I will go with Him, and tell".

    Proverbs 28:13 says.........
    "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy".

    Though we know that the blood Of Jesus does indeed cleanse us from all sin, we cannot walk and live in known sin and at the same time have fellowship with God and other believers.
  5. You have received some good answers and Iĺl only confirm their correctness. On any given Sunday te Church Building is filled with people naming the name of Christ and and not all, but most believe Christ is the Savior. A survey, conducted by the Barum Group, in the mid-eighties demonstrated that if the Rapture occurred on any Saturday, the difference in attendance would not be noticeable. And then consider that Satan, formerly Jesus' Right hand angel, then known as Lucifer, not only believes in Jesus but knows from experience who and what He is, but he is not saved! There is a bit more to this whole thing... being a Christian!
  6. Satan believes in Jesus. Does that make him a Christian? Nope! :)

    Believing in Jesus and following Jesus are TWO separate things. Many believe in Christ, but do not follow Him or even live the life of a Christian. Sin is a dominion in their lives, because they often times think that they are too good of a person and that they aren't in need of Savior. Jesus specifically told us that we must take up our cross and follow Him. So we must deny our selfish desires and follow Christ.

    Now, being a Christian means that you are a Christ follower. You want to live your life for Christ, and you will do anything to be close to Him. Now, we are all sinners. I'm not saying that when you are a Christian, you are absolutely perfect. Didn't Paul even write, "For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do." (Romans 7:19). So even though Christians desire to do what God wants, we mess up and do the things that we do not want to do. But God still loves us.

    I hope this explained some :)
    Christine likes this.
  7. Faith can be historical or personal.

    Demons believe in he historical Jesus - they know who He is, that He died, went to the grave and rose again. They beleive this and temble.

    A personal faith is when people believe in somebody. They trust in them competely and put their lives in their hands. If a surgeon is going to operate we put our faith in them that they will do a reasonable job and we will come out alive again.

    Christians need to have a historical faith - they need to believe in the historical Jesus and what He did. They also need to have a personal faith in that they believe in what Jesus did for us on the cross and trust their lives to Him. They also need to take their faith one step further in that they need to totally surrender their lives to Jesus. A surrendered life is a very different character to one that just believes in a historical fact.
  8. "Just because you know who Jesus is, it doesn't mean you know HE LIVES!" to quote an old Nancy Honeytree song. Knowing that Jesus lives means He has taken up residence inside your heart, awakened your conscience, and given you a sensitive spirit. In other words....CHANGED YOUR LIFE! Your attitude towards other people changes...some times RADICALLY. Your approach to LIFE, in general, changes SIGNIFICANTLY. There's a whole "battery" of things going on in the way of the "fruit" you now bear. The bottom line is that if Jesus HAS TRUELY come into your life......IT SHOWS!!

  9. jesus-christ-massiah.the same person .although lots would like to divide the massiah .like they tried to divide God.
  10. "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble" (Jam 2:19)!

    To believe there is only one God is to be in opposition to the poytheism, multiple gods concept of the Gentiles.
    As we know, salvation is not just to believe "there is a God" but also to believe on or in that God. The devils believe about God, but "left their first estate" (Jude 1:6), to show they did not trust Him.

    This is the difference of believing about and believing in God. After forty years of physical proof, the Jews were convinced there was a God, but many were devoid of trusting in Him:

    "And you complained in your tents, and said, 'Because the LORD hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us (Deu 1:27).

    "For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was He grieved forty years? [was it] not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believed not?
    So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief" (Heb 3:16-19).

    As we have believed, or trusted in Christ's atonement for our salvation, let us also trust "that He is able to keep what [we] have committed to Him until that Day" (2 Tim 1:12).
    Rumely likes this.

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