10. What is the meaning of the word Christian?

The word ‘Christian’ was first used to describe those who were followers of Jesus Christ about 20 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. The first name given to the disciples was people of ‘The Way.’ This was derived from Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel of John 14 verse 6 where He said ‘I am the way the truth and the life: no one comes to the Father except through Me.’ The word Christian literally means ‘Christ ones’; Christ means ‘Anointed One.’ So Christians are the ones who are followers of the ‘Anointed One.’ Anointing is a reference to a person filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus is described in the Gospel of Luke chapter 4 verse 1 as the One ‘full of the Holy Spirit.’ This is the same Holy Spirit who descended on Jesus at His baptism in the Gospel of Luke 3 verses 21 – 22 and a voice spoke from heaven ‘Thou Art My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased.’ God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit are One.

The word Christian was not intended to have any political connotations in the Bible. A nation cannot be a Christian nation, because it is people who are Christians not things or ideologies. A Christian is a person who trusts in the atoning work of Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. To accept Jesus into their life Christians will, by the grace of God, humble themselves and repent of their sinful ways, and ask Jesus Christ to come into their life in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 John 1 verses 6-10). This will cause them to be born again as a new person so they will have the power to live a life following the example of Jesus Christ, and obeying his teaching about the Kingdom of God set out in the four gospels (The Injil). Jesus also said that his followers would do greater things than He did on the earth. So the anointing of God is expected to accompany those who are Christians and they can expect to do miracles by the power of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit manifest in their lives. This statement made by Jesus is found in the Gospel of John chapter 14 verses 12 – 21. The Apostle Paul describes the action of becoming a Christian in 2 Corinthians 5 verses 17-21: ‘This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are his ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’ For God made Christ who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin so that we could be made right with God through Christ’. The substitutionary sacrificial death of Jesus Christ paid the penalty of our sins. God promised this substitutionary sacrifice to Abraham in Genesis 15 verses 1-21. God promised Abraham that He (God) would be the sacrifice or atonement for his sin. This was confirmed again by the Prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 16 verses 62-63:

Thus I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, in order that you may remember and be ashamed, and never open your mouth anymore because of your humiliation, when I have forgiven you for all that you have done’, The Lord declares.’ Isaiah 53 verses 1-12 clearly describes the coming of Jesus Christ and his torture, death and resurrection for our sin. Exodus 12 verse 21 records the sacrificial act of taking an unblemished lamb and killing it and sprinkling its blood over the doorposts of the Hebrew slaves’ houses so the angel of death would pass over them and save their firstborn sons. Death was averted by the shedding of sacrificial blood.