Does the Greek Meaning of “Christian” Support Lordship Salvation?

By David J. Stewart

No, not at all. I gentleman recently asked me the following question...

Hello Mr. Stewart! I've been reading many webpages about Lordship Salvation. And I have learned that Salvation and Discipleship are different. I looked up the word Christian in the King James Bible and found it twice in 1st Peter 4:16 and and Acts 26:28. I looked up the Strong's number for Christian and it was 5546 on my version, then I looked up "disciple" (3101). Strong's number 5546 means "a Christian," i.e., Follower of Christ. Strong's Number 3101 means "a learner," i.e., "a pupil." So this seems to be a solid contradiction and it makes me sort of worried. So with this, are you a Christian because you're a follower of Christ or because you trust Christ? Thanks.

Here is my Biblical reply...

       Technically, not all believers are Christians. The term "Christian" was first used in Rome by the heathens, who labeled the followers of Christ as Christians...

"And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" (Acts 11:26).

Many believers today are saved; but live in sin so that no one would dare associate them with Christ. Although the term Christian is often used to refer to a saved person, it technically refers to a born-again believer who is also FOLLOWING Christ. Thus, there are many saved believers today who are not very "Christian" at all.

The Scriptures plainly teach that any person who comes as a guilty sinner to Jesus Christ to be forgiven will be saved...

"To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins" (Acts 10:43).

The Bible NEVER teaches that living a consecrated life is necessary to be saved. Such a requirement would be foolish, because it would violate the simplest Biblical teaching that eternal life is a free gift paid for by the precious literal blood of Jesus Christ...

"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1st Peter 1:18,19).

To be "saved" means to be born-again by faith in Jesus Christ...

"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26)

In contrast, to be a "Christian" means to also be a follower of Jesus Christ, surrendering one's life to live for the Lord and please God in all we do. Lot was saved in the Old Testament (2nd Peter 2:7), but his sons-in-law thought he was joking around and mocking (Genesis 19:14) when he tried to warn them of the judgment to come, because his testimony was so lousy. Lot was a horrible believer, but he was still saved.
 

The Term "Christian" Given to Believers by the Unsaved World

The term "Christian," according to Acts 11:26, was first given to the followers of Christ at Antioch, Rome. It was the unsaved heathens who called them this. The term was not given to them by God. So, although we commonly refer to all saved people, i.e., born-again believers, as "Christians," they are not living the Biblical CHRISTIAN life unless their life exemplifies Jesus Christ in everything they say and do.

Most of the believers I have known throughout my life weren't very Christian. They were immature. They played the church game, broke their promises, quit, had big egos, were envious, gossipers, thieves, worldly, backstabbers, selfish, complacent, indifferent, uninterested in the Bible, liars, false accusers, ungrateful and self-righteous hypocrites. I say this with sadness but sincerity. America's churches are filled with immature, carnal believers who have not presented their "bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1,2). But this does NOT mean that they are not saved. Salvation is without works of self-righteousness (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 4:5).

I have also known a few wonderful Christians, who loved the Lord and it showed in their daily walk. They continually talked about the Bible, resented the pursuit of making money, were active soulwinners, cared about others, they became angry over sin and were consumed about pleasing God with their life. Such believers are rare nowadays. Ironically, most of the biggest phonies and hypocrites are churchgoers.

So, when we speak about the term "Christian," it Biblically refers to a person who is born-again and is following Jesus Christ in obedience so that their life shows it; but this does NOT mean that there aren't BELIEVERS who are carnal, immature and backslidden in sin away from the Lord. They are saved and on their way to Heaven, but they are so worldly that you cannot tell if they are saved or not. Like it or not, the Bible is filled with plenty of examples of worldly believers who got drunk (Noah), went with prostitutes (Samson), stole (Jacob), lied (Moses), ran from God (Jonah), committed adultery and murder (David), et cetera.


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