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Who is a Christian? And what do we Confess?

February 26, 2009

Chi Rho-image from merry-christmas.comWho is a Christian?

Since the earliest days of the Christian church, Christians have sought to define the boundaries of the Christian faith. St. Paul in his New Testament writings had numerous warnings to Christians to avoid error in doctrine and practice, and to shun false teachers.

A tenet of the "Reformed" faith is that we Christians should always be reforming, that is, sharpening our understanding of biblical truth. In that vein, we here suggest a new confession and recommitment statement for review by our readers. The list of Bible verses at the end of the statement would be good to look up as well!

Confession and Recommitment

I believe in one God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

  • I believe in God the Father Almighty—maker of heaven and earth, perfectly holy, omniscient of even our secret sins, whose justice being so perfect that He cannot overlook our sins, whose wrath is poured out like fire against rebellion, yet is slow to anger and abounding in love.
  • I believe in Jesus Christ—the only son of God, being of one divine substance with the Father, very God of very God. He is the image of the invisible God, being before all things, and in whom all things hold together. Yet, Jesus—being also truly human—was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried--to receive the punishment for the sins of the whole world. On the third day he bodily rose from the dead as prophesied in the Scriptures and confirmed by over 500 witnesses and many other infallible proofs. This is the gospel to which we hold fast by which men are saved from God’s condemnation unto eternal life. Jesus is the light of the world and is the sole mediator between God and men. There is no other name under heaven by which one may be saved.
  • I believe in the Holy Spirit—who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who is the eternal Spirit of God that hovered over the waters at creation, and who teaches and guides us today. It is through the work of the Holy Spirit that God convicts us, renews us, regenerates us, empowers us, and saves us. Along with the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit is worshipped and glorified.

Through my conscience and the law comes the knowledge of sin, and I confess that I have indeed sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I have broken the Ten Commandments in thought, word, and deed; I have failed to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength—and failed to love my neighbor as myself. I have left undone, unsaid, and unthought those things which I ought—being too often in a state of denial of my failings before God. I am thus guilty and deserving of God’s temporal and eternal punishment—my guilt separating me my Creator.

Yet through Christ’s sinless life, his sacrificial death on the cross, and finished work of salvation at his Parousia, I thankfully rejoice that God has reconciled me to Him. While yet being a sinner, God loved me enough to provide a perfect substitute in Jesus. Christ, being a ransom for all who believe, by his wounds I have been healed and God’s judgment satisfied. Being in Christ, I am a new creation. I repent of my sins and accept the gift of eternal life offered to whoever receives and believes in Christ. By God’s grace—through a living faith—I put my trust in Christ as my Savior and Master. I acknowledge that Christ is the only way to reconcile to God the Father. I embrace the church universal and consider all to be my Christian brothers and sisters who

  1. believe that Jesus is the eternal Son of God, confessing Him as their personal Savior (and by necessity accept the total truthfulness and supreme authority of the Bible),
  2. repent of their sins (thus acknowledging and forsaking their sins), and
  3. surrender one's life to Jesus as Lord, seeking to conform their lives to the will of God (as best they understand God’s will and their duty).

 As mysterious as these things may seem to the worldly man, I confess that they are objectively and historically true. In light of these truths, I

  • surrender my life to serving God and my fellow man,
  • commit to searching the Scriptures upon which I rely for truth,
  • commit to proclaiming biblical truth to those around me,
  • commit to being salt and light to my community,
  • commit to taking every thought captive to Christ,
  • commit to preparing myself to give an answer for the hope that I have, and
  • commit to making disciples of all nations.

The earth and everything in it belongs to God. May I not concede to my sinful desires and the humanist enemies of Christianity any area of life—including the family, science, history, ethics, philosophy, education, the arts, economics, law, or government—relying on the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.

Dear God, your statutes are forever right; give me understanding that I may live. Create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Notes: taken from The Apostles’ Creed, The Nicene Creed, also Genesis 1:2, Leviticus 17:11, Numbers 14:18, Joshua 2:11, Psalm 24:1, 51:1-12, 90:7-8, Psalm 119, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, Isaiah 59:2, Micah 7:19, Nahum 1, Matthew 5, Matthew 6:9-10, Matthew 26:28, Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 12:29-31, Luke 13:3, Luke 21:22, 28, 32; John 1:1-18, John 3:1-20, John 8:12, John 14:26, John 16:1-15, John 19:30, Acts 1:1-8, Acts 4:12, Acts 17:11, Romans 1, Romans 3, Romans 5:1, 2, 5, 10, 19, Romans 8:9-11, 26, Romans 13:1-4, Romans 15:6, 1 Corinthians 15:1-28, 2 Corinthians 4:2, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Galatians 5:18, 22, 23, Ephesians 2:1-10, Ephesians 3:16, Ephesians 6:10-18, Colossians 1:15-23, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, 2 Timothy 3:16, Titus 3:4-7, Hebrews 1:1-4, Hebrews 2:13, Hebrews 7:23-26, Hebrews 9:13-14,22,27,28, James 2, 1 Peter 2:24, 1 Peter 1:3-9; 1 Peter 3:15, 1 Peter 2:24, 1 John 1, 1 John 5:5-13, and other biblical texts.

This Creedal Confession and Recommitment is meant to retain the flavor of the historic creeds and confessions while clarifying with today’s English. It elevates the Bible and draws specifically on the language of Scripture itself. Of note in this statement is its pronouncement of the unique Christian teaching on sin and need for a savior, offers an apologetic so that all will understand that the Christian faith is not mere blind faith, and it encourages a deeper understanding of what it means to live a Christian life. It seeks to remind us of our duties as Christians while refuting legalism and its opposite—antinomianism or cheap grace. It seeks to address and clarify common confusion as to just what the gospel actually is. The document avoids details of doctrines for which there is disagreement even among conservatives. And it seeks to promote Christian unity, thus fully embracing the broader Christian community as required by Scripture, while refuting error of cultic sects or other non-biblical groups.

See also our Faith Facts article Cults, Heresises, and Heterodoxies.


Do you recognize the symbol at the beginning of the article? It is the Chi-Rho (pronounced "KEE-roe"), one of the symbols used by the early Christians. It is formed by superimposing the first two letters of the word "Christ" in Greek, chi (X) and rho (P). 

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Posts: 15
Repetitive sin
Reply #5 on : Tue September 07, 2010, 00:20:27
I must disagree with post #6 If you approach the Lord with a humble heart and contrite spirit in repentantance, you recognize your sin and to be truly repentant of that sin you will make every effort not to do at least that sin again if you continue to indulge in the same sin again and again you are then not truly being repentant and thus face the wrath of God for your lack of obedience as you continue to commit that sin. The rules of guidance for our lives are contained in our bible and so are the repercussions for our actions if we fail to do so! We must honestly and truly repent, and at least make an honest effort to stop our sins when we recognize them to truly be saved. Without the effort how can we demonstrate our obedience to our lords teachings and our faith if we continue to ignore the fact that we are knowingly committing sin?
Perry Donaldson
Posts: 15
Is clothed with power separate fom new birth
Reply #4 on : Sun June 14, 2009, 18:41:26
I heard a trustworthy theologion say that
disciples were saved in John when Jesus after his resurrection,he breathed on them and said recieve the Holy Spirit but told them to tarry at pentecost to be clothe with power so they could have power to witness
Is this true?
Posts: 15
Reply #3 on : Fri March 13, 2009, 14:06:02
The American Heritage Dictionary defines a Christian as "one who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus; one who lives according to the teachings of Jesus."[5]

A wide range of beliefs and practices is found across the world among those who call themselves Christian. A 2007 survey in the United States identified the following five typical categories:

Active Christians: Committed to attending church, Bible reading, and sharing their faith that salvation comes through Jesus Christ.
Professing Christians: Also committed to "accepting Christ as Savior and Lord" as the key to being a Christian, but focus on personal relationships with God and Jesus more than on church, Bible reading or sharing faith.
Liturgical Christians: High level of spiritual activity, mainly expressed by attending and recognising the authority of the church, and by serving in it or in the community.
Private Christians: Believe in God and in doing good things, but not within a church context. In the American survey, this was the largest and youngest segment.
Cultural Christians: Do not view Jesus as essential to salvation. They are the least likely to align their beliefs or practices with biblical teachings, or attend church. They favor a universal theology that sees many ways to God.


Last Edit: March 17, 2009, 18:17:25 by cmeek01  
Posts: 15
Reply #2 on : Sat March 07, 2009, 13:57:40
Hi, Thanks for your nice work on this site.
You have done a good job by your blog comments...
I like the comments ...
Last Edit: March 08, 2009, 14:23:49 by cmeek01  
Kerstin Chapman
Posts: 15
Who is a Christian? What do we confess?
Reply #1 on : Fri February 27, 2009, 05:51:19
Thank you for a very clear explanation of the Christian faith. It is a great reminder of who we are as believers and what our lives should reflect to others. Salvation is so simple and yet still one of the greatest stumbling blocks of modern society. Our best witness is the new life we live in Christ. God's grace gives us a glimpse of Heaven long before we get there. We need to pass this on without hesitation, especially to those who are the most dear to us.

Thanks and blessings to your ministry.


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