It is interesting to note that the word “Christian” was mentioned only three times in the Bible. The term Christian was actually formulated by unbelievers in reference to the followers of Christ. The followers of Christ were first called disciples. A disciple is both a learner and a doer. A disciple can be likened to a scholar, one who is given to intensive study. Disciples are dedicated to the meditation of the Word of God. The first occurrence of the word Christians can be found in Acts 11:26. The believer were called Christians in Antioch.
The term came from the grassroots level and became widespread. Even those in authority picked up this label.
The second occurrence can be found in Acts 26:28. From the conversation of Apostle Peter and the King Agrippa in the latter part of this chapter; it can be observed that the king was aware of this term. The king said, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
The disciples in Antioch were ordinary people. The extraordinary behavior of these disciples reminded the people of the life of a historical figure they knew – Jesus Christ. Thus the term Christian – a follower of Christ was used.
The third and last use of the word “Christian” is found in I Peter 4:16. This was used in describing the suffering experienced by the followers of Christ. From the verse 12 of the same chapter, it was explained that suffering is a part of the lives of Christians.
Christians are expected to do the will of God and in the course of fulfilling the work of God, they will experience sufferings as well. Thus, it can be said that Christians are not expected to be timid or passive people. That is why Christians are also likened to soldier of Christ. A soldier is prepared to sacrifice his life in fulfilling his duty. A soldier also undergoes training in preparation for combat. In II Timothy 2:3. Paul exhorted, experience sufferings as well. Thus, it can be said that Christians are not expected to be timid or passive people. That’s why Christians are also likened to soldiers of Christ.
A soldier is prepared to sacrifice his life in fulfilling his duty. A soldier also undergoes training in preparation for combat in II Timothy 2:3, Paul exhorted, “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”
As believers, we are also in a state of war. That is why Apostle Paul advised,
“Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” – I Timothy 6:12
Moreover, the nature of this was is described by Apostle Paul, “ For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:12
As Christians, we also face a foe – the devil (I Peter 5:8). The devil likened to a roaring lion. Moreover, in John 8:44, it is mentioned that the devil has children.
In the final analysis, the battle is between the children of God and the children of the devil. As disciples of Christ, we are called upon to be active and aggressive in this fight of the faith.
In addition to soldiers, we are also called to be workers. In I Corinthians 3:9 “For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
Let us note that there are two groups mentioned. The first group is referred to by using the pronoun WE in “we are co-workers.” The second group is mentioned in the second part using the pronoun YOU in “you are God’s field, God’s building.” The second group is the recipient of the works of those who belong to the first group. As the church grows, there should be growth in the first group. The first group consists of those who have matured in faith. The second group is composed of those who are added to the Church; those who are nurtured and cultivated.
The field should be a fruitful and abundant one while the building should be nearing completion. As co-workers let us work to achieve these. The ministers in the Church are encouraging us to be part of this first group, the ones rendering service. Again from this metaphor, we can see that we are not to live passive lives. As workers, we are expected to be busy and productive.
Based on these insights, let us examine ourselves if we are living a life expected as full-pledged followers of Christ. From these examples, we have seen that we must be aggressive and active. In all things related to God’s work, we must be found actively participating. In spreading the gospel, let us actively take part. In worshipping God, we must be active, giving praises to God. Recalling God’s mighty and wonderful works in our lives will help us live an active Christian life.