The average person in our country claims to be a Christian. I am guessing, if you were to ask “What is a Christian?” or “What does it mean to be a Christian?” the answers would be as numerous and diverse as the people who responded.

What does it mean to be a Christian? If I am a Christian, will that in any way determine what I believe or how I behave?

Let me give you John Stott’s statement to ruminate on:

Yet the New Testament definition of a Christian is a person ‘in Christ.’ It is necessary to insist, therefore, that according to Jesus and His apostles to be a Christian is not just to have been baptized, to belong to the church, to receive Holy Communion, to believe in the doctrines of the creed or to try to follow the standards of the Sermon on the Mount.

Baptism and Holy Communion, church membership, creed and conduct are all part and parcel of living as a Christian, but they can form and have sometimes formed an empty casket from which the jewel has disappeared. The jewel is Jesus Christ Himself.

To be a Christian is primarily to live in union with Jesus Christ, as a result of which baptism, belief and behavior slot naturally into place. (Focus on Christ, p. 55)

Dr. Wayne Shaw (R-Grove) has been a member of the Oklahoma Senate since 2014. Prior to that he served as the senior pastor at First Christian Church, Grove, for many years.