I Am a Christian

Heidelberg Catechism: Question 32: But why are you called a Christian?

Answer: Because by faith I am a member of Christ and so I share in His anointing. I am anointed to confess His name, to present myself to Him as a living sacrifice of thanks, to strive with a good conscience against sin and the devil in this life, and afterwards to reign with Christ over all creation for all eternity.


Observations: The Apostles’ Creed moves from ‘I Believe in God,’ to ‘I believe in Jesus Christ.’ The Catechism explores why the Son of God was called ‘Jesus (Q&A 29)’ and ‘Christ (Q&A 31).’ But then it asks why we are called Christians. The answer ‘because by faith I am a member of Christ.’ Through faith we are united to Christ. Elsewhere the catechism says ‘we are grafted into Christ. (Q&A 20)’ We are called Christians because we follow Jesus. But the catechism says as members of Christ we also ‘share in his anointing.’ The word ‘anointed’ means that we have been ordained, or set apart, by God for his purposes. The mark of this anointing is the Holy Spirit. According to the catechism we have been anointed for four purposes. Firstly, we have been anointed ‘to confess his name,’ i.e. the name of Jesus. To confess Jesus’ name means we not only proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Saviour in order to be saved, but also in order that others may be saved. Secondly, we have been anointed ‘to present myself to Him as a living sacrifice of thanks.’ Because of God’s mercy we are to present ourselves as living sacrifices to God (Rom 12:1). We have been set apart to serve God and bring Him glory. Thirdly, we have been anointed ‘to strive with a good conscience against sin and the devil in this life.’ It almost goes without saying that to live for God means to reject sin and Satan. The catechism recognizes that we will never succeed in this life, but rather we ‘strive with a good conscience.’ Finally, we have been anointed ‘to reign with Christ over all creation for all eternity.’ God has given us eternal life, and we will reign with Christ (see Mt 25:34; 1 Tim 2:12; Rev 5:10).


Application: So often we just think of being saved from something i.e. we are saved from our sins, we are saved from hell etc. But the Bible says we are also saved for something. You have been saved to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Saviour, to live your life as a sacrifice of thanks, to be holy and reject sin and Satan, and to reign with Christ forever more. We are called Christians, not just because we believe in Jesus, but because we follow Jesus, we desire to become like Jesus, because we share his anointing. Are you following Jesus? Is your faith passive or active?


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You have rescued me from my sin through faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ. You have chosen me and saved me, not so I can just celebrate my salvation, but so I can serve You and bring You honour and glory. Lord, may I confess the name of my Saviour Jesus. May I present my life as a living sacrifice of thanks. May I strive with a good conscience against sin in all its forms. And Lord, I look forward to my crown of righteousness, that I may lay it at the feet of Jesus. In His name I pray. Amen.


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