How we describe ourselves helps others to understand what we value–what and who we are. This is true in multiple spheres of life. In American culture, our “last name” is our family name. In Asian culture, the “first name” is the family name. That says something about what we value. The same can be said for our spiritual life. What is your name? How are you known?
Surprisingly, the New Testament answer may not be the same as the 21st century church’s answer. Sinclair Ferguson, in The Whole Christ, writes:
What is my default way of describing a believer? Perhaps it is exactly that: “believer.” Or perhaps “disciple,” “born-again person,” or “saint” (more biblical but less common in Protestantism!). Most likely it is the term “Christian.”
Yet these descriptors, while true enough, occur relatively rarely in the pages of the New Testament, and the contexts in which it occurs might suggest that it was a pejorative term used of (rather than by) the early church.
New Testament Christians did not think of themselves as “Christians”! But if not, how did they think of themselves?
Contrast these descriptors with the overwhelmingly dominant way the New Testament describes believers. It is that we are “in Christ.” The […]