Devotional Word for Tuesday, November 24, 2020
In our last devotional time, we looked at why we call the Lord Jesus the Christ. In answer to the question, we recognized that the Lord Jesus was anointed by the Father as the Prophet, Priest, and King. This begs a question. Why are people who follow the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in Him as their Lord and Savior called Christians? To this end, Heidelberg Catechism question 32 asks, “But why are you called a Christian?”
This question is sort of interesting in that the ending ian on the word Christ is a diminutive. That means that it denotes that believers in Christ are little christs. Even as we think of that we must realize that the title of Christian was not a name that early church members took upon themselves. We see in Acts 11:26 that Antioch was the city where disciples were first called Christians. This is significant because it reminds us that Christians did not take up a title so as to make themselves greater than they were. Instead, others called the followers of Christ Christians as a somewhat derogatory term for the people who follow that dead guy. Clearly the church through the ages has embraced the title of Christian and so today those who follow Christ identify themselves as Christians. Given that the title came from an unbelieving source, should we continue to use it?
The answer to question 32 says, “Because through faith I share in Christ and thus in His anointing, so that I may confess His name, offer myself a living sacrifice of gratitude to Him, and fight against sin and the devil with a free and good conscience throughout this life and hereafter rule with Him in eternity over all creatures.” We can think through this answer in three parts. First, we are called Christians because through faith we share in Christ and we confess His name. Galatians 2:20 comes to mind here. This is where Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Simply put, when Christians believe in Christ, they are united to Him in His life, His death, and His resurrection. That means that the title of Christian is good and right.
Secondly, Christians off themselves as a living sacrifice of gratitude to Christ and fight against sin and the devil. The Scriptures describe the lives of Christians wherein the Holy Spirit of God is working and bearing fruit as lives lived in obedience to the Lord Jesus. Even more, they are lives which are lived in the reality of spiritual warfare. Again, the apostle Paul describes that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against the prince of the power of the air. That is another word for the devil. We live in a fallen and sinful world, but we wrestle against it by the Holy Spirit working in us and bearing fruit through us.
Finally, answer 32 says that we will reign with Christ in eternity over all creatures. This is described in a number of placed throughout the Scriptures but no place is more explicit than 2 Timothy 2:12a which says, “If we endure, we will also reign with Him;” As our culture seems to become increasingly hostile to the truth of the Gospel, it no doubt with have greater contempt for the name of Christ and those seeking to follow Him called Christians. Brothers and sisters, may we hold fast to the calling to which we have been called and not shrink from the title of Christian. There can be no higher identification for a believer than to say that they are a follower of Christ. Let us pray.