Are we in reality—what we are in name?
(Samuel Davies, "The Sacred Import of the Christian Name")
"The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch." Acts 11:26
We call ourselves Christians—but do we really understand the MEANING and sacred import of that name? Do we really know what it is to BE Christians indeed? Are we in reality—what we are in name? Certainly it is time for us to consider the matter!
What is it to be a Christian?
To be a Christian, in the popular and fashionable sense, is no really difficult or excellent thing. It is to be baptized, to profess the Christian religion; to believe, like our neighbors, that Christ is the Messiah, and to attend upon public worship once a week, in some church or another. In this sense, a man may be a 'Christian'—and yet be habitually careless about eternal things. He may be a 'Christian'—and yet fall short of the morality of many of the heathen. He may be a 'Christian'—and yet a drunkard, a swearer, or a slave to some vice or other. He may be a 'Christian'—and yet a willful, impenitent offender against God and man.
But is this to be a 'real Christian'—in the original and proper sense of the word? No! that is something of a very different and superior kind.
To be a Christian indeed—is to be like to Christ, from whom the name is taken!
To be a Christian indeed—is to be a follower and imitator of Christ!
To be a Christian indeed—is to have Christ's spirit and temper; and to live as He lived in the world!
In short, to be a Christian, is to have our sentiments, our character and our practice, formed upon the sacred model of the gospel.