“Then they asked Him, “What shall we do that we may work the works of God (the Father)?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him (Jesus) whom He has sent” (John 6:28-29).” So how do you have to act to be a Christian? That’s a great question.
A Christian Doesn’t Have to Act a Specific Way
A person becomes a Christian by believing in Jesus apart from any actions or works. God gives us the right–the authority—to become children of God apart from doing virtuous deeds:
“To all who received Him, He gave the power to become sons of God, to those who believed in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
By Following Jesus
Since becoming a Christian isn’t based on how we act, we don’t stop being Christians if we don’t act a certain way. But God expects His children’s best behavior; He created Christians to do good works (Ephesians 2:9-10). He wants us to imitate Jesus’ attitude:
“Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38)
Not by Following the Law of Moses
God doesn’t expect Christians to follow the Law of Moses. God gave that Law to Israel to teach them how to live until their Messiah came (Galatians 4:1-7). The Apostle Paul explained that the Law simply laid us at Jesus’ feet, asking us to believe in Him:
“So the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith (as opposed to Law)” (Galatians 3:24).
Before Jesus came to earth, Moses’ brother Aaron was the Old Testament high priest, and the Mosaic Law was the rule of life for the believing Jew. But, because Jesus is the current High Priest, the Mosaic Law is outdated and has passed away:
“For a change in the priesthood necessitates a change in the law” (Hebrews 7:12).
Not by Following Human Rules
Christians don’t grow in their faith by following a set of rules. The Apostle Paul warned Christians against living by human rules:
“Why, as if you were living in the world, do you subject yourself to legalistic rules?“Do not touch! Do not taste! Do not handle!” These all are to perish with use and are aligned with the commandments and doctrines of men. These things have indeed a show of wisdom in self-imposed worship and humility and neglecting of the body” (Colossians 2:20-23).
Following a set of human rules and living by self-denial looks impressive, but these don’t–by themselves–help Christians grow to maturity. They won’t help someone understand how to manage an unexpected or unlegislated situation—or how to best advance the Kingdom of God.
By Following the Spirit
A spiritual Christian displays the fruit of the Spirit:
The Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
Our Freedom as Adult Sons
The Apostle Paul told us what Jesus accomplished for us. He freed us from law-keeping:
“For freedom Christ freed us. Stand fast therefore and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).
Is it Loving?
But the Apostle warns Christians against misusing their freedom from the Law and human rules:
“You, brothers, have been called to liberty. Only do not use liberty to give an opportunity to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For the entire law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:13-14).
Is it Helpful?
Before they act, God commands Christians to evaluate whether their actions will be helpful and edify (build up) the other person. The goal is to seek the other person’s well-being:
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24).
By Following Our Conscience
Selfless love shown to others replaces rules, and a trained conscience helps Christians use wisdom in unexpected situations (1 Timothy 1:19):
“Everyone who (hasn’t developed their conscience is) unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a baby. But … those who are mature, for those who through practice have powers of discernment that are trained to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:13-14).
When a person practices making good decisions, they get better at it.
God expects His children to make wise decisions. He treats us as mature adults. But He disciplines believers when they don’t live up to their calling.
People don’t become Christians or remain Christians by following a set of rules. The Law of Moses was meant to lay us at Jesus’ feet, so we believe in Him. Following human rules only looks impressive.
A Revised Question
The question should be, How Should a Christian Act as a Child of God?
By living the fruit of the Spirit.
By living as mature, adult sons.
By using their freedom wisely.
By asking: is it loving, is it helpful?
By making wise decisions for a developed conscience.
Please watch the Great news Video on this page to find out how to be saved.