What is the Christian life?
The distinguishing mark of the Christian life is to live by faith. A person becomes a Christian by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” This faith in Jesus Christ changes one’s life, beginning the process of a life of faith.
Galatians 3:11 then teaches that the Christian life is to be lived by faith: “Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'” Christians seek to live the teachings of Jesus and of Scripture, yet do so by faith based on love for God and others. A Christian lives for Christ because of God’s love, not in order to earn God’s love.
Romans 12:1-2 show how this process looks: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” A Christian’s life is one devoted to living for God. Instead of being changed by the world, the Christian is changed by Christ and then changes the world.
In addition, the Christian life includes much endurance or perseverance. James 1:2-4 notes, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” It is much easier to begin well than to end well in the Christian life. God calls us to faithfully endure life’s challenges and even to rejoice in them as they help increase our endurance in living for Christ.
The Christian life is also certainly one of service. Jesus came to serve others and calls His followers to do the same. This involves loving one’s neighbor as yourself, helping those in need (James 1:27), making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20), and sharing the reason for the hope within you (1 Peter 3:15).
The Christian life is not easy, nor was it intended to be. However, it is the source of abundant life (John 10:10) as well as eternal life (John 3:16). It is a life of faith, love, and hope (1 Corinthians 13:12-13) that reflects the life and teachings of Jesus Christ who promises to empower us for service, help us in times of temptation, and ultimately live with His children for all eternity.