THE BELIEVER AND THE CHRISTIAN

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“So then, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ.” – Romans 10:17 GNB

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The believer is one who have heard the message and accepted it as true. The acceptance of Christ after hearing it being preached already qualifies you for salvation. The Bible says in John 3:16 that anyone who believes will not perish but have that life that has no end. Anyone here means any kind of person regardless of previous background! The first step into becoming who God wants you to be is to accept Christ! Accepting Christ means believing who He is and what He came to do. It takes faith to believe and anyone who believes shall not perish.
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Well, that is the nursery stage and it doesn’t make you a Christian yet. This might sound a little bit off, it is possible to be a believer but not a Christian. Yes, I used to think you become a Christian just because you’ve believed but believing only welcomes you into the “Christian Brand”, it gives you that label but it takes some level of responsibility to truly be a Christian. Some are doctors by certification but not doctors by practice, they got certified, dropped the certificate, kept beating the title and went ahead to do something else. Christianity is more than just a label. We will get to understand this better.
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A believer is one who heard the preaching of Christ and believed. A believer is one who listened to the preaching of Christ and believed but a Christian is one who doesn’t just believe but puts the word into practice. The Bible says
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“Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice.” – James 1:22 GNB

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We don’t need to put anything into practice to be saved. The Bible says anyone who believes shall be saved. It didn’t say anyone who practice the word but anyone who believes. Just like a Baby didn’t act his or her way into being born, one who is just a believer is like a baby. You did nothing to be saved. But there is more to just believing and the Bible says it will be a deceit to keep listening to the word but never practice it. This is because the word is expected to build you as the Bible says
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“And now I commend you to the care of God and to the message of his grace, which is able to build you up and give you the blessings God has for all his people.” – Acts 20:32 GNB

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It is expected to form the very character of Christ in you. The nature of Christ has been made in every believer, you became righteous the moment you believed but the formation of that nature is another thing! It’s already existing but it takes formation to become a visible reality. Adam was made and came into existence but only became a visible reality when he was formed. Jesus was before the beginning but became a visible reality on earth when He was formed in the womb of Mary using her blood. To form means to be established. The Bible says
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“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” – Colossians 2:6‭-‬7 ESV
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Look carefully at the above verse! Receiving Christ is different from walking in Him. We are already rooted and built up in Christ but it takes our intentions to walk in Him. The Message Bible says “You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him… Do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.” – Colossians 2:6‭-‬7 MSG

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I love the word of God! It says “school is out!”, start living what you have been taught. This clearly shows us the difference between a Christian and a believer.
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Believing in Jesus Christ alone doesn’t make you a Christian, it makes you a believer. A Christian is one who practice and exhibit the character of Christ: one who is living the word. Christianity isn’t even a form of worship although worship is our lifestyle. Christianity is the outward manifestation of Christ in a man. It is this Christ that people see and declare “see, he is just like Christ!” No wonder Paul said
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“My dear children! Once again, just like a mother in childbirth, I feel the same kind of pain for you until Christ’s nature is formed in you.” – Galatians 4:19 GNB

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Notice here that Paul wasn’t writing to children in a literal sense. Paul started his letter to Galatians by rebuking them for believing the gospel of grace and later started believing another teaching which says they are saved by works. They were being tossed around by every wind of doctrine because they have not been established in the word of God. They were still just believers, the nature of Christ has taken no formation in them yet and so they were still like babies and Paul continued to groan for them until the nature of Christ is formed in them. He was not addressing unbelievers, they were believers but they still don’t exhibit Christ. They weren’t Christians yet even though they were members of the house hold of faith. They hadn’t taken responsibilities as sons yet. Christians are sons who already know they are sons. While a believer may criticize a lot of things they don’t understand in the Church, a Christian takes responsibility in the Church. While a believer don’t see reasons to be sacrificial in kingdom assignments, a Christian knows that it is his business.
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A believer may not find reasons to give for the gospel, to go out their comfort and win souls, to do exactly what Jesus would have done in any given situation but a Christan is a son, they take responsibility. It was in the place of responsibility that the Apostles were first regarded as Christ-like. They were not Christ-like because they spoke in tongues but because they were living the life! Christ was having expression through them and they were called “Christians”. In Act 11 we see that these believers were doing great and mighty things, winning souls and working miracles. This is why they were called Christians in Antioch.
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Yes, the first step to becoming a Christian is believing in Jesus but being a believer alone doesn’t qualify you as truly a Christian, it is the working out of salvation that makes you a Christian. Christians are not people who are saved, a Christian is someone who is saving others. Until you become active in the ministry of reconciliation, you are not a Christian, you may be a believer though. To be active in the ministry of reconciliation which we have been called into means to be responsible in soul winning, giving for the sake of the gospel and taking kingdom responsibilities.
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It’s okay to be a believer, but not every believer qualifies as a Christian. Every Christian was first a believer but then became doers. A believer is one who believes in Jesus but a Christian is one whom Jesus have found expression in, he follows the commands of Jesus and he is a lover of Jesus because it takes love for Jesus to follow His command (John 14:15). A believe knows about Jesus but a Christian has a very personal relationship with Jesus. To be a Christian is to LIVE THE LIFE.
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Being a Christian is intentional. The difference between a Christian and a believer is like the difference between the military and the civilian.
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Blessings.
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-George O.N-
#GracefulGeorge

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