In the latest volume of the Buck Denver Asks … What’s in the Bible? series, creator Phil Vischer tackles some pretty big questions about faith – including asking “What does it mean to be a Christian?” At the end of Volume 12: Letters from Paul! [Romans through Philemon], Phil answers the question this way:
“Being a Christian isn’t about following rules,” Vischer said. “It’s about following God.”
As he notes in the video, some church sermons are built around the idea that being a Christian means doing certain things, and following certain rules. While Vischer believes that following God’s commands are still a part of the faith, they come after following God. “Following the commands,” he said, “comes out of that relationship. It’s not a replacement for that relationship.”
When defining Christian for kids, Vischer uses this phrase – “It means that you’ve been justified by grace through faith.” But what does that mean?
Throughout Volume 12, the What’s in the Bible? characters learn the definitions of those words (justification, grace, and faith), but also what they mean when they are all together. Justification means changing our label from wrong to right in God’s eyes. We are no longer sinful, but righteous! We are justified through the grace of God, who came to earth and paid the price for our sin. And we receive the gifts of justification and grace through our faith, which comes to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Faith is believing that God is who he said he is and that he will do what he says he will do. When we believe that, we are justified through God’s grace!
And then, as Vischer notes, “Now that you are justified, you can be sanctified – you become more like Jesus every day through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
But being a Christian means more that that, said Vischer. Linking back to how we following God’s commands because of our relationship with Him, Vischer said that as a Christian, “You become part of God’s plan to restore creation, to help people around you, to bring the Gospel to life, to bring the Kingdom of God to life on earth!”