Updated: May 19
Has anyone ever asked you this question? Were you able to give a satisfactory answer? Sometimes we can get so deep into the "how" questions of our faith, "How do we worship, how do we read the Bible?" etc. that we forget to answer the "why" questions. Why are we Christians?
It is my contention that any Christian beginning the answer in the form of "I am a Christian because I..." might be on the wrong track (meaning the reason is found in themselves).
Think about it this way. Imagine that on the judgement day you stand before God's throne and your name is found in the book of life. You are about to spend eternity with God himself and your fellow Christians, enjoying the full bliss of everything that comes with it. As you move toward the gates, someone enters the judgement room after you. You recognise this person: He lived during the same time as you, the same town, went to the same school, same university, he had the same kind of family, went to church every Sunday, heard the same arguments you heard, in every sphere of life his life was almost identical to yours.
The book of life is opened, and his name is not found. He is to be sent to hell.
Why were you saved, and not him? Think about your answer before moving on.
The Biblical Answer
The Biblical answer is partly developed in the first chapter of Paul's letter to the Ephesians.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1: 3-14, ESV
Next time someone asks you why you are a Christian, remember to start your answer in the following manner: "In love he predestined me for adoption to himself as a son / daughter through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed me in the Beloved."
The Significance of the Biblical Answer
There might be some who are tempted to answer that they are a Christian because, "[I]' ve looked at the facts and the evidence and determined that it's true..." or something along that lines.
I won't disagree with these individuals, because the evidence (the whole of reality) reveals the one true God to us every second of every day. This is what Paul teaches in Romans 1: God reveals Himself to all men such that they are without excuse. This specific answer, however, is incomplete. Paul is quite clear that although the natural man knows God through creation, the natural man will suppress that truth in unrighteousness because of his sin. We don't believe because of the evidence or our intellect, we believe because of God's grace.
Preaching the Gospel Through Your Answer
Answering the question in this manner opens the door to a great conversation on the atoning work of Jesus Christ.
You can expand on your answer, stating that if it were not for the grace of God no one, including yourself, would be a Christian. For some found in Himself (Rom. 9:15, Ex. 33:19), God determined to show mercy to your soul and bring you to repentance so that He might be glorified in your salvation. Christians are NOT inherently better or smarter than unbelievers, the only thing that separates us from unbelievers is grace.
The Biblical answer immediately confronts the one asking you the question with their own moral position and need of a saviour. By pointing to your own moral incapability and guilt before God, the person asking the question is bound to do the same type of introspection in their own lives. By further stating that you are saved by God's grace through the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross, it will further plant the good news that the Holy Spirit can grow that might lead to their salvation.
But What About the Evidence?
The evidence for the Christian faith cannot save. Even Satan knows the one true God, but he won't repent. Evidences for the Christian faith is solely there to leave men without excuse and to act as a faith strengthening mechanism for born-again Christians.