What does it take to be a good Christian?

The concept of a "good Christian" kind of misses the point of what the Christian life is all about. It is not our own goodness that brings us to salvation, and neither is it our own goodness that keeps us saved (Ephesians 2:8–9). That being said, we are certainly called to obey God. Jesus talked about abiding in Him and producing good fruit in John 15. Ephesians 2:10 says we have been created for good works that God prepared in advance for us. Clearly the Christian life is meant to be lived out, and it looks different from the life of those apart from Christ. But there is no formula for being a "good Christian."

We must first recognize that salvation is not a mere ticket to heaven, but a complete regeneration. Second Corinthians 5:17 says that "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." God actually transforms our being. He does not save us and then give us a list of rules to follow or some prescribed expectation to meet. Rather, He brings us into active relationship with Him. Relationship is dynamic. Each person is a unique creation. There is no cookie-cutter approach to God or method to pleasing Him. Being a "good Christian" means purposing one's life toward knowing God and glorifying Him.

There are some practical tools that can help us get to know God better and follow Him. As stated above, relationship is key. This requires communication. We read God's Word to us and we pray. We also join in God's work by obeying His commands (John 15:1–17) and seeking to make Him known to others (Matthew 28:18–20). We demonstrate His love to one another and to the world (John 13:34–35; 15:12–17; Galatians 6:9–10). We fellowship with other believers to encourage one another in faith and life and to help one another get to know God more (Hebrews 10:24–25). These things do not make a person a "good Christian." Rather, they are activities that tend to characterize the Christian life. The Christian life is not about being good. It is about having been reconciled with God—counted as "good" before Him—and then living out the fruit of such an amazing grace. Second Corinthians 3:18 says, "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." It is because of this that we "work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12–13).

Second Peter 1:3–8 is a helpful description of a "good Christian" life: "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." God has given us all we need and is at work in us. We, in turn, trust Him and seek to obey.

Related Truth:

What must I do to please God?

How can I glorify God? What does it mean to glorify God?

How can I come to really know God?

In Christ, how does God see me?

How should our identity in Christ affect the way we live?

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