What does it mean to be a Christian?

Rena Seow (Clementi Ward)

“What does it mean to be a Christian?” At the October 2012 General Conference, Elder Robert  D. Hales said,

“A Christian has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is the literal Son of God, sent by His Father to suffer for our sins in the supreme act of love we know as the Atonement.

A Christian believes that through the grace of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, we can repent, forgive others, keep the commandments, and inherit eternal life.”

The word Christian actually means taking upon the name of Christ. How do we do this?

  1. We take upon his name by being baptized and receiving the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by those holding the priesthood authority. We renew this covenant when we partake of the sacrament every Sunday.
  2. A Christian knows that God’s prophets have always testified of Jesus Christ. We have a living prophet and apostles today who teach us about Jesus Christ – especially during General Conference. Their talks help us get closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
  3. We will always obey God’s commandments. We put the Lord first in our lives by striving to think and act as he would. Like how he healed the sick, made the blind see again.  These are services that we can do to help others. Jesus Christ wants us to serve others as in Mosiah 2:17 “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God.”
  4. We also fulfil this covenant by standing as witnesses of God at all times, in all things and in all places. We should not be afraid to tell others about what is right, even if the world thinks it is not exactly wrong. This also means that we should be missionaries and share the gospel truths with our friends and neighbours.

Elder Robert D Hales also gave ten qualities that we should develop as Christians.

  1. Christian Love: The Savior loves everyone. During his earthly ministry, he was also kind and compassionate to all.
  2. Christian faith: Despite temptations, trials, and persecutions, we must always trust our Heavenly Father and obey his commandments.
  3. Christian sacrifice: Throughout his life, the Savior gave his time, his energy, and ultimately, sacrificed himself so that we may be saved and have eternal life.
  4. Christian caring: Like the good Samaritan, the Savior was continually reaching out to help others.
  5. Christian service: Whether drawing water from a well, cooking a meal, or washing dusty feet, the Savior spent his days serving others.
  6. Christian patience: With patience for us, the Savior waits upon us to come to ourselves and come to him.
  7. Christian peace: The Savior taught that Christians cannot contend with one another, notwithstanding their differences.
  8. Christian forgiveness: The Savior taught us to bless those who curse us. He showed us the way by forgiving and praying for those who crucified him.
  9. Christian conversion: Like Peter and Andrew, many recognize the truth of the gospel as soon as they hear it.  They are instantly converted. For others, it may take longer. In a revelation given through Joseph Smith, the Savior taught, “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”
  10. Christian endurance to the end: In all his days, the Savior never gave up doing his father’s will but continued in righteousness, goodness, mercy, and truth to the end of his mortal life.

These are the characteristics of those who hear and heed the Savior’s voice. They are truly Christians.