What makes a Christian?

What is the difference between a Christian and someone who has yet to receive Jesus? The difference can be seen through what empowers their life: ‘Life’ or ‘death’. Our lives are an arena where these two sources compete to rule and bear fruit in our lives.

… when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions … were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death.

Romans 7:5

Those who have yet to receive the ‘life’ of Jesus are in the realm of the flesh. The tragedy is to see people doing their best, yet however well intentioned, they succumb to their passions, fail to love unconditionally and bare fruit for ‘death’. Likewise, we who have the life of Christ stumble when we choose to feed our passions and bear that same fruit.

So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

Romans 7:4

We escape the power of ‘death’ through identifying with Jesus’ death on the cross; by renouncing allegiance to our sinful passions and receiving his ‘life’ as we identify with his resurrection. Having received his ‘life’ we belong to Jesus and can bear his fruit of love. Fruit must have a source, and only the power of Jesus who is love, can be the source of his fruit.