What is a Christian? What are we when we call ourselves Christian? A million possible answers could pop into our heads and many may be very insightful. None is better, though, than the heart-warming nugget contained in the intro to the letter of Jude. (I’m preaching through this small, strange, and often neglected letter through July and I’ll be micro-posting along with that).
Jude greets the Christians he’s writing to as …those who are called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for [by] Jesus Christ. (v 1b) There, concisely and beautifully, is what we are when we call ourselves Christian. We are:
Called. To be Christian is to have heard the call of God and responded. God is all about calling a people to Himself. Starting with Abraham, the nation of Israel, the inclusion of the Gentiles (non-Jews), and right up to the present day. To be Christian is to be a part of that. It’s right even to say that “called” is almost synonymous with “Christian”.
Beloved. Loved by God, specifically by the Father, that’s what a Christian is. Be careful to not dismiss this as mere idea; the Father’s love is to be experienced. To be the object of such love is the privilege of all Christians.
Kept. Either to be kept for service to Jesus or kept by His faithful preservation. Both options are encouraging and blessed. We’re neither purposeless nor left to our own devices. Jesus does not save us from our sins and then leave on our own. We’re kept. Safe and sound by his care.
What is a Christian? Called, Beloved, Kept.