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What is a Christian? This is a truly vital question because never-ending happiness or everlasting horror hinges upon understanding the correct, biblical answer to it. Yet few questions have provoked so much confusion. Ryan McGraw lays out what it means to be a Christian in terms of what one believes, what one experiences, and what one does—a full-orbed Christianity of head, heart, and hands. If you are investigating what it means to follow Jesus Christ, if you are wrestling with the question of whether you are truly saved, if you desire to grow as a Christian by getting back to the basics, or if you are seeking to help others, here are simple and clear answers from the Holy Scriptures.
What a Christian Believes: The Word of God
- Creation by the Triune God
- Fallen Man the Sinner
- Christ the Divine Redeemer
What a Christian Experiences: Union with Christ
- Conviction of Sin and Repentance toward God
What a Christian Does: Obedient Love
- Love for God
- Love for God’s Law
- Love for God’s People
Are You a Christian?
- To the Non-Christian
- To the Professing Christian
- To the True Christian
Ryan McGraw is pastor of First Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Sunnyvale, California; research associate, University of the Free State; adjunct professor of systematic theology, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
“‘What is a Christian?’ This is a vital and necessary question. Ryan McGraw tells us at the outset that the issues at stake are momentous, leading to eternal blessedness or eternal perdition. The author’s single concern is to explore the Bible’s answer to this question. In doing so he engagingly confronts us with what it means to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Read and be led, by grace, to Christ, the Christian’s sole hope and glory.” — Ian Hamilton, minister, Cambridge Presbyterian Church, Cambridge, England
Cultivating Biblical Godliness Series
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, “The world today is looking for, and desperately needs, true Christians. I am never tired of saying that what the Church needs to do is not to organize evangelistic campaigns and attract outside people, but to begin herself to live the Christian life. If she did that, men and women would be crowding into our buildings. They would say, ‘What is the secret of this?’”
Many people who are new to the church need instruction in the most basic aspects of godly living. Even where churches are engaged heavily in discipleship, visitors and members often have gaps in their understanding and practice. One of the greatest needs of our time is for the Spirit of God to cultivate biblical godliness in us in order to put the glory of Christ on display through us, all to the glory of God the Father.
For these reasons, Joel Beeke and Ryan McGraw are coediting a series of booklets titled Cultivating Biblical Godliness. These booklets treat matters that are vital to Christian experience, and each contribution aims to address a wide variety of people and circumstances at a fundamental and introductory level. This includes teaching people what to believe in order to practice personal holiness as well as specific directions on how to cultivate biblical godliness in relation to issues that are common to God’s people.
The distinctive feature of this series is its experiential tone. While some booklet series aim to enlighten the mind, these booklets aim to warm the affections as well. The goal is to promote communion with the triune God and to transform the entire person in thought, speech, and behavior. To this end, we intend to include a wide range of authors whom the Spirit has blessed to skillfully stir up the church to personal holiness and affection to Christ through their preaching and writing ministries.
We need a Christianity that puts the transformative power of God in the gospel on display through developing a communion with God that is visible to the world. Our prayer is that through this series, the Lord would revive His church by producing Christians who are full of love for Christ, who deny themselves in order to follow Him at great personal cost, and who know the joys of walking with the triune God. This is the kind of Christianity that we need. This is the kind of Christianity that the triune God has used to turn the world upside down. May He be pleased to do so again.
Joel R. Beeke is President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a prolific author.
Ryan M. Mcgraw is pastor of First OPC in Sunnyvale, CA. He is also author or The Day of Worship: Reassessing the Christian Life in Light of the Sabbath.