The Hallmarks of a True Christian


In our world today, there are many people who claim to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, sadly, they exhibit sufficient faults in their personalities and daily life conduct, such that they can lead others to denounce and attack them for any real or perceived hypocrisy.  The end result is that it can lead many to question Christianity itself.

First we must understand some realities.  No one, no matter how devout and committed a Christian that a person might be, is ever without sin.  To begin, we need to understand that all humans are by nature sinners, as we read in Romans 3:10-20: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” 

However, the true believer in Jesus Christ is nonetheless cleansed from all sin (along with freedom from the penalty for it) because Jesus paid the full price of that penalty by sacrificing Himself as we read in Romans 3:21-26,

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God [which] is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

The Conflict of Two Natures

Does this mean that a true believing Christian is no longer a “sinner”?

No! 1John 1:8-10, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

And according to Romans 7:14-25,

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

The Difference Between Spiritual Life and Spiritual Death

Every human being is by nature a sinner, being descended from Adam, who committed the original sin of disobedience to God in the Garden of Eden. And while physically alive, every human being is by nature “spiritually” dead.  The transition from naturally existing in spiritual death to eternal spiritual life in Jesus Christ requires the eternal life-giving empowerment of God the Holy Spirit  (which is commonly referred to as being “Born Again”).

This is why we read in Ephesians 2:1-10 whereof Paul is writing to the believers in the church of Ephesus, “And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. ¶But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

So, a true believing Christian differs from everyone else as being someone who, by the grace of God alone, responds to the call to repent and cries out to God for mercy through Jesus Christ and to whom God shows that mercy by granting eternal life in Jesus through Jesus’s atoning sacrifice to pay for that person’s sins. The Christian remains in a physical, natural, body, which remains under the curse of physical death. That body remains at odds, or as Paul wrote, at war, with the Holy Spirit, Who is the Gift of God, Who instills that person upon regeneration. The Christian becomes embroiled in a battle to subdue his natural inclinations that lead to sin and death.  That battle is determined to continue until physical death, or the end of the world, whichever comes first.

Christian Fruits of the Spirit

Moreover, a true Christian does not want anything to do with sin in the inward being, but rather desires to obey God, fear God, and keep His commandments.  That means the Christian will approach life differently than the unsaved of the world (those who are not true Christians) because the unsaved are not engaged in an internal war.   They are spiritually dead and therefore cannot be in opposition to the body of sin and death.

The Christian is led by the Holy Spirit of God unto good works, bearing good fruit by manifesting the following attributes and by leading others to eternal salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,”

Ephesians 5:9(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Matthew 7:16, “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapesof thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down,and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Some Hallmarks of the Christian Life

“Charity” or Brotherly Love

There are a number of instructive hallmarks for any true believing Christian. 

First and foremost, all Christians must love the Lord our God, then others as themselves. 

Matthew 22:37 ¶”Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Among them, 1Peter 4:7-11,“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, [even so]  minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God; if any man minister, [let him do it] as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

1 Timothy 1:5 “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and [of] a good conscience, and [of] faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;”

And regarding “charity”, it is more correctly translated in our day as meaning true brotherly “love”, 1Corinthian 13:13 ¶And now abideth faithhopecharity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

Romans 14:13, “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in [his] brother’s way.

Romans 15:1-2, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please [his] neighbour for [his] good to edification.

1Co 14:20 “¶ Brethren, be not children in understandinghowbeit in malice be ye childrenbut in understanding be men.

Even in the Old Testament there are similar directives for a child of God. Zechariah 8:17 , “And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oathfor all these [are things] that I hate, saith the LORD.”

Lowliness and Meekness

In Ephesians 4:1-4, we are instructed by Paul, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

Paul writing to Titus with instructions for the establishment of churches and admonitions for the believers Titus 3:1 , “¶Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every goodwork, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, [but] gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.

The Christian’s Walk

Unchecked Copy Box Ephesians 4:25-32, “Wherefore putting away lyingspeak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin notlet not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour,working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Other Admonitions

A true believing Christian will be a student of the Bible to know what it contains because we know, according to 2 Timothy 3:16&17,  that, “All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

A Christian will strive to follow this direction as found in 2 Timothy 2:22-26, “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

A Christian is a follower of God, having child-like faith as we read in Ephesians 5:1-4, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. ¶But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

A Christian must exhibit brotherly love (“Charity”) because as Paul scribed in 1 Corinthians 13:1, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

A Christian must have reverential awe (“fear”) of the Omnipotent Holy God of creation as we read in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.”

1 Timothy 6:20 “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane [and] vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

Ephesians 5:11-14, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them]. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”

Profitable Attributes

A long list of key Christian attributes can be found in Romans 12:9-21,

[Let] love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. [Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly lovein honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. ¶Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. [Be] of the same mind one toward anotherMind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. [Be] not wise in your own conceits. ¶Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all menIf it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed himif he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

All of Romans Chapter 13, Romans 13:1– being subject to earthly government and showing love to others. The last two verses read, “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].

Jesus said in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

James 1:19, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”

1Thessalonians 5:22Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

Psalms 34:13-16, “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears [are open] unto their cry. The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

The Christian should be willing to lay the life down in worship and obedience to The Mighty and Powerful God of all creation. 2 Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

And then, in 2 Peter 3:12, we see that the believer must continue in the faith and in the work of sharing the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ Alone until Jesus comes back on Judgement Day, “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”

For more on what it is to be a Christian in this earthly existence, please see:A Good Employee: A Christian Credo


From another author…describing sincere/unfeigned faith and love from a pure heart that should exemplify the life of every believer:

Deep sincerity — tear-filled sincerity — is an essential marker of spiritual health and the aliveness of our affections, and critical to our gospel mission. The apostle Paul’s ministry is exemplified by his sincere love 2 Corinthians 6:4: “But in all [things] approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

He calls us to an earnest trust in God as he celebrates Timothy’s “sincere faith” (2 Timothy 1:5). It is in this sincere faith that we all must express sincere love for others: “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and [of] a good conscience, and [of] faith unfeigned:” (1Timothy 1:5; see also Romans 12:9; 1 Peter 1:22).

And even if ridiculers turn out to hate knowledge, we live under the authority of divine truth in sincerity, as James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible Studies

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