Were there Christians before Christ?
Recently I’ve been studying Abraham and his life throughout the Bible (mostly Old Testament) and I’ve been learning very much. There is so much to learn about God and how we should approach him, most importantly I think about faith.
Promises were made to Abraham and his wife that were pretty hard for anyone other than God to fulfill. Promises I wouldn’t
dream of ever making someone, but God did. Promises that if they were made to me I’m not certain that I could stand with the same amount of faith that Abraham did. Years stretched by before promises were kept but God always did. I mean seriously, dude had a baby with his wife well into their 90s…um…crazy. Here is the deal though. Church today doesn’t really talk as much about the Old Testament as I think they should. There is much more emphasis on the Gospel (totally fine) but not always the connections back to where they ultimately take their foundations for our hope that we cling to.
So the question: were there Christians before Christ? I’m going to say unequivocally yes! The term “Christian” I think has taken on new meaning since the millennia that Jesus lived in. It’s grown to mean something almost different from Christ-follower. The Jews wouldn’t really have used the word in the way that we do. In my mind (I’m no scholar just winging it here) the word would have been meant as a literal follower of Christ, not as someone saved by the grace of Him. I would argue that the way we use the word today isn’t, in and of itself, incorrect as I believe that to be saved from sin you must be a follower of Christ, but that isn’t the whole meaning.
So why did I start with Abraham? Well, faith is something he was great at.
In John 8 the Jews asked Jesus if he was greater than Abraham, his answer:
If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.
Did you catch that? Abraham knew Jesus. A-maz-ing! He knew him, he trusted in him, and most importantly had unswerving faith in him. Galatians 3 takes it further.
does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by the works of the law, or by hearing with faith — just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?
Abraham believed blindly and wholly by faith and it was his righteousness, it saved him for and to God.
To answer the original question …. Absolutely!
Again, I am no scholar. If I’m wrong help me to learn more.