What does it mean to be a “believer”?
We (Christians) use lots of different terms to identify ourselves, and to distinguish us from others. One of the most common of these is to call Christians or followers of Jesus “believers.” So, what do we mean by this?
Surely we mean more than the generic “belief in God” that Gallup and Barna and others year after year show that 95+% of the US population claims.
Do we (generally) mean there is a certain minimum amount of claims about Jesus that one must agree with to be a “believer”?
If we mean, “to be a believer is to have given one’s heart to Jesus,” or “to be a believer is to have accepted Jesus as one’s savior,” are we claiming there is an ontological change in the individual when such a decision is made?
A quick perusal of NT uses of the word (this question deserves more than a quick perusal) leads me to think that use of the term “believer” there is used more as an affirmative, almost generic, identifier of those who profess to being part of the church much more than it is commentary on whoever make up the pool of non-believers.
Now I’m rambling. What does it mean to be a “believer”?