There are 3 verses in the New Testament that refer to believers in Jesus as Christians. These are Acts 11:26,26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16. The word means a Christ person. Some have expanded this to mean a Christ follower or follower of Christ, but that is not what the word means. In the Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament they write that "The name itself presupposes that confession of Christ constituted the characteristic feature of Jesus' adherents". They base this on Acts 26:28 where Agrippa confesses that Paul nearly persuaded him to be a Christian.
But is this all? I can't help but think that there is more to it. Although a confession of Christ is essential and primary, is this the only 'characteristic feature'?
Throughout the book of Acts there was one other characteristic feature of a Christian that was needed. That is the presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit. At Samaria Phillip was concerned that the holy Spirit had not come upon any of the new and baptized believers. The Apostles had to be called in to finish the job. At Ephesus Paul found some followers, some disciples, but noted their lack of the Holy Spirit. A situation he quickly remedied.
The word christ is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word for messiah. The English word is anointed. We capitalize these words because they are names and refer to Jesus. So if we translated Christian, the Greek word is Christianos, it would be anointed person. In my way of thinking a Christian is an anointed person who confesses and follows Christ Jesus.
The anointing of the Holy Spirit is the sign and seal of the New Covenant, much like circumcision and the sabbath were of the first covenant. It is the evidence that a person is a partaker of the covenant. hey were first called Christians because as confessors of Jesus they were anointed by the Holy Spirit.
The point of this is that the anointing of the Holy Spirit is not a spiritual elite, or for the more deeply dedicated, but for all who confess Jesus as their Lord. May the time come when all Christians live up to their name and are baptized in the Holy Spirit. If that phrase is a problem for you, how about saying may the time come when all Christians, ALL CHRISTIANS, are consciously anointed with the power of the Spirit to help them be a true witness of Christ's resurrection to the world. Not only with miraculous demonstrations of power, but with miraculous demonstrations of the fruit of the Spirit. O Lord, may that day come soon.