Becoming a Christian!
A Christian is a follower and a worshiper of the Triune God of the Bible--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In order to become a Christian, think of these two words: Believe and Come! Jesus says in John 6:35 that if you believe in Him and come to Him you will become a Christian. But exactly what must you believe and how must you come?
You must come recognizing that God is the exalted, holy God of the universe, and that Jesus Christ is God come in human flesh. To view God as anything less is to exchange the glory of God for an idol of your own creation. We are not at liberty to redefine God to suit our tastes. We must bow to the God who is. -And He is the one true, living and eternal God, who is the Sovereign Creator, Lord and Judge of all creation. Psalm 96:4-6; John 1:1-3; 1 Timothy 2:5
You must believe that you can never be"good enough" to be accepted by God and earn your way to Heaven! You are a sinner, in need of a Savior. Jesus is the only Savior of the world! Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to turn from their sin. You cannot come to Christ bringing your own works of righteousness. You must come empty-handed, recognizing that if God gave you what you truly deserve it would be judgment in Hell. You must believe that even the best of your good works are like filthy rags in God's sight. Romans 3:22-23; Mark 2:17; 1 Timothy 1:15, 2:5
You must come seeking God's mercy, forgiveness and cleansing. He does not bargain with us. We have nothing of value to offer Him. Faith is not some precious stone that we can use to bribe God into forgiving us. Instead, faith is acknowledging our dependence upon Him, and our desperate need for His mercy. Genuine faith acknowledges our helplessness, emptiness and sinfulness. Genuine faith cries out to God for mercy. Luke 18:13
You must come with the expectation that God will change you. If you come to Christ in a way that leaves you unchanged from your former way of life, then you have not come to Him in true faith. Repentance-a dramatic change in the way you view sin, self, God and righteousness-will always accompany true saving faith. Matthew 1:21; Luke 13:3.
- If you come to God through His Son Jesus, believing with all your heart that you are a sinner, Jesus is the only Savior, and you joyfully commit your entire life to Him, you will not be turned away, but accepted and rescued! John 6:37
Having come to Christ, you (and others) will witness a profound change in your character, appetites and priorities. You are no longer the person you once were. As you progress in sanctification, you become more like Christ, and the following fruits should become increasingly apparent:
You now view God as a loving Father and not merely as an angry Judge. You live to please your heavenly Father, and you seek to spend time with Him in prayer, and in the study of His Word. Not because you have to, but because you want to!
God's glory is now your greatest delight. Your priorities shift profoundly from an emphasis on self to an emphasis on God, seeking to magnify His honor and glory in a sin-darkened world. You become more preoccupied with knowing God and drawing closer to Him, and as you do, you find it easier to declare His glory to others you meet. Worship increasingly becomes the highlight of your life.
You now recognize the Bible to be God's holy, infallible Word, and hence you regard it, with great reverence, to be the supreme and final authority for all things pertaining to God and salvation. You have a hunger to know more about God, and a willingness to submit to His teachings in order to draw closer to Him.
Faith is now a way of life for you. Faith is not simply a decision we make at the beginning of the Christian life. As you travel the Christian life, you become increasingly aware of your daily need for God's mercy and grace, and so you pray often for the grace needed to endure trials and temptations. When confronted with troubles, you are comforted by the thought that God has ordained them for your good and His glory, and that even our worst experiences are under His wise and sovereign control.
You now possess a new character that you did not have before-you possess more humility, more compassion, more kindness and more purity than before you came to Christ. Yet, you are now more aware of your sinfulness than ever before. The closer we get to God, the more sensitive we become to the sin that still dwells within us. However, we do not despair, for we remember that it is Christ's righteousness, not our own, that protects us from God's wrath. Also, we remain confident that God is faithful, and will continue to cleanse us by His Spirit and conform us more and more to the image of Christ.
You have a new love for the people of God. You take great delight in meeting with others who share your love for God and for His Word. You seek to use your gifts and talents to help build them up in the faith, even as you are helped and encouraged by the gifts God has given to them.
You have a longing for heaven-a desire to dwell in the manifest presence of your heavenly Father, and to be finally rid of the sin and suffering that is so prevalent in this life.
Those who are born of God will still at times stumble into sin or doubt, but God will always bring them back to faith and obedience. During this life, we will never be perfectly free from sin, but true Christians will long to be delivered from all forms of idolatry and serve Jesus Christ as their only King!
We pray that you have indeed become a Christian! Welcome to God's family. It would be our delight to help you grow in your new relationship with God and His Son Jesus. God bless you!