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Discover how to become a Christian

What is a Christian?

Put simply, a Christian is a sinner who has been saved from eternal punishment through faith in Jesus Christ's sacrificial death on the cross. With Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour they have entered into a new and living relationship with God and live to honour him in every aspect of life.

How do I become a Christian?

Firstly, in order to become a Christian a person has to accept two things that God says about mankind:

1) We are all lost and need to be saved

God in his love and wisdom made human beings distinct from any other living creature to live in a special relationship with him. That’s why you and I were made - to know God! Sadly, every individual has either deliberately or unconsciously turned their backs on God and are separated from Him because of their sin.

What is sin? Well, it is a term used in archery. If someone’s arrow missed the target they were said to have ‘sinned’. Sin is failing to hit the target! The target we fail to hit is God’s standard of holy perfection. We have all failed to live up to God’s perfect standards in our thoughts, words and deeds. Indeed, by comparison to God’s holy perfection, even the nicest person you know has missed the target by millions of miles.

Am I a sinner? Yes, everyone is a sinner, but don’t just take my word for it; listen to what God says. In the Bible we read that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). Sin has two consequences. Firstly, it alienates us from God, and secondly, it prevents us from entering heaven. Indeed, there is a penalty that must be paid for sin and that penalty is death! ‘For the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23). Death is both the consequence of, and the penalty for, our sin. That means that we all deserve hell not heaven! So, we need to be saved from hell!

2) We cannot save ourselves

Many people believe that if they do enough good in their life it will outweigh all the bad they have done. This may sound logical, but it only provides us with a false sense of security, for God says: ‘There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death’ (Proverbs 14:12). Sin isn’t measured by our standards but by what God regards as being wrong. For example, you may not have committed any crimes such as murder or robbery, but you will have held hatred in your heart against someone at some time, or you may have taken a pencil from work. God regards these acts as murder and robbery, even if you don’t! Besides, can you tell me how many good works you have to do to pay for losing your temper, or swearing, or being selfish? And even then, what is good enough for God? There is no amount of good we can do to pay for even the smallest failure in our lives. The Bible says that ‘all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.’ (Isaiah 64:6).

Do you see how futile and uncertain our attempts are to clear our record and get into heaven?

What God has done to save us

It is precisely because we can’t save ourselves that God in his mercy and love has come to our rescue by sending his Son Jesus.

Many people think that Jesus came into the world to live a good life and give us some good teaching, which of course he did. But that was not the main reason why he came. The main reason he came was to die on the cross and save people from the punishment for their sins.

  • That’s why the angels declared at his birth: ‘You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins’ (Matthew 1:21).
  • That’s why John the Baptist said when he saw Jesus: ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29).
  • That’s what Jesus said about himself: ‘For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost’ (Luke 19:10).

Jesus’ death was no accident - it was planned by God! ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16). Jesus died for the wrong things you and I have done, because as we saw earlier, God says: ‘The wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23). There had to be a death in order to pay for our sin. That is what God requires.

Jesus died for our sin because he knew that we could not pay for it ourselves. ‘God demonstrates his own love for us in this; while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8). (The fact that Jesus rose again from the dead is proof that the payment for sin was complete.)

But, all that Christ did on the cross will be of no good to you unless you receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour. Only then will your sin have been paid for. The Bible say: ‘Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son’ (John 3:18). That word ‘believe’ doesn’t just mean to believe theoretically in your head about Jesus, but to believe in your heart and to commit your life into his hands.

Let me illustrate this: There was once a tight-rope walker called Blondine who walked across the Niagara Falls from the American side to the Canadian side. Thousands of people cheered him on his way. When he reached the Canadian side he asked the crowd if they believed that he could do the stunt again with a man on his back to which they all cried out, ‘We believe you! We believe you!’. He then asked, ‘Who will be that man?’ There was a deathly silence. No-one wanted to volunteer despite the fact that they said they believed that he could do it. No-one, that is, except one old man who said, ‘I’ll go!’ With the man perched upon his back , Blondine made his way safely across to the American side of the Falls.

That story perfectly illustrates the kind of belief in Jesus that saves us from the punishment we deserve. There has to be a commitment - a response from the heart, and a step of faith.

Will you be saved?

See also

Christian Answers

Leadership University - Apologetics

 

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