How to become a Christian
This simple, yet profound, question is the most important question that can be asked. "How can I be saved?" deals with where we will spend eternity after our lives in this world are over. There is no more important issue than our eternal destiny. Thankfully, the Bible is abundantly clear on how a person can be saved. The Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16 verse 30) Paul and Silas responded, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16 verse 31).
There are several simple steps you need to take in order to meet the requirements God has set out in His Word. It must be understood that none of these things in themselves save you and make you a Christian. It is CHRIST'S RESPONSE to your repentance and faith that effects salvation. The Lord Jesus is the one — and only one — who is able to meet your need. In order for the Lord Jesus to make you a Christian you must:
1. Realise that Eternal life is a gift from God.
Romans 6 verse 23 says "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord."
A genuine gift is not earned or deserved; so therefore no amount of personal effort or "church work" can earn heaven for us. God offers it only as a gift.
2. Realise that you are a sinner
Man cannot save himself because he is continually doing that which keeps him from eternal life — sin.
Romans 3 verses 22 and 23 says "For there is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
1 John 1 verse 8 says "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."
3. Repent/turn away from your sin
In spite of our sin, God is merciful. He loves us because "God is love" (1 John 4 verse 8b).
But the same Bible that tells us that God loves us, also says that God is just. Being just, He always renders perfect justice. He therefore must punish sin and Exodus 34 verse 7b says "He will not let the guilty go unpunished".
4. Recognise that Jesus is the only one who can save you/me
John 1 verses 1 and 14 reminds us that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came in flesh. He came to this earth, lived a sinless life and died on the cross to purchase a place in heaven for us.
1 Corinthians 15 verse 3 says "Christ died for our sins".
Isaiah 53 verse 6 says "The Lord laid on Him the iniquity (sin) of us all".
Romans 8 verse 5 says "God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us".
In John 14 verse 6 Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me".
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish (die), but have eternal life." John 3 verse 16.
Jesus' life and death is the gift offered to sinful man.
5. Receive the Lord Jesus by faith as your personal Saviour
We receive God's gift of eternal life by faith. Faith is the key to heaven. Ephesians 2 verse 8 and 9 says "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, not by works, it is the gift from God, so that no man may boast".
Faith that saves is not just an intellectual understanding of the biblical facts, nor is it just a trust in God for temporary needs of life such as health and finances. Saving faith is trusting that Jesus' sacrificial death, burial and resurrection purchased eternal life for you and I.
1 Corinthians 15 verses 1 to 4 says "Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures"
John 1 verse 12 says "As many as received Him, to them He gives the right to become children of God".
To express this faith and put our new desires into action, God allows us to talk to Him directly. This is called prayer.
A prayer, asking God for eternal life, may be expressed like this:
"Lord Jesus Christ, I know I am a sinner and do not deserve eternal life. But I believe You died and gave Your life for me and purchased a place in heaven for me. Lord Jesus, come into my life; take control of my life; forgive my sins and save me. I repent of my sins and now place my trust in You for my salvation, and I accept the free gift of eternal life. Amen."
This simple prayer expresses the desire to receive eternal life. If you have genuinely made such a commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ, you need to grow!
An amazing transformation took place the moment you prayed and genuinely committed your life to Christ. You were spiritually BORN! The Lord Jesus said, "Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3 verse 3)
Just as a new-born baby is to grow physically, so we are to grow spiritually. A baby grows with the intake of food and the love of a family. In like manner, a person who is a spiritual new-born will grow with the intake of spiritual food (the Bible) and with the love of their spiritual family (the church).
Five means of growth
1. THE BIBLE
Read one chapter of the Book of John in the Bible each day
"God's Word is a lamp to my feet a light to my path" (Psalm 119 verse 105)
"ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3 verses 16 & 17)
God's Word promises all the above and much more. The way to discover these treasures is to study the Bible. Begin by reading at least one chapter each day in the Gospel (gospel means "good news") of John. Keep a pencil handy and underline verses that are especially meaningful to you.
Your reading will probably generate questions. Put a question mark in the margin next to any portion you may need to discuss with a Christian friend who can help explain it to you.
Spend time each day in PRAYER conversing with God. Prayer is our direct communication line to God in heaven. You can and should pray about everything!
Philippians 4 verses 6 and 7 says "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God: and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Hebrews 4 verse 16 says "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Worship regularly in a church that teaches you the Bible.
Fellowship with Christians who will help you grow in faith. Fellowship with other Christians is not only a joy, but is absolutely essential to your growth. We learn and are encouraged by one another. Hebrews 10 verse 24 says "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."
Be a witness by telling others what Jesus Christ means to you. Witnessing is sharing the joy of your salvation with others. It is perhaps even more important as a new child of God that you share Christ.
Why? Because Jesus said, "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven."
Jesus in John 10 verse 28 says "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand".
JOHN 3:16 Personalize this verse for yourself
"For God so loved ............................... that He gave His only begotten Son, that (if) ....................................... believes in Him ........................... should not perish but ............................ will have everlasting life."
Remember: No one has eternal life just because he SAYS that he has trusted Christ. Only the person who has truly repented (forsaken, turned away) from his sins and genuinely placed his faith in Jesus Christ's sacrificial death, burial and resurrection has received eternal life.
If you have questions, there is someone willing to share with you, love you, and help you.