Becoming a Christian
Whatever you might think about God, you will have to agree that this world is not the way it’s supposed to be. Something has gone wrong.
There is much in the world that gives us joy, like family, friends, food, drink, sports and art; but there is much in the world that brings great pain too, like sickness, poverty, injustice, loneliness and death. The causes of the hardships in this world can be complex, but the Bible traces it all back to one main problem – sin. Men and women and children have sinned against God – we have done what should not have done, and we have not done what we should have done. The reason the world is not the way it’s supposed to be is because of sin.Thankfully, God has decided to do something about the sin problem.
He devised and executed a plan whereby he would enter into this world in the person of Jesus Christ. That’s right – God actually became a man and lived on this earth. Because Jesus was God, He was able to fulfill perfectly all of God’s requirements and pay the price for sins we committed. And because Jesus was man, He was able to act as the representative of humankind before God.
He is a perfectly sufficient Savior.
He endured the sufferings of this life.
He never committed a sin in thought, word or deed.
He was tempted as we are yet was without sin.
He defeated the devil and the powers of evil and took upon Himself the wrath of God against sin when He died on the Cross.
And the good news is that Jesus didn’t stay dead. He was raised from the dead, soul and body. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father, until He comes again to judge the world on the last day. And when Jesus comes again, He will bring to earth the full manifestation of the kingdom of God, so that He and all his people will live forever in resurrected bodies on a fully glorified new earth.
And at that time, everything will be exactly the way it’s supposed to be.
It is important to understand that while Christians are people who do good, no one becomes a Christian by doing good. In fact, a helpful distinction is that the Christian faith is not “good advice,” but “good news.” When one receives “good advice,” he/she tries to follow the advice in order to earn some kind of reward. This is not Christianity.
Rather, the Christian is one who trusts in the “good news” of an event fully accomplished in the past — Jesus did everything required to make God delight in you with singing, and it is through faith that you can enjoy all the benefits of what Jesus has done. “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith; and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
To become a Christian, you first must come to grips with your own guilt. Once you can admit that you are to blame for your sin, then you can ask God for forgiveness, and trust that Jesus Christ lived the life you should have lived, and died the death you should have died.
Don’t worry whether your past sins are too severe, or whether your motives are exactly pure, or whether you have all your questions answered. Jesus said, “whoever comes to me, I will never drive away.” (John 6:37). Take him at his word. You can pray right now to receive Christ, with words like this:
“God, I confess to you that I have sinned against you. I will not make excuses any longer. I realize that I need forgiveness, and that I can not erase my sin with my own efforts to be good. Instead, I need your grace, and I now accept by faith the offer of forgiveness and righteousness that you extend to me in Jesus Christ. I entrust my whole eternity to you, and I ask you to enable me to pursue you all the days of my life, and to turn from my sins toward your righteous ways. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”
The natural response to receiving such a great salvation is to now follow the One who saved you. This is a lifelong process that will meet with many ups and downs, but it is essential to the Christian life, and involves such activities as weekly church attendance, prayer, Bible reading, relationships with other Christians, a daily habit of turning from sin (repentance), and more. Through all of this, God will begin making your life more like it’s supposed to be, and you won’t want to go back.
Jesus did everything required to make God delight in you with singing, and it is through faith that you can enjoy all the benefits of what Jesus has done.
If you are looking for a good basic overview of the Gospel and what it means to live a Christian life, try these resources:
An Anchor for the Soul by Ray Pritchard
Basic Christianity by John Stott
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney
“Salvation by Grace” sermon