Becoming a Christian
…is about one thing: knowing God. Here are four principles to help you discover how you can begin a relationship with God and experience power to change.
Principle One: God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life. God created you. Not only that, He loves you so much that he wants you to spend eternity with Him. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus came so that each of us could know and understand God in a personal way. Jesus alone can bring meaning and purpose to life.
Principle Two: All of us are sinful and separated from God. Therefore we cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for our life. The fact is, we need Jesus. The Bible says, “…all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23b). Though God intended for us to have a relationship with Him, we naturally want to do things our own way. We’re stubborn, selfish, and frequently unable to follow through on our promises. Try as we might, we just keep stumbling.
Deep down, our attitude may be one of active rebellion or passive indifference, but it’s all evidence of what the Bible calls sin — an old archery term which literally means “missing the mark.” The Bible says the result of sin in our lives is death — spiritual separation from God (Romans 6:23).
Although we may try to reach God through our own effort, we inevitably fail. We just can’t ever be good enough. This diagram shows the great gap that exists between us and God. The arrows illustrate that we are always trying to reach God and find a meaningful life through our own efforts. We may try to do good things or adopt a new guiding philosophy — but we inevitably fail.
Principle Three: Jesus Christ is God’s only
provision for our sin. Through Him we can know and experience God’s
love and plan for our life. Jesus Christ is God’s solution to the
problem of human imperfection and evil. Because of Jesus’ death on the
cross, we don’t have to be separated from God any longer. Jesus paid
the price for our sin and in so doing, bridged the gap between us and
Principle Four: We must individually accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our life. The Bible says, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). We accept Jesus by faith. The Bible says, “God saved you by his special favour when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Accepting Jesus means first believing that Jesus is who he claimed to be, then inviting him to take the control of our lives and make us into new people (John 3:1-8). Jesus said, “I’m standing at the door and I’m knocking. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in” (Revelation 3:20). How will you respond to God’s invitation? What will you do with the claims of Jesus Christ? Instead of trying harder to reach God, we simply need to accept Jesus and his sacrifice as the one way to God. “I am the way, the truth and the life,” Jesus said. “No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
He also said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish” (John 11:25-26). But not only did Jesus die for our sin, He rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-6). When he did, he proved beyond doubt that he can rightfully promise eternal life–that he is the son of God and the only means by which we can know God.
Yet just having knowledge about God’s plans and purposes isn’t enough. We need to consciously accept Jesus Christ as the payment for our sin and welcome Him into our life. Choosing to submit your life to God is the most significant decision you can ever make. This choice involves more than simple intellectual agreement that Jesus is God and that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins.
Becoming a Christian also requires that you commit the rest of your life to God, to do what He asks of you and to live in accordance with His principles. This decision is not something to be taken lightly. It requires sacrifice and a total reorientation of your life around God rather than yourself. As Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
If you feel you are ready to make this commitment, you can do so right now by telling God you are sorry for your past mistakes, putting your trust in Him and asking Him to make you into the person He created you to be. This step involves faith. You probably still have a number of unanswered questions at this point. But you must be willing to make the decision based on what you know right now and trust God to fill in the details later.
The precise words you use to commit yourself to God are not important. He knows the intentions of your heart. Your prayer can be as simple as “Help!” or it can focus on an issue that is specific to your situation. If you are unsure of what to pray, use the following sample prayer to get started:
“Jesus, I want to know you. I want you to come into my life. I’m sorry for the things I’ve done that have broken my relationship with God. Thank you for dying on the cross so that this relationship could be made right. I believe You are the only One who can do this. Only You can give me the power to change and become the person You created me to be. Thank you for forgiving my past mistakes and for giving me eternal life with God. I give my life to You. Please do with it as You wish. Amen.”
By praying the above prayer (or one similar to it) you have just taken a giant step toward making God the centre of your life. But these are just the words. What follows is a lifelong journey of change and growth as you get to know God better through Bible reading, prayer and interaction with other Christians. If you prayed the prayer above and invited Jesus into your life, you’ve become a Christian — which means simply, “Christ in one.”We would love to hear from you, and help you develop a deeper understanding of this step you have taken.