How to Become a Christian
Becoming a Christian is about entering a relationship – a relationship with God
through Jesus Christ His Son. Through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection,
God made it possible for us in spite of our fallenness to have a full, unbroken
connection with Him, both now and for eternity. We have only to admit our
sinfulness, believe Christ’s saving work as described in the Bible, and confess
our faith in Christ as our Savior and Lord.
The first step to a relationship with the Lord is to admit our need for His grace. All people, even the most virtuous or well-meaning, sin. We all disobey God, make mistakes, and have spiritual shortcomings. We all do, say, and think things that go against or fall short of God’s standards for us as set forth in His Word, the Bible.
As a result, we are unable to enjoy an unhindered relationship with our perfect Creator or enter His glorious presence. We are also powerless to repair the relationship on our own or to adequately compensate for our sin.
Things were not always this way. When God created the world, He “saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). The first man and woman walked and talked with God (Gen. 2:4-25; 3:8-9). Yet when Adam and Eve committed the first act of disobedience, the harmonious relationship was broken (Gen. 3:1-24). Ever since, humans have lived in a fallen world and have possessed a sinful nature.
We need something or someone to compensate for our sins, justify us (make us right with God), and restore the relationship. God provides a Way to do this through Christ. Our first step on that Way is to admit our sins, repenting of them (deciding to change) and seeking God’s forgiveness through prayer.
Once we have recognized our sin, we can joyfully accept what God has done about it through Christ. The story of Christ’s work of salvation is found in the New Testament in the Bible. Through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, God offers to save us from our sin and to restore the relationship. This salvation is a gift; we need only believe that fact and put our trust in Him.
As the Son of God, Jesus was both fully human and fully God. He lived a sinless life, while also experiencing hardships and temptations as we do. He taught, performed miracles, and reached out to the outcast. He both set a moral example for us and showed us what God’s love and character are like. Jesus’ perfection and divine nature also allowed Him to bear the weight of all human sin – past, present, and future – on the cross. Through His death, He paid the penalty for sin once and for all, removing our guilt and offering us a fresh start in our relationship with God. And through His resurrection three days later, He conquered death and created the hope of an eternity with God and a future resurrection for all who believe.
In order to claim this hope, we must believe what Jesus has done for us. Belief (or faith) lies at the heart of the Christian message, for it is what justifies us and gives us access to God’s saving grace. Faith makes us right in God’s eyes and sets us up to receive His salvation by confessing Christ as Savior.
Having believed Christ’s saving work, it is time to confess our faith in Him as our Savior and Lord. As Romans 10:9-10 says:
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Confessing our faith means making the conscious decision to accept Christ’s saving action in our lives and entrusting Him with our relationship. It also means telling Him and others of that decision.
Confessing our faith seals the relationship with God that Christ made possible for us. It is our way of reaching out to take the gift the Lord holds out to us.
Here is a prayer to help guide you in starting your own walk with Christ. Also consider talking to a pastor for guidance.
"Dear God, I know that I have broken Your holy law and that I am a sinner. I am truly sorry. I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins on the cross, was buried, and rose from the dead three days later. I ask Jesus to become the Lord and Savior of my life, to reign in my heart from this day forward. I give You my life and ask You to take full control from this moment on. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."
Continuing the Journey
Like any relationship, our relationship with the Lord is a journey. Faith in Christ guarantees our salvation, something that can never be taken away. Yet our acceptance of Christ is only the beginning, our entrance onto a road that extends into eternity.
One of our first actions as new believers should be to talk to a pastor about baptism. Baptism is a ritual that symbolizes our spiritual cleansing, “death” to sin, and “resurrection” to new life upon accepting Christ. It also serves as a public statement of our commitment and announces our entrance into the family of believers. It does not save us; rather, it is a sign of what God has done for and in us when we accepted Christ.
Then it is time to grow. Make time each day for prayer and Bible reading. Connect with a local church and seek the support and fellowship of Christian friends and family. Seek opportunities to learn more about God and serve others. Share your faith with someone who is not yet a Christian.
When we first accept Christ, God gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us and strengthen us in our walk with Him. The Spirit convicts us when we sin, helps us overcome temptation and hardships, and empowers us to live like Christ. He guides us into a deeper relationship with God and gives us joy and peace in dark moments. The gift of the Spirit also serves as a mark of our salvation and a reminder of God’s promise until the day of Christ’s return and our own resurrection and entrance into eternity.
So press on – and enjoy the journey!