Becoming a Christian is not a matter of doing things in order to earn merit with God.
Some people mistakenly think that going to church or being baptised is the way to become a Christian. While these things may be good in themselves, this is not what the Bible teaches.
There was a time when a religious leader among the Jews, named Nicodemus, came to Jesus and acknowledged Him as a teacher sent from God (John 3:1-6). Jesus said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” v3.
This troubled Nicodemus and he asked Jesus how a man could ‘be born’ in this way. “Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” v4. Jesus told this man he had to be born two times: the first birth is ‘natural’ while the second birth is ‘spiritual’.
So, how does a person receive this ‘second’ or ‘new birth’? Jesus gives us the answer in this same passage from the Bible. We read from John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’
Jesus himself makes it clear that it is through believing in Him (trusting in who He is and what He has done) that a person is ‘saved’ and given eternal life with God. You might ask, ‘Why do I need to be saved? I live a good life. I’m not a bad person! Surely that must count with God! Don’t people go to heaven because they are good in this life?’
While it is certainly commendable that people live ‘a good (and caring, honest, trustworthy, faithful, etc) life’, who is to say that our definition of ‘a good life’ is what God is looking for? It may surprise you to learn that the Bible never teaches that living ‘a good life’ can save us. In fact, it teaches just the opposite! Well, what does it say?
Man Has a Problem
Regarding sin, Paul writes: Rom 3:23 “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Here, Paul is telling us that no matter what background we come from, no matter what good things we’ve done in our lives, we have all sinned before God and fallen short of His standard. The word for ‘sin’ used here, literally means ‘to miss the mark’ and the imagery is that of an archer missing the target. We ‘miss the mark’ when we disobey God or fail to acknowledge Him in our lives. Sin separates us from God! That’s why we need to be saved! Regarding ‘salvation by good works’, Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-9, ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.’
According to Paul’s teaching, it is because God shows us grace (undeserved favour) that we can be saved. It is a gift! And as with any gift, we do not earn it! It is ‘not by works’ – not by anything we do for God or living a good life, otherwise we would have something to boast about. But, we don’t- Salvation is God’s work and we simply accept it by faith!
God has a Remedy
Jesus Christ is the only answer to this problem of separation from God. He died on the cross and then rose again from the grave to pay the penalty for our sin – completely bridging the gap between God and us. Jesus is the eternal Son of God. When He lived on the earth, Jesus never sinned which meant that He could be our perfect Saviour when He died on the Cross.
The Bible says: Romans 5:8 “…God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. Jesus said in John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”.
We must respond
We must respond to God’s offer of grace by placing our faith in Jesus Christ, believing that what he did on the cross was for our sake and that it is sufficient for God to forgive our sin. The Bible says in John 1:12 “…But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.
How to recieve Christ
To sum up the way a person receives Jesus Christ as our Saviour, there are basically four steps:
- Realise your need to be saved.
- Be willing to turn from your sins.
- Believe that Jesus Christ died in your place to pay the penalty for your sins and then rose from the grave.
- Through prayer, ask Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Saviour.
What to pray
There is nothing ‘magical’ about the exact words you say to God in prayer.
You can ask God to forgive your sin and for Christ to be your Saviour, or you can use the following prayer as a guide:
“Dear Father in Heaven, I know that I am a sinner and I need your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin. I ask you to forgive me and cleanse me from my sin. I want to turn away from sinful things in my life and follow you. I invite your Son, the Lord Jesus, to come into my heart and life as my Lord and Saviour. Amen”
Where to from here?
If you have believed in your heart and genuinely received Jesus Christ into your life, then have been born into God’s family. May God bless you as you begin your new life!
It is important now to:-
- Find a Church where the Bible is faithfully taught (if you are anywhere in the area of Melton or the surrounding suburbs, we would encourage you to make contact with us and tells us about your decision to become a Christian).
- Ask if someone who is a mature Christian from our Church to ‘disciple you’ or teach you more about how to live as a Christian.