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BibleForums CMB - How do I become a Christian?
  • How do I become a Christian?

    Becoming a Christian is one of the simplest and yet one of the hardest things that anyone can do. It is easy because God does not ask us to do anything. In fact, he even asks us not to do anything - only believe!

    Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD.
    Exodus 14:13 (KJV)
    Perhaps this is what makes it so hard - the fact that it is so easy. Why isn't Christianity like every other religion? Shouldn't we have to try to please God by improving our act? Shouldn't we, at the very least, have to go through some kind of ceremony or join a particular church? No, we don't become a Christian by doing things like that. It is true that believers get baptised. But even baptism is performed after a person has become a Christian: it is not the act, which makes us one. So what we do to become a Christian isn't something done outwardly, but is something that is done in the heart.

    Actually there are 4 steps involved in this process:

    STEP #1 to becoming a Christian

    The first step to becoming a Christian is to admit what we are. Yes, this is the hard part. Who me? A sinner? We think ourselves to be about as good as the next person. We excuse ourselves by comparing personal sin with those who are guilty of worse things than we have done.

    But self-justification is a delusion. It is a delusion because all of us will stand before God one day. The simple fact is that we all fall short of God's standard. And this is what God is asking us to recognize in our heart. When we finally do acknowledge our sin we are close to becoming a Christian.

    Luke 18:10-14 (NCV)
    A Pharisee and a tax collector both went to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee stood alone and prayed, "God, I thank you that I am not like other people who steal, cheat, or take part in adultery, or even like this tax collector. I give up eating twice a week, and I give one tenth of everything I get!"

    The tax collector, standing at a distance, would not even look up to heaven. But he beat on his chest because he was so sad. He said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
    I tell you, when this man went home, he was right with God, but the Pharisee was not. All who make themselves great will be made humble, but all who make themselves humble will be made great.
    STEP #2 to becoming a Christian

    This brings us back to the point of it all. How do we become a Christian? We must believe! It's basic. How can anyone pretend to be a Christian if he doesn't even believe that God exists? However, it means more than that. We must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. What this means, in effect, is that Jesus Christ carries all of the authority and power that God does. He is as much 'God' as the Father is God. Do you believe that? Do you realize that you are making Jesus Christ your God?

    John 9:36-38 (NKJV)
    Jesus … said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?" He answered and said, "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?" And Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you." Then he said, "Lord, I believe!" And he worshiped Him.
    To prove exactly who he was, Jesus went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil. He performed great miracles in the sight of the people even commanding the forces of nature to obey him. Finally Jesus Christ rose from the dead because not even the grave could hold him down.



    Romans 10: 9-10 (CEV)
    So you will be saved, if you honestly say, "Jesus is Lord," and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others.
    Now he offers eternal life to those who believe:

    • that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.
    • that his death was the sacrifice which paid our penalty for sin.
    • that Christ rose from death so that we also will be raised to life again.

    John 6:40 (NRSV)
    This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.
    STEP #3 to becoming a Christian

    However we are fooling ourselves if we think that our way of life need never change. When the preacher says, "we are saved by grace" (undeserved mercy) - by God's free gift without having to do anything for it - that does not mean our life can go on the same as it has been going.

    On the contrary: becoming a Christian involves a complete turnaround in our deepest motives. Its called repentance; it is a decision to turn away from self-centred sinful living.

    Romans 6:1-2 (AMP)
    What shall we say to all this? Are we to remain in sin in order that God's grace (favor and mercy) may multiply and overflow? Certainly not!
    This is not the same thing as just trying to do better, feeling sorry, or even giving up certain obvious sins. Repentance is a radical 'change of mind' away from our entire sin-motivated way of life! It is a decision to reject the 'old self' with its inherent twist toward sin and hostility toward God.

    Of course, God knows that no one is strong enough to lift themselves from the weaknesses of their human nature. But he will forgive the person whose heart has decided to turn. We do the repenting; he does the rest! Yes, the power comes from God and not from ourselves. But we are the ones who have to make that initial decision.

    Isaiah 55:7 (KJV)
    Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
    STEP #4 to becoming a Christian

    Finally, in order to become a Christian, we must receive. Again it seems so simple that it's almost too hard to understand. What do you mean, receive? A Sunday school teacher once told his class of children, "I've got a dollar in my pocket and you can have it if you want." Then he asked, "Do you believe that there's a dollar in my pocket?" All the children put their hands up. They believed. "Well," he said, "who believes that whoever comes up to the front will get the dollar?" They all put their hands up again. They believed. "OK," he dared. "Come on up. The first one to come will get it." None of the children moved. Was this for real? Would he actually give them a real dollar?

    A small boy suddenly stood up and walked to the front of the class. The teacher pulled his hand out of his pocket and gave him the dollar - yes, a real dollar. He received.

    So it is, that although we have believed, there remains one thing to do in order to become a Christian. Many people believe but are not yet saved. This is because the last step is to actually ask Christ into our life. These are the 4 steps to becoming a Christian.

    If you do these things the Spirit of Christ will come into your life; you'll enter into a living relationship with Him, and receive the legitimate right to be a son or daughter of God.

    John 1:12 (NIV)
    Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
    Revelation 3:20 (NRSV)
    Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.
    PRAYER
    Father in Heaven,
    I realize that my life is sinful and selfish in your sight, and that as a result, I am very far from you.

    But I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he died for me that I might not be rejected if I asked to be received into relationship with you.

    Therefore I confess my sin and ask that you forgive me. Not only for the things that I have done, but for my whole sin attitude against you I repent - I change my mind. With your help I determine to turn away from my old way of living.

    Now, I receive Jesus Christ into my life as my Savior and Lord. I believe that through Him I have eternal life, and entry into your presence and, even from today, a living relationship with you.

    Thank you,

    Amen
    Comments 14 Comments
    1. John146's Avatar
      John146 -
      Well done. I think any unbeliever could read this and then clearly understand how to become a Christian. Maybe you could make a tract out of this.
    1. Cyberseeker's Avatar
      Cyberseeker -
      Thanks Eric,

      I wrote it a few years back with that in mind but as I was trying to make things clear, I realised how hazy I had been on such a basic subject.

      If asked, I used to say things like, "You need to ask Jesus into your heart" or "You need to make him king of your life" or "get born again" and so on. Such terms are fine if someone has had a religious background but they do not mean much to a person who doesnt know the lingo.

      The other thing that disturbed me was the matter of 'believe.' Preachers would say "Believe he died for you." Again, that is true but the emphasis should first be, believe on who he is then on what he has done.
    1. km1141's Avatar
      km1141 -
      I agree that not only do we need to Believe, Repent, and Confess that Jesus is Our Lord and Savior but we need to be baptized for the remission of sins.
      Acts 2:38 (NKJ) Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
      Mark 16:15-16 (NKJ) And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

      We go on to see examples of this happening.

      Acts 16:31 (NKJ) So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

      Acts 2:40-42 (NKJ) 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly[g] received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
    1. JohnMatthew's Avatar
      JohnMatthew -
      Belive in gods words....thats all...love god for he loves you back...reedeem yourself....god bless
    1. DDGresham1's Avatar
      DDGresham1 -
      A true believer will bring forth fruit. If you are not bringing others to the Gospel you don't really believe.
    1. LCPGUY's Avatar
      LCPGUY -
      Becoming "born again", which simply means you believe that God (Jesus) is your Lord and redeemer, and you turn your life over to Him. If your life (attitude, etc.) isn't changed, then you probably didn't mean it.
    1. NCRobinson's Avatar
      NCRobinson -
      Nice. Job well done.
    1. cxjonz's Avatar
      cxjonz -
      "It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous." Rom. 2:13
      Salvation is predicated upon Way this law Paul references must be obeyed. I think you need to find out what this law is since the law has been changed after Jesus' crucifixion. "For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law." Heb. 7:12
      Confessing of sin or confessing of being a sinner etc. is not the Way this law can be obeyed nor is turning one's life over to him a correct obedience of this law either.
    1. rahays's Avatar
      rahays -
      My confusion lies with this. While I do believe that we are called to a relationship with Him at salvation, when we decide to become a Christian, how do we know that we have decided to follow Him?

      Here is my understanding of how to be saved in a nutshell - See if you agree. I hope that the author of the article will be one of the responses.
      We recognize we are sinners and our need to be saved
      We recognize Jesus is Savior and Lord
      If we want to be saved, then we must recognize that He must come into our lives to make us followers. So, we are deciding to become followers, not by any promise to obey, but by wanting Him to make us new so that we will want to follow Him and love Him. We are wanting Him and His life.

      Then we call upon Him for a salvation that is totally free. If a person has to make a promise to obey, then salvation is not free.

      In other words, if we want Him and His power to change us and make us want to love and follow Him, then that is the salvation that He offers, and it(He) is free. We are poor in spirit and bring nothing but a humble cry for mercy - that is all.

      My confusion is this - if I have to make a promise, I do not trust myself to make a real promise. I would always be wondering if my promise was real or emotional, ect...


      Thanks!!
    1. KennethSam's Avatar
      KennethSam -
      What we need to do

      ♦ Get Saved (accept Jesus as your Lord and savior) John 3:16
      ♦ Join a church and fellowship 2 Peter 3:16-18
      ♦ Read your Bible regularly it is the word of God, 2 Timothy 3:16
      ♦ Get down on your knees and pray everyday first thing. Luke 11:1-4
      ♦ Put on the armor of God Ephesians 6:10-17
      ♦ Faith and Works James 2:18-26 and Revelation 3:15-16
    1. Skidmark's Avatar
      Skidmark -
      I am going to be the black sheep, I'm afraid. But...it has to be done.

      What you have written is true as far as it goes but....I am afraid you have left folks thinking that unless they DO those 4 things...its over. Don't get me wrong...I understand perfectly that any one who is truly converted will most certainly do those things...but only AFTER the Holy Spirit has already regenerated them. Those 4 things are merely the RESULT of the spirits work...NOT the cause of it. Salvation is of the Lord as I understand it...not me doing 4 things to become a Christian...and that WAS the intent of your article wasn't it?...to explain HOW a person becomes a Christian?

      I think the article could have been about how to recognize one who HAS been converted rather than how one "obtains" salvation.

      Am I a curmudgeon, er' what?

      Am I being dogmatic?..perhaps. Sometimes we need to be dogmatic about our dogmatism.
    1. mailmandan's Avatar
      mailmandan -
      Quote Originally Posted by km1141 View Post
      I agree that not only do we need to Believe, Repent, and Confess that Jesus is Our Lord and Savior but we need to be baptized for the remission of sins.
      Acts 2:38 (NKJ) Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
      Mark 16:15-16 (NKJ) And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
      This 4 step plan of salvation is straight out of the church of Christ. Repent actually precedes believe in your 4 step plan of salvation:

      Matthew 21:32 - For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

      Mark 1:15 - Repent and believe the gospel.

      Acts 20:21 - testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

      Romans 10:8 - But what does it say? "THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, in your mouth and in your heart" (together) that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, (notice the reverse order from verse 9 to verse 10) - that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Confess/believe; believe/confess. Confessing with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in our heart that God raised Him from the dead are not two separate steps to salvation but are chronologically together. According to your 4 step plan of salvation. Confession is not made unto salvation, but unto baptism, which is then done unto salvation.

      Mark 16:16 - "He who believes and is baptized will be saved" (general cases without making a qualification for the unusual case of someone who believes but is not baptized) but he who does not believe will be condemned. The omission of baptized with "does not believe" shows that Jesus does not make baptism absolutely essential to salvation. Condemnation rests on unbelief, not on baptism. So salvation rests on belief. NOWHERE does the Bible say "whoever is not baptized will be condemned." If water baptism is absolutely required for salvation, then why did Jesus not mention it in the following verses? (3:15,16,18; 5:24; 6:29,40,47; 11:25,26). What is the ONE requirement that Jesus mentions 9 different times in each of these complete statements? BELIEVES. *What happened to baptism? *Hermeneutics.

      We go on to see examples of this happening.

      Acts 16:31 (NKJ) So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.
      Notice that Paul said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved," NOT believe on the Lord Jesus Christ AND get baptized and you will be saved. Their baptism followed their faith and conversion, just as it did in Acts 10:43-47; 11:17,18. In Acts 11:17, referring back to the event that took place in Acts 10, we see that God gave them the same gift (Holy Spirit) when they BELIEVED on the Lord Jesus Christ BEFORE water baptism (Acts 10:43-47). It was established that they BELIEVED on the Lord Jesus Christ BEFORE they were baptized. Placing their faith in Christ for salvation constituted BELIEVING. Baptism took place AFTERWARDS. There is a distinction between BELIEVING and getting baptized AFTERWARDS.

      Acts 2:40-42 (NKJ) 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly[g] received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
      Those who gladly received his word (through repentance/faith) were "afterwards" baptized. In Acts 2:38, "for the remission of sins" does not refer back to both clauses, "you all repent" and "each one of you be baptized," but refers only to the first. Peter is saying "repent unto the remission of your sins," the same as in Acts 3:19. The clause "each one of you be baptized" is parenthetical.

      Acts 3:19 - Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. *What happened to baptism?

      Acts 10:43 - To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins. 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit (compare with Acts 2:38 - the gift of the Holy Spirit) had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. 47 Then Peter answered, "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" *What happened to baptism in verse 43?

      Acts 11:17 - If therefore God gave them the same gift (Holy Spirit) as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, (Acts 16:31 - Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved) who was I that I could withstand God?" When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance unto life. *What happened to baptism?

      Acts 15:8 - So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, 9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. *What happened to baptism?

      Faith in Jesus Christ "implied in genuine repentance" (rather than water baptism) brings the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 10:43-47; 11:17,18; 15:8,9; 16:31). *Perfect Harmony*
    1. EarlyCall's Avatar
      EarlyCall -
      To be clear, I'm not arguing baptism, either for or against. Certainly the thief on the cross was not baptized. But I'm wondering though that if someone turns to Christ and is baptized but later backslides and falls away, and then lTer turns back to Christ, are they required to be baptized again?

      It seems to me that some can go through such cycles a number of times during their life. Is it the thinking, I'm sure it is of some, that such people were never really saved to begin with, but I don't buy that and those who say that haven't a clue concerning the heart of such a person and think to highly of their own opinion.

      Nevertheless, I do wonder about that: is baptism a requirement again given my example above?
    1. Kofoworola Awojobi's Avatar
      Kofoworola Awojobi -
      "...Now he offers eternal life to those who believe:


      * *that Jesus Christ was the Son of God*.
      * *that his death was the sacrifice which paid our penalty for sin*.
      * *that Christ rose from death so that we also will be raised to life again*..."

      Just to point out a little detail of technical importance: in the above quoted portion of the article, the 1st bullet point should necessarily read "... is the Son of God" and not "... was the Son of God".

      Or is it just semantics?
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