How do I become a Christian? In the Bible we find the same question in different words. In Acts 16:30-31 a jailor asked Paul and Silas the question: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved”. So a very short answer is: In order to become a Christian, you must believe in the Lord Jesus. Let’s unpack that a bit.
1. Who is the Lord Jesus?
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He was sent by God the Father to become one of us, a human being (although at the same time still the Son of God). His mission was to create a way for us humans to get right with God again. For that purpose, He died at the cross for our sins, but rose again on the third day and is now in a position of glory at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. At the end of time, Jesus will return on earth to judge humanity and to create a new earth where He will dwell forever with all who have believed in Him. He is the King of the Universe, which is why Christians call Him “Lord”. For more detailed information about Jesus, see this article.
2. What does it mean to believe in Jesus?
Faith in Jesus Christ is the only thing necessary to be saved. To believe in Jesus means to accept the basics truths the Bible tells us about Him and His mission, as summarized above. Jesus is not just a wise teacher or an example of right living. He is the Son of God who became human, died at the cross and rose again to live forevermore (see for example Revelation 1:17-18). Besides accepting these truths, faith means to trust the Lord Jesus and to surrender ourselves to Him. This trust requires a personal relationship.
3. What does it mean to be saved?
In John 3:16, Jesus explains: “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). So much is at stake! Being saved means receiving eternal life as a free gift, whereas we naturally will “perish” because we live in rebellion with God. Besides being saved from eternal punishment, believers are also set free from the power of sin and evil in their lives. This is a lifelong process called “sanctification”. And finally, when their earthly lives are over, they are also freed from the brokenness caused by sin, such as illnesses and physical death.
How can we get this faith?
Actually it is a gift of the Holy Spirit, which He longs to give to every single human. When we start trusting in the Lord Jesus, that’s because the Holy Spirit recreated us (even though we may not yet fully understand what this means). We become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). This faith, which the Holy Spirit gives us, makes us want to live a holy life. But there is also still our old self, which can quench the Spirit. This is why Christians are still able to sin and will sin many times. Yet, because we have Christ as our new king, we are being called to love and obey Him. True faith will always want to return to Christ.
This is a liberating message! We don’t have to clean ourselves from sins (we can’t). And though we are called to be holy and without sin after believing, we don’t have to despair when we fall into sin. The truth is, we will still sin as Christians (though it will make us sad!), but we are saved and stay saved through our faith in Jesus Christ!
Believe in the Lord Jesus!
It is the grace of God the Father, who sent his Son, of God the Son who died for us, and of God the Holy Spirit who dwells in us and pulls us back to Christ over and over again that we can be saved by faith.
How do I become a Christian? ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus’.