So how do you become a Christian?
If I were to ask you the question, "What do you think it takes for a person to go to heaven?” how would you respond? Some popular answers are:
Those are popular opinions. What do we find in God's word?
The first biblical truth ~ you have to admit you have a sin problem! Sin entered the world through Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they both chose to disobey God. Sin is the nature to disobey God. God tells us that there “are none righteous” and that we have “all sinned,” and that left on our own to find or even make our own way to heaven we will surely fail and spend eternity separated from Him in a place called Hell.
"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one." Psalms 14:1-3 NASB95
"...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23 NASB95
"For the wages of sin is death," Romans 6:23 NASB95 [Also see Ps. 53:1-3; Eccl 7:20; Rom 3:10-12, 23]
We are all in this same boat. As a matter of fact, God tells us that we are born this way. We are all born with a sinful nature. The Psalmist (King David) wrote this in Psalms 51:5, "For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me." (NLT) The Apostle Paul, hundreds of years later, would testify in agreement with these very words in Ephesians 2:1-3, "Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else." NLT - If this is the case how can you or I get into Heaven? What can we do? Those questions bring us to a second biblical truth.
The second biblical truth is believing what God has already done for us. God's word tells us in Romans 5:8, "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." (NLT) In 2 Corinthians 5:21 it says, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ." (NLT) In other words, Christ Jesus paid our sin debt owed to God. God needs us to believe that Jesus is His son and that He lived and died to pay the price or penalty for our sin. Listen to how the Apostle Paul explains it...
"In him (him being Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." Ephesians 1:7 NIV (emphasis mine)
The Bible often refers to this work of God as a gift. Thus the Apostle Paul again states the matter so plainly, "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God." Eph. 2:8 (NLT, emphasis mine) Now, I want you to picture a day from your past. It could be Christmas Day, your Birthday or any day when someone presented you with a gift. Someone purchased the gift, wrapped it and placed your name on it. It was meant for you all along. Then the day came and it was presented to you under the tree, among the table of gifts, or from hands extended toward you with the gift. So when did the "gift" actually become yours? When you reached out and took it, opened it, and claimed the contents inside! That my friend is exactly what God wants you to do with His gift of Salvation through Christ Jesus, His only begotten Son. Moreover, that brings us to a third biblical truth in securing your salvation.
The third biblical truth, God helps us to repent from our sin, believe in Christ and confess to God that we accept His gift of salvation. What does it mean to repent? Christ Jesus tells us in Luke 13:3, "...you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God." (NLT) Suppose you and a friend are driving down the road and your friend ask you to turn left. What is he asking you to do? Change direction. When Christ Jesus asks us to repent, He is asking us to change direction, to turn away from living a sinful, self-serving lifestyle and to start seeking new life in Him.
To Believe means to place FAITH in the redeeming and salvific work of Jesus Christ, His death for our sins and His resurrection for our eternal life. God specifically instructs us in Romans 10:9-13, "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. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” (NLT)
Traditionally, we call “confessing,” prayer. Perhaps you have prayed before or maybe not. Prayer is no different from any conversation you have throughout your day with another person, except that with prayer you are talking directly to God and He is listening attentively. Below is a simple prayer that you can pray right now if you have need. Yes, they are my words but you simply claim them for yourself and lift them up to God. Go ahead and pray!
I know that I have sin in my life. I now repent of my sin and I ask that you forgive me for living so selfishly toward you. I believe that Christ Jesus, your Son, was sent to die on the cross for my sin. I believe that you raised Him from the dead and I now ask Jesus to come into my life and be Savior of my soul and Lord of my life. Amen.
If that is the decision of your heart, CONGRATULATIONS, AND WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF GOD! That prayer is just the beginning of your new life with Christ, we invite you to join us for the rest of the journey. Click here for worship service days and times.