Learning to thrive in the new life Jesus offers us – 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

Becoming a Christian

This article is available in Urdu.

Becoming a ChristianA Christian isn’t someone who follows a set of rules or guidelines. A Christian isn’t even someone who lives by a set of Christian values, such as kindness or generosity. A Christian is someone who has decided to follow Jesus Christ and because of that decision now has a relationship and connection with God himself.

Every human being on the planet is made in the image of God. We are all his children in a way. However because of the sin problem – everyone made mistakes and done wrong things – because of sin, we couldn’t get close to God. Sin separates us from God, so people and God were effectively strangers, even enemies. However, God loves – really loves – each person so much that 2000 years ago he sent his one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to deal with the sin problem.

When Jesus, who was both the perfect Son of God and the perfect human being, died willingly on the cross, he paid the penalty for all of our sins, for all time, so that our sins could be completely forgiven. Jesus paid for our sins with his sinless lifeblood which he spilled when he died on the cross. The price of our salvation has been paid in full!

Jesus solved the sin problem with his sacrificial death on the cross, so that now we can have a close relationship with God. But Jesus didn’t stay dead when he was crucified. He became alive again within days, and he now offers us a new life  – an eternal and full life with God’s favour and blessing.

If we turn away from our sin (our selfish wrongdoing), and put our complete trust – faith – in Jesus, we receive enduring forgiveness and are drawn into a close relationship with the wonderful, loving, creator God. And his Holy Spirit comes and lives inside us, or with us. Our eternal life starts the moment we accept God’s offer of forgiveness, and it continues forever, even when our bodies die.

Are you ready to make that decision to follow Jesus? It is the most important decision you will ever make and the most rewarding. Are you willing to let go of your sin and live a new life for Jesus?

Becoming a Christian simply involves you really believing and really trusting that Jesus is the Saviour – your Saviour. However many people like to express this faith with a prayer.

Here is a prayer that you could say, or you can adapt the words, or add your own words, to make it more personal.

Father God,

I realise that I have done many things wrong, and that my sin is a barrier between you and me.

I am sorry for the wrongs things that I have thought and said and done, and I ask for your forgiveness.

I place my full trust in Jesus and in his death on the cross, which has solved the problem of my sin.

I now make my decision to follow Jesus and to live in a way that pleases you.

I thank you for your great love and your unending mercy towards me, and that you are always with me.

And I thank you for your Holy Spirit who now lives within me.

Amen (which means truly.)

If you want to know more about becoming a Christian or how to live as a Christian, please contact us or leave a comment here.

Next: What happens when you become a Christian?

Posted September 17th, 2009 . Categories/Tags: Christian Living, Salvation and Eternal Life, Thought about becoming a Christian, ,

Unkind, judgemental, bizarre, and off-topic comments will be deleted.

9 comments on “Becoming a Christian

  1. […] Recently, The Gospel Coalition put out a post of warning for people like me, just to help us get our priorities straight. I want to say this loud and clear: the most important thing is my life is Christ’s work on the cross and what his saving grace has done for me. As a result of the Jesus’ work in my life, I am passionate about justice for all people coming from all walks of life, especially women. […]

  2. Cindy Odom says:

    I have been a Christian for 31 years. At 14 I really didn’t understand what it meant. Over the last 8 years God has shown me that being a Christian has nothing to do with following rules or expectations. Most of my Christian friends feel that it does. There has been a lot of misinterpretation by our leaders and taught to us.

    I ran into this sight while googling the real reason/meaning of marriage. You had a really good teaching on what it means to be a helper to your husband. You used the Hebrew word..Ezer.

    Will you send me something on how to live as a Christian? Also any resources that I can use to study my bible? I’m Sorry to say that I am doubtful of what I read in the bible…I want to follow Jesus! He really is the truth. I

    • Marg says:

      Hi Cindy,

      Yes, Jesus really is the truth, and the way to life.

      I am happy to send you something, but I will have to think about what is best to send. What is it especially that you want to know more about? And, what country do you live in?

      I hope you will read the other articles in the Becoming a Christian series, even though you are not a new Christian. You can find them if you click here.

      Marg

  3. Marg says:

    I agree with you, Daniel, that water baptism is important and ultra-significant.

    I sincerely hope you find love and peace in Jesus Christ.

    [Daniel’s comment has been deleted.]

  4. Graham Paterson says:

    Hi Marg
    If a person is already saved (spiritually alive together with Christ) why would they have to be baptized in water?

    Graham

    • Marg says:

      Hi Graham,

      I wanted to write about water baptism but it got too confusing, as there are different beliefs and practices about it.

      Anyway, the way I see it is that in the early days of the church people got baptised as soon as they made the commitment to become a Christian (e.g. The Ethiopian eunuch, Cornelius household, Lydia, etc). This was a huge commitment as it meant going against, or not participating, many social customs. Baptism and conversion were regarded as the one saving event.

      It didn’t take too long before new Christians were catechised (or trained) before being baptised, and baptism became more of a sign of a previous commitment.

      I see it as a symbolic ceremony of being included into the family of God, and yet the reality is that we are included as soon as we make the decision to follow Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

      Some denominations attach other significances to water baptism.

      PS I got your other message. Thanks! 🙂

      • Graham Paterson says:

        Hi Marg,
        Thank you so much for getting back to me.

        It seems from your reply, that you are saying the way we are to think where baptism fits comes from what determines “reality” for a person: either what is reported in the text, or what later Christians practiced.

        By the way, doesn’t the Greek word ἀλήθεια mean “reality”?

        I was a little puzzled by your comment “…the reality is that we are included as soon as we make the decision to follow Jesus as Lord and Saviour.”

        If I allow the text to determine the reality of when “we are included” it seems that Paul’s take is we are included (united with Jesus) in baptism.

        As the text says “[Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. {Romans 6}]

        It seems catechesis is not always agree with the biblical text. I was taught catechism in Brisbane as a baptized (christened) member of the Church of England, in order for me to be confirmed by the Bishop. In that catechism it was asserted that “I was made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven” when the priest put water on my head as a baby.

        Another example of catechesis lacking is the case of Apollos in Acts 18. While been taught κατηχημένος the way of the Lord, only the baptism of John was included. It was for this reason Priscilla and Aquila took him aside to expound the word of God to him more accurately. In Acts 19 Paul re-baptized those into Jesus’ name, who had been baptized with John’s baptism.

        Wow I have been going on and on. Thanks for this site, and for you love for God and his son Jesus.

        Graham

        • Marg says:

          Hi Graham,

          Judging from your reply I haven’t been clear.

          I believe the New Testament teaches that we are saved from sin and death, and given, or transferred to, a new (eternal) life by/through faith. Water baptism is symbolic of this death to the old life and the entrance into our new life.

          Water baptism can be a powerful symbol. In some societies being baptised takes a tremendous amount of courage. New converts have been killed because they were baptised (making a visible show of their new found faith) in a society that is hostile to Christianity. On the other hand, being baptised is a relatively easy action for most westerners who convert.

          I think you may have staked more on my use of the word “reality” than I intended. Nevertheless, the reality is that we are saved through faith in Jesus. I think we are on the same page with this.

          A process of catechism before water baptism is not mentioned in the New Testament, although there are allusions to baptismal teaching in 1 Peter, etc. It is in a few second and third century Christians texts that we begin to discover that new converts were no longer baptised immediately but went through some kind of training and proving first.

          The practice, as recorded in the Book of Acts, however, is that Christian converts were baptised immediately, and so the conviction and profession of faith, plus the act of being baptised with water, were seen as the one saving event. This is the biblical model.

          I don’t know of any church in a western culture that has the custom of baptising new converts immediately. I am personally conflicted and troubled by the fact that most churches do not follow the biblical pattern of water baptism shown in the Book of Acts.

          • Graham Paterson says:

            Wow Marg!
            Thanks for your candid response.

            I say we are saved by our faith being expressed in Christ’s shed blood (it being the sufficient payment of life for the sin of mankind), through water baptism uniting a person with Jesus in his death burial and resurrection, results in a person being raised to new life.

            If you hold the long ending of Mark is scripture then 16:16 says “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved….”

            Given that the person being baptized is passive in the act it is odd to me that many I have read claim that baptism is in some way a “work” (I could agree with them in their objection if they were claiming the person doing the baptizing was attempting to earn their own righteousness).

            Grace and peace
            Graham

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