There’s no secret handshake or hidden agenda. Becoming a Christian requires following these simple steps.
Most people have heard the familiar Christian catch phrases. Give your heart to Jesus. Confess your sins. Accept Christ as your savior. But what do these expressions really mean? Exactly what does it take to become a Christian?
Peter answered this question in Acts 2:37 – 38 when he responded to a group of sinners who asked what it took to become Christians.
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off…”
There was no secret handshake, hidden agenda, or cryptic requirement to be “saved” and the gift was clearly offered to everyone. Becoming a Christian requires repentance, faith and a few simple steps.
Believe there is a God
First, you must believe there is a god. This takes “faith”, allowing yourself to trust something you cannot see. There is no risk involved and nothing to be afraid of. The worst that can happen is you adhere to Christian beliefs and do good to those around you. You have nothing to lose. Just allow yourself to believe.
Recognize that everyone sins
Next, understand that everyone sins.
1 John 1:8-9 says:
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Sin is an inherent trait built into mankind. But God understands that we are not perfect and provides a way for us to atone for our errant behavior.
Repent your sins
Repentance is a common word in Christianity. It means to offer regret or remorse for a misdeed. It’s mentioned several times in the New Testament as a Christian requirement.
Jesus tells us in Mark 1:15, “”The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Repentance is expected of all Christians. Offer prayer to God, admit that you have sinned, and with sincerity and true remorse, ask for forgiveness.
Believe in Jesus
Romans 10:9 tells us:
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Similar to believing in God, believing in Jesus requires faith. You must allow yourself to believe Christ walked the earth and died for our sins. The historical evidence is overwhelming so believing Jesus lived and died is the easy part. Believing in the supernatural, that he rose from the dead, may be harder for some.
Belief in Jesus’ resurrection began in the earliest days of Christianity. Early Christians believed so strongly that they witnessed Jesus’ resurrection that they were willing to be martyred for their belief (and many were). The New Testament tells us that witnesses to Jesus’ afterlife included the apostles and hundreds of other people. There is much evidence that Jesus returned to earth after death.
Still, it requires faith to believe in an event that occurred while an all-powerful man was present on earth. Read your Bible regularly, pray routinely, and keep God close to your heart and this will become much easier as you mature as a Christian.
Accept the gift of salvation
Finally, you must accept the gift God offers us – a pardon or “salvation” from our sins. This is sometimes the most confusing aspect of becoming a Christian.
If someone held out a gift to you, it would not become yours unless you accepted it. Accepting Christ is the same thing. He offers to be our savior, but we must accept his offer of salvation.
Steps to becoming a Christian
Ultimately, becoming a Christian requires faith, repentance, and acceptance.
1 – Believe there is a God
2 – Recognize that everyone sins
3 – Repent for your sins
4 – Believe in Jesus
5 – Accept the gift of salvation
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