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FAQ#1: What makes a person a Christian? How do you become one?
What makes a person a Christian?
Depending on who you ask, you're likely to get a wide variety of answers to that question. For example, some people see a Christian as someone who . . .
- goes to church regularly
- was raised in a Christian family
- tries to live by the ethical teachings of Jesus
- has had a particular spiritual experience
- believes intellectually that Jesus was God
And those are only a sample. How can we sort through all these different opinions and isolate the correct one? Well, the best way is to go back to the founder of Christianity, Jesus, and discover what He said on the subject . . .
"I am the way . . ."
In John 10:10, Jesus makes a startling statement: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Jesus is saying that He is the only way to a relationship with God and spiritual life. How can that be?
The answer lies in the purpose for which Jesus came to earth. Jesus said that He came "to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:28). Scripture teaches that each of us has done things we know are wrong. We all do things that are wrong and struggle with self-centeredness, which the Bible calls "sin." This sin has the effect of separating us from God and the relationship with Him we were designed to enjoy. In the Person of Jesus Christ, God came to earth and paid the "ransom" (or price) for our sins through death on the cross. This provided a way for us to be restored to a relationship with God.
"Follow me . . ."
But it's not enough to know that Jesus was God and that he died for our sins. We must make a decision to accept the forgiveness offered to us in Christ and begin to follow Him as the Lord of our lives. An appeal Jesus made time and time again during his ministry was "follow me." Jesus addressed this appeal to everyone from fishermen to religious leaders because all stand in need of the new life he offers.
How do I begin to follow Jesus?
In summary, following Jesus involves . . .
Recognizing that we have sinned (done things that hurt ourselves and others and dishonored God).
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
Asking for God's forgiveness and accepting His gift of eternal life.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23
Acknowledging Jesus as Lord of our lives and allowing Him to direct us and shape our character.
". . . if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that
God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus. . ." Colossians 3:17
Becoming a Christian means entering into a new life filled with joy and purpose. We have experienced this "new life" first-hand, and we pray that you will too.
Are you ready to get Jesus?
ABC's of Salvation