Becoming a Christian

Man was created by God and is hard-wired for eternal relationship with Him. Becoming a Christian is the only way (John 14:6) to establish that relationship with God. 

In Acts 20:21, the apostle Paul describes what must happen in order for someone to become a Christian. He says, “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.” 

Becoming a Christian has two main components:

  1. Turning from sin
  2. Believing in Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection

Turning from Sin

Sin is any violation of God’s will, his word (the Bible), or his authority. Every person has sinned. 1 John 1:8 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” But really, we don’t need scripture to convince us of our sin. No one is more familiar with our own mistakes than we are. 

The problem with sin is that it separates us from God. God is holy and perfect, and pure holiness can’t cohabit with sin. When we allow sin in our lives, we make relationship with God impossible. And because all men have sinned (Romans 3:23), it is impossible for men to have relationship with God. In order for us to become Christians and to establish a relationship with God, we must choose to turn from sin.   

Most Christians refer to this act of turning from sin as “repentance.” What does this mean for you? It means you familiarize yourself with the moral principles in the Bible and you make a choice to follow them. That means that becoming a Christian will cause you to commit to cease certain sinful behavior and begin certain good behavior you have avoided. This is no easy task. Without following through on the second component your own efforts to say no to sin and yes to relationship with a holy God will leave you hopeless and frustrated.

Believing in Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection

The Bible, among many other historical accounts, tells us that Jesus was crucified, buried, and then was resurrected. We must understand the significance of his death and resurrection and put our faith in Jesus in order to become a Christian.

In the early pages of the Bible, God tells us that the only way to pay the penalty for sin is to sacrifice the blood of an innocent, pure animal. This rule still applies today. But many, many years of blood sacrifice proved that even when men were forgiven for their outward sin, their hearts remained untransformed.   

So God took on human form in Jesus Christ, lived a sinless life, and sacrificed his perfect human self to pay for the sin of humanity once and for all. If we will exercise faith that his sacrifice purchases our forgiveness, and accept his sacrifice on our behalf, then we become free from sin in God’s eyes.   

But Christ did not just die, he also rose from the dead. For the Christian, Christ’s resurrection is a promise of transformation, of new life. Unlike the sacrifices prior to Jesus, his body was resurrected. When we put our faith in his death and resurrection, we not only receive forgiveness of sins, but also the transformation in our hearts that gives us the ability to live rightly and honor God with our actions.   

Becoming a Christian is a simple act, yet it carries great weight. Putting your faith in Christ is a serious, but joyous, occasion. Turning from a life of sin is costly, but the reward of eternal relationship with God in this life and the next is invaluable.