How Do I Become a Christian?

How Do I Become a Christian?

Of all the articles I’ve written or blogs I’ve posted, this is perhaps one of the most important I’ve had the opportunity to write. It’s the greatest question one could ever ask, and the answer can make an eternal difference.

There are two kinds of people reading this right now. One is already a Christian – a follower of Jesus who has repented of their sins and trusted in the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for forgiveness and salvation. The other is not a Christian; they have never fully understood or accepted the gospel as presented in Scripture.

There are many, many Scriptures that speak of salvation and how a person can be rescued from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13). Volumes have been written on this topic. It even has its own theological designation: soteriology, the study of salvation. It’s very clear, taking the whole counsel of God’s Word, that becoming a Christian is far more than an intellectual assent to some facts (a religious work that we might do). It is, instead, a work of God on our hearts; He does the work of salvation, and we are simply those who receive it as a gift.

I believe Jesus answered the very important question, “How do I become a Christian?” in one succinct statement in John 14:6. He had told His disciples that He was leaving but would be back to take them to His Father’s house. Thomas was distressed to think of the Lord’s departure, even though Jesus said, “You know the way where I am going.” After all, isn’t that the essence and purpose of becoming a Christian? To follow Jesus as His disciple, and to be with Him, where He is, forever?

“Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me’” (John 14:5-6, emphasis added).

How is Jesus the way, the truth, and the life? If we understand this, then the means of becoming a Christian will be clear.

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large yellow arrow signifying leading others well

Jesus Is the Way

The way to where? To heaven, to live and exist for eternity in a glorified, immortal state in the presence of our Creator, God. Perhaps we need to think of it this way: Jesus is the way back to God.

Genesis 1-3 tells us the story of where we began. God created the world and placed Adam and Eve in it to enjoy His presence and to take care of the beautiful garden He had made especially for them. They were perfect when created, and God gave them a very important, powerful gift – free will. He set before them a choice, a command which they could choose to obey or disobey. They were not to eat of the tree in the middle of the garden which was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told them the consequences of disobedience, of eating this fruit and tasting both good and evil: death.

Sadly, Adam and Eve chose poorly. In that moment, they suffered spiritual death, separated from the intimate fellowship with God they had enjoyed. And their physical bodies immediately began to decay. Ultimately, they would die physically, and without intervention, they would forever be spiritually dead.

Sin brought death. The holiness and justice of God requires payment for sin; “the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23). The only way humanity could find its way back into God’s favor and presence required a death in payment for the sins of the world. This was God’s plan from eternity past. He would send His Son, perfect God, conceived by the Holy Spirit in a virgin’s womb, to become the perfect man and sacrifice Himself on a cross. His blood would be offered on the altar of heaven so that all those who came through Him could come to God.

To become a Christian, you must believe that Jesus is the way, and that He is the only way.

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

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3 crosses at sunset

Jesus Is the Truth

Jesus was sent by His Father for a specific purpose: to seek and to save that which was lost. He came to explain God, to reveal Him, and to speak the words of God to us. He is God, and He is the Word of God (John 1:1-2).

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. … No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:14, 18).

Jesus is truth, and He tells us the truth. If we listen to His words, we will understand how to become a Christian.

The truth is, we are all sinners.

“And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance’” (Luke 5:31-32).

The truth is, we must repent.

“From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matthew 4:17).

“Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things’” (Luke 24:45-48).

The truth is, we need God’s forgiveness.

“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:30-31).

We see our need for forgiveness in Paul’s testimony to King Agrippa, as he explained why Jesus saved him on the road to Damascus and called him to preach the gospel.

“…to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18).

To become a Christian, you must believe that Jesus is the truth, and that He tells us the truth about our sin.

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Joyful woman with arms up in a sunflower field

Jesus Is the Life

Everything about Jesus is life. The essence of the gospel is that Jesus died a physical death on the cross, was buried, and was raised to life again by the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). He defeated death, taking away its sting and the fear of it, and opening the door for us to receive His eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Hebrews 2:14-15).

When we become a Christian, we receive a new life – the life of Christ. The Holy Spirit comes to indwell us; we are crucified with Christ, and raised up just as He was raised up. Where we once were spiritually dead, we are now alive to Christ, in Christ, and because of Christ. (Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:4-8; 5:5; 8:9).

How do we, as people who are spiritually dead, lay hold of this new spiritual life? We cannot achieve it in our own power; we are dead. Spiritual life is a gift from God. We cannot obtain it by our own righteous works, we must receive it by grace, through faith – through believing.

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6).

“Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:9-10).

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fish symbol to illustrate early church

How Do I Become a Christian?

By taking Jesus at His word and acting on it. We believe and receive.

We believe Jesus is the only way because He is the Son of God, the perfect sinless sacrifice to pay our sin debt. He is the way back to fellowship and intimacy with our Creator that began in the Garden.

We believe Jesus is the truth and accept His words that tell us we are sinners; we repent of our sin and ask God for His forgiveness.

We believe Jesus is the life and receive His life as a gift.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ — that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for ‘Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:8-13).

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37).

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17).

We believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life when we respond like the Philippian jailer who believed the word of the Lord spoken to him by Paul.

“And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household’” (Acts 16:27-31).

Have you believed? If your answer is “yes,” then go and tell others how to become a Christian. But if your answer is “no,” then today can be the day of your salvation! Simply bow your head and your heart before God. Believe that Jesus is the way; acknowledge your sin and ask God to forgive you, and receive the life of Christ as a gift of grace. 

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Author Sheila Alewine is a pastor’s wife, mother, and grandmother of five. She and her husband lead Around The Corner Ministries, which serves to equip Christ-followers to share the gospel where they live, work and play. She has written seven devotionals including Just Pray: God’s Not Done With You YetGrace & Glory: 50 Days in the Purpose & Plan of God, and her newest one, Give Me A Faith Like That, as well as Going Around The Corner, a Bible study for small groups who desire to reach their communities for Christ. Their ministry also offers disciple-making resources like One-To-One Disciple-Making in partnership with Multiplication Ministries. Sheila has a passion for God’s Word and shares what God is teaching her on her blog, The Way of The Word. Connect with her on her blogFacebook, and Instagram.