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How to Become a Christian

INTRODUCTION  

Have you ever stroked the velvety petal of a rose? Or listened to the restful cascade of a mountain stream? Or strolled in awe through a redwood grove? In these quiet moments, a thought may well up from your soul: Only God could create such beauty.

Most people who have experienced moments like these come away believing that there must be a God. But how does a person relate to this Creator? How do we actually come to know God?

The most marvelous book in the world, the Bible, marks the path to God with four vital truths. Let's look at each truth in detail.

OUR SPIRITUAL CONDITION

 

 

 

 

 

The first truth is rather personal. One look in the mirror of Scripture, and our human condition becomes painfully clear:  "There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one." (Romans 3:10-12)

We are sinners through and through---totally depraved. Now that doesn't mean we've committed every atrocity known to humankind. We're not as bad as we can be, just as bad off as we can be. Sin colors all our thoughts, motives, words, and actions.  Don't believe it? Look around. Everything around us bears the smudge marks of our sinful nature. Despite our best efforts to create a perfect world, crime statistics continue to soar, divorce rates keep climbing, and families keep crumbling.

Something has gone terribly wrong in our society and in ourselves, something deadly. For, contrary to how the world would repackage it, "me first" living does not equal rugged individuality and freedom; it equals death. As Paul says in his letter to the Romans, "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23)---our emotional and physical death through sin's destructiveness, and our spiritual death from God's righteous judgment of our sin. This brings us to the second truth: God's character.

GOD'S CHARACTER

 

 

 

 

 

Our very awareness that things are not as they should be points to a standard of goodness beyond ourselves. That standard is God Himself. And God's standard of holiness contrasts starkly to our sinful condition.

Scripture says that "God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). He is absolutely righteous--which creates a problem for us. If He is so pure, how can we who are so impure relate to Him?

Perhaps we could try being better people, try to tilt the balance in favor of our good deeds. Throughout history, people have attempted to live up to God's standard by keeping the Ten Commandments. Unfortunately, no one can come close to satisfying the demands of God's law. J.B. Phillips' translation of Romans 3 states: No man can justify himself before God by a perfect performance of the Law's demands---indeed it is the straight-edge of the Law that shows us how crooked we are.  (Romans 3:20 PHILLIPS)

 OUR NEED

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here we are, sinners by nature, sinners by choice, trying to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and attain a relationship with our holy Creator. But every time, we fall flat on our faces. We can't live a good enough life to make up for our sin, because God's standard isn't "good enough"--it's perfection. And we can't make amends for the offense our sin has created without dying for it.   Who can get us out of this mess?  If someone could live perfectly, honoring God's law, and would bear sin's death penalty for us, then we would be saved from our predicament. But is there such a person? Thankfully, yes!

Meet your substitute---Jesus Christ. He is the One who took death's place for you! [God] made [Jesus Christ] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

 GOD'S PROVISION

 

 

 

 

 

God rescued us by sending His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins on the cross (see 1 John 4:9-10). Jesus was fully human and fully divine, a truth that ensures His understanding of our weaknesses, His power to forgive, and His ability to bridge the gap between God and us (see Romans 5:6-11). In short, we are "justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24). Two words in this verse bear further explanation: justified and redemption.

Justification is God's act of mercy, in which He declares believing sinners righteous, while they are still in their sinning state. Justification doesn't mean that God makes us righteous, so that we never sin again, rather He declares us righteous much like a judge pardons a guilty criminal. Because Jesus took our sin upon Himself and suffered our judgment on the cross, God forgives our debt and proclaims us PARDONED.   Redemption is God's act of paying the ransom price to release us from our bondage to sin. Held hostage by Satan, we were shackled by the iron chains of sin and death. Like any loving parent whose child has been kidnapped, God willingly paid the ransom. And what a price He paid! He gave His only Son to bear all the sins of humankind: past, present, and future. Jesus' death and resurrection broke our chains and set us free to become children of God (see Romans 6:16-18, 22; Galatians 4:4-7).

 PLACING YOUR FAITH IN CHRIST

 

 

 

 

 

 

God has provided a way to Himself through Jesus Christ. 

"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, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9)

God graciously extends His mercy to us.  We accept God's gift of salvation simply by placing our faith in Christ alone for the forgiveness of our sins.  Faith in Christ is not merely assenting to the truths we’ve just shared with you.  It is not just saying “Yes, I agree with what you just said”  Faith is trusting—placing absolute and total trust in Jesus Christ to take away your sins, believing that only He, Who died on the cross, can accomplish our salvation and provide eternal life with God.  Would you like to enter a relationship with your Creator by trusting in Christ as your Savior? If so, here's a simple prayer you can use to express your faith:

Dear God,
         I know that my sin has put a barrier between You and me.  I have no hope without You.  Thank You, Jesus, for dying in my place. I want to turn away from my sins now and trust in You alone to forgive me.  I accept Your gift of eternal life. I ask You now to be my Savior and the Lord of my life.

                                                                             In Your name I pray, amen.

 

If you've sincerely prayed this prayer and you wish to find out more about knowing God and His plan for you in the Bible, contact us at Lighthouse Church of Antioch (847-838-0616).  We would be happy to send you more information about your newfound faith and help you grow in your spiritual life.