How does a person become a Christian?
There are some popular misconceptions, such as a Christian is a person who has joined a church, adopted a creed, or believes in God. The problem is, churches and creeds can be false, and even the demons believe in God (James 2:19). But none of these address the sin problem.
God wants to give us an abundant life, overflowing with joy and peace, through a relationship with Him. (John 10:10). This gift is so priceless that there is no way we could ever be good enough to deserve it. The Bible says that all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). When anyone does something that God has not prescribed or is not of Him, that person has sinned. Sin causes a separation between us and God (Isaiah 59:2) and the result is wrath (Ephesians 2:3) and death (Romans 6:23).
The Author of Our Salvation
Jesus purchased our salvation when He went to the cross at Calvary. His death was the sacrifice that turns away the wrath of God (1 John 4:10). The good news, the gospel, is that Jesus died on the cross for sinners, was buried, and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The only way to be saved from wrath is to obey the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8). How do we obey the death, the burial, and the resurrection? If a person dies, is buried, and is raised again, that would be called being “born again.” So, Jesus authored the plan of salvation through His literal death, literal burial, and literal resurrection. However, now He says to us, “…unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:7) [NKJV].
We don’t have to literally die, literally be buried, and literally rise again. He did that for us. We accept His death by dying to self, renouncing a self-serving life, and giving our life to Jesus Christ, saying, “I’m now giving my life to You. You’re my Savior, and You’re also my Lord.” Many want Jesus to be their Savior, but they don’t want Him to be their Lord. But we can’t get Him, unless we have both Lord and Savior, because that is what He is. Once we make the decision that from this day forward Jesus will be the Lord of our lives, we’ve taken the first step–repentance.
Next, the Bible teaches that we are baptized into His name, and that’s when our sins are remitted. The Bible says, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38) [NKJV].
This means that payment is being made for our sins. The Bible says that, “as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death…” (Romans 6:3) [NKJV]. When we go down in baptism by immersion, in the name of Jesus Christ, His death is applied to pay our sin bill. We all sinned. Therefore, we all deserved to die. But He didn’t want us to die, so He came, and didn’t sin, and died in our place. When we are baptized in Jesus’ name, we are united into His burial. So, we experience a spiritual death in repentance. Then we experience a spiritual burial in baptism.
The Gift of the Holy Ghost
Finally, God has promised that, as we obey the death and burial of Jesus Christ by repentance and baptism in Jesus’ name, we can partake of the resurrection of Jesus through the infilling of the Holy Ghost, evidenced by speaking with other tongues. We are able to worship in spirit and truth, set free to not only pray with the mind or understanding, but also with the spirit. This is what gives us the power to live a new life that is pleasing to God, set free from guilt and slavery to sin. No longer blind, weak and hopeless, we are “…fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.” (Romans 12:11-12) [NKJV}
If you are not sure that you are a Christian, and want to be delivered from God’s righteous judgment, then put your trust in the One who died for the sins of the world (John 1:29). Turn from your sins, and obey the gospel through baptism in Jesus’ name and the infilling of the Holy Ghost. Remember, “You must be born again.”