Discover How to Become a Christian
The King of Kings, the Creator of the entire Universe, wants to know you and love you. He is reaching out for you. Whether you fight Him today or choose to accept Him, He will always want you. Learning how to love God back is what it means to be a Christian. If you want to live in this kind of loving, intimate relationship with the All-Powerful God, forever, keep reading to learn how to become a Christian.
What is a Christian?
A Christian is, very simply, a person who chooses to live in community with God. To do this, you should first understand that Jesus is the Son of God, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit. Even though each part of this Trinity is a separate being from the others, they are all united in the single true God. (I know this sounds confusing now, but Jesus will make everything clear to you as you live longer with Him.)
Why does it Matter?
Why does it matter whether you believe Jesus is the Son of God? Well, since the beginning of the human race, we have all lived in sin—constantly! Sin simply means disobeying God, and it has the power to separate us from God forever. However, if you want to find out how to become a Christian, you can escape the clutches of sin and live a new life!
How It Works?
Remember how we said that God loves you and wants to be with you for eternity? Because he loves you so much, he made a way for you to get to Heaven, and that way is through His Son, Jesus Christ. We’ll talk more about how this works later, but for now, just remember that being a Christian just means choosing to accept this free gift of eternal life.
To sum it all up, a Christian is a person who strives to follow Jesus’ path. Most importantly, He calls us to love one another and to lover everybody, no matter what. We also try our best to follow his example in everything we do, even though it can be really hard sometimes. If you want to know how to become a Christian, just as important as understanding what a Christian is, you should know what a Christian is not.
What a Christian is Not
Since we already know that following Jesus is the most important part of being a Christian, let’s clear up some misconceptions about Jesus. Jesus was not just:
- A prophet like the many before him
- Another good or wise man
- One god among many other gods
Even though He was a prophet, he was a good and wise man, and he is God, Jesus was not just any one of these things. He was the perfect man, God in human flesh, and the only person who has the power to save us from our sin which would otherwise keep us apart from God forever. Understanding Jesus himself is the crucial first step in becoming a Christian.
Not Haters, Not Naïve, and Not Blind
Since Jesus is all of these things, Christians always try to be like Him. So, Christians are not haters. In fact, we are called to act with love and kindness in every situation. Even when Jesus flipped tables in the temple, He did so out of love and compassion, not out of rage or anger.
Christians also do not believe in fairy tales. The Bible is the God-inspired true story of salvation. We might disagree on what certain parts of the Bible mean. Sometimes we may even draw different meaning. However, Christians believe in the Bible as God’s truest revelation of Himself to us.
Finally, Christians do not blindly believe everything we are told. True, listening to sermons and receiving teaching from other Christians is an important part of growing in faith. But, it is also important to discuss the teachings and reason for ourselves. Since the Word of God is infallible, no challenge is too much.
How to Become a Christian
We’ve learned a few things so far. First, we saw that God loves each one of us and wants to be with us forever. Then, we learned that Jesus is the Son of God, and God created a way for us to live with Him forever through His Son. Finally, we clarified a few misunderstandings that people often have about Jesus and about Christians. Now, let’s get to how you can receive the free gift of salvation by becoming a Christian, and live forever with the God who loves you more than you could ever imagine.
The Role of Sin in the Gospel
But, you may ask, why do I need to be saved in the first place? I live a good life, I do good things, I even donate to charity and volunteer in my community. But here’s the problem:
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God ~ Romans 3:23
Sin can mean a lot of different things—lying, cheating, stealing—but no amount of sin can keep you from God’s love if you choose to accept it. Everyone, including you, me, the pastor in your local church, the General of the Salvation Army, the President, has sinned, so no one on their own deserves to live with God forever.
God’s Plan for Salvation
The great news, dear reader, is that God has a plan to keep you with Him forever in spite of this sin! We call this good news the Gospel, and it’s pretty easy to get the basic idea of it. This is the most important thing to understand before you become a Christian. We’ve already covered most parts of it, but here is a quick summary:
- God created the entire Universe, and He saw that everything he created was good. That means you, me, the trees, the sky—everything in our Universe, God thinks is good. (Genesis 1:31)
- However, humans—starting with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden—chose to sin. That is, rather than choosing to live with God in this very good Universe, humans choose their own basic pleasures.
- This sin has a price, which is eternal death. Some Christians think this means condemnation to Hell, while others think it means being separated from God forever. (Romans 6:23) Either way, this is a terrifying idea!
- But God loves us so much that he sent His one and only Son from Heaven to Earth to live a perfect life, then die for our sins.
- This ultimate sacrifice, freely given by the One True God out of love for us sinners, is the only way to erase our sins and live with God forever.
If you want to learn more about this good news, check out some of our blog posts. This will help you get a better idea of just how much God loves us and help you as you think about becoming a Christian.
Make sure you know the Gospel!
Saved by Grace Alone
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; ~ Ephesians 2:8
The central part of this Gospel message is that we are saved by grace alone. This means that God chose to give us salvation out of His love for us. There is nothing we can do to earn it—no amount of donation to charity, good deeds, or volunteer hours can earn your place with God forever. It might be a little concerning or upsetting that we can’t do anything to earn our salvation—but it is actually the best news of all. All that is required of us to have eternal life with God is believe in him! But what does that even mean?
Becoming a Christian
You Can’t Save Yourself
The first step in becoming a Christian is embracing that you cannot save yourself. Only God’s love can save you from your sin (and remember, even the best person you can think of has sin in their life). Once you understand this, your heart is ready for salvation.
Repent of Your Sins
The next step is to repent of your sins. That means first seeking out and acknowledging the sin in your life. Sometimes it might be hard to find, but it’s there somewhere. Once you have figured out the sins you have in your life, repentance means apologizing to God for your sins, then working every day to sin no more. For many, this is the most difficult step—but never forget, even in your sin, you are never out of God’s reach. Furthermore, as you grow closer to God, it will become easier to live apart from your sins as the Holy Spirit works in your life. Repenting of sin is a lifelong process, but being a Christian requires that you start that process.
Submit to Jesus
After you have understood the Gospel message and repented of your sins, the next step is to understand what it means to submit yourself to Jesus as your Lord and Savior. This means that you will study God’s Word and learn more about what it means for you, then put what you learn into practice every day.
Pray to Your New Father!
After you have done all of this, talk to your new Father through prayer to accept this gift of salvation.
This is the most exciting part of becoming a Christian. You get to leave behind your old life of sin for a new, clean, pure life in God, the Creator of the Universe. The One who loves you more than you could ever imagine!
Praying for the first time can be scary, but God is excited to hear from you, no matter what you have to say. He knows your heart, and He knows exactly what you mean to say, even if you don’t have the words.
When you pray, you may choose bow your head or not. You may even choose to close your eyes or keep them open. And when you pray, you may even talk out loud or talk to yourself. In the end, you just need to tell God you’re ready to become a Christian and live your life for Him.
Signs of Salvation
We’ve had quite a journey so far! We learned about what it means to be a Christian (and what it doesn’t mean), we discovered the Gospel of salvation through grace alone, and we walked through how you can become a Christian. If you have followed along this whole time, and followed the steps to be a Christian, you might be wondering what your new life should look like. Here are a few things you will begin to notice.
The Holy Spirit
Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. ~ Acts 2:38
First, you will receive the Holy Spirit as another gift from God. Just as Jesus is God, the Holy Spirit is also God, but, unlike the Father and Son who live in Heaven now, the Holy Spirit lives with us. This Spirit is with us throughout our daily lives and shows us how to better Christians. The Spirit makes us more sensitive to others’ needs, helps us understand what God says to us through the Bible, and even lets us recognize and resist sin. You will also begin to hate sin. It’s hard to realize how harmful sin is without Jesus in your life, but as you become more like Him, you will grow to see how much it hurts you. Your new life in Jesus will be so much more fulfilling than your life in sin that you will despise your old ways.
An Abundance of Love
Love will also enter your life like it never has before. You will be able to show others how much you love better than you have been able to before as you experience how well God loves you. Additionally, you will also feel love more deeply than ever before as you become surrounded by people who also love Jesus.
Things Make Sense!
And, at long last, a lot of that “crazy Christian stuff” will begin to make sense. Maybe you thought going on a mission trip or giving a tenth of your income to the church seemed crazy before. However, you will begin to understand just how much sense it makes as you understand how radical it is to be Christian and to be loved by God. If you want to know more about how your life will begin to change, consider reading the Bible book of 1st John. (If you don’t have a Bible yet, you can find this online—we’ll talk about getting a Bible soon.) Keep in mind that this will be a slow change over time. Though some Christians experienced immediate changes as soon as they accepted Christ, different people experience Christianity at different speeds. Don’t lose heart if you feel frustrated in the beginning.
I Am Saved! What Should I Do Now?
First—congratulations on your decision to accept God’s greatest gift! You’re probably wondering, well, what should I do now? If you have Christian (or non-Christian) friends in your life, they would love to hear about your decision to become a Christian. A great next step is to publicly celebrate your decision with loved ones, and especially with other Christians. The angels in Heaven rejoice at your decision, and Christians here on Earth are excited to do the same.
After that, here are some great next steps to beginning your life as a Christian. The first thing you may want to do is pray. You prayed to accept Christ, but now you can talk with God about anything in your life. Through Jesus, we can have direct communication with God and ask for help, give thanks, or seek guidance. There is nothing magical about prayer. You may find a book of prayers to be helpful as you learn how to put words to your inner thoughts, but God just wants us to talk to Him—whatever words you have will work just fine! To many believers, this direct and intimate communication with God is one of the best parts of being a Christian.
Find a Church
For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” ~ Matthew 18:20
Now that you’re praying, finding a church community is a good next step.
But why should you even go to church? Isn’t reading your Bible and praying enough? Well, that’s a hard question, and one many Christians debate today. Remember that being a Christian means doing everything you can to be more like Christ, every day.
What is a Church?
A “church” is not a building, but a community of believers who meet regularly to learn more about God and to become more like Christ together. Being more like Christ must involve community—Jesus is always in community! From the Holy Trinity that Jesus exists in to the communities He made here on Earth, Christ has always been in community. Churches provide this community, but they also provide teaching, opportunities for discussion, community service programs, and many other ways to grow closer to Christ.
For anyone who is serious about becoming more like Christ every day, joining a church is an extremely helpful decision. Before joining a church, take some time to pray about it. Use your prayer time also as a time of silent reflection to think about what you want need in a church and how you want to serve the church. And don’t be afraid to visit many churches as you think through your decision!
Choosing a Church
Let the Holy Spirit guide you, and don’t rush into joining a church. In your church search, you will need to learn about different denominations, which can be intimidating. Keep in mind that denominational differences are typically over healthy and acceptable disagreements about the best ways to honor Christ.
All denominations of the Christian faith accept the Gospel as presented here, so feel free to explore the denominations—but make sure to pray as you do and listen as the Holy Spirit guides your search.
Get a Bible
Many churches today are very friendly to digital versions of the Bible, as long as the device you use doesn’t disrupt service (and doesn’t distract you or others). If a Bible app or website best fits your lifestyle, feel free to use that.
If, on the other hand, you prefer a paper Bible, take some time to pray about this, too. There are many different translations, and many different kinds of Bibles. Talking with a friend from church or a trusted Bible salesperson can be indispensable here.
Finding a Translations
For your first Bible, you will likely want to keep it simple. Bibles can range in price from five dollars to five hundred dollars, but any Bible will help you in your journey. For your first Bible, you will likely want to stick to common translations: The English Standard Version (ESV), New International Version (NIV), and King James Version (KJV) are among the most common and most easily accessible Bibles. (But be aware that the KJV translation can be difficult to understand—look for a translation that is easy for you to read!)
What about a Study Bible?
Each of these translations will have a version called a “study Bible,” which means it contains extra commentary from Bible scholars. Some trusted study Bibles include the MacArthur Study Bible, the ESV Study Bible, and the Apologetics Study Bible. Just as with the translation, pick a study Bible that is interesting and helpful to you.
After you have found the Bible that works for you, do your best to read it every day. Many Christians choose to begin their day with a study of God’s Word because it helps center their day on Christ and sets the tone for the rest of the day. However, a study at any time of day is better than no study. If you don’t know where to start, you can just pick any book that is interesting to you.
It may also be helpful to invest in a book by a trusted Christian author to guide your study, or simply begin with Genesis! There is no secret or trick to reading the Bible, just read it in a way that helps you grow. You may also like to join a Bible study to make your Bible reading time more productive, and to engage more deeply in a smaller community of believers.
Most churches offer Bible studies, but you can also start one with your friends. Getting into this small community is one of the best ways to develop good habits right after deciding to become a Christian.
Christians disagree over whether baptism is a necessary part of a believer’s life. When considering this question yourself, take the time to pray about it and talk it over with other believers or the leadership at your church. It is a big decision, and no one can make it for you. However, knowing that baptism is a public profession of faith, it should surely be considered by every Christian. Every apostle was baptized, as was Jesus Himself. Beyond even this, baptism is symbol of beginning your new life, and demonstrates to everyone the choice you have made.
Listen for God
As a Christian, God may begin to talk to you and guide your decisions. Especially during your prayer time, keep an eye out for God trying to lead you. Through the Holy Spirit, you have direct access to God, who wants to be a part of every piece of your life.
Know that Science and God Are on the Same Side
Never be afraid to ask questions and seek true, reasonable answers. Only then will you be able to answer others, and have a true and convincing answer yourself. As you question things about science or about Christianity, keep in mind what might be a difference of interpretation rather than a difference of fact. Many so-called conflicts between science and religion are a result of a difference in interpretation, not a conflict in reality.
Share the Good News!
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:19-20
Now that you have eternal life, be bold and share the good news of salvation with others. After all, the only way anyone can share in this gift is if they are told. Remember that this is the greatest gift of all, and that it is a great act of love to share it with others. Tell others how to become a Christian, and watch as their life and your life are changed forever.
To Sum It All Up
We started off talking about exactly what a Christian is and is not. Then we saw why you might want to become a Christian and explored how you could become a Christian. Then, once you decide to follow Christ, we found a few good steps you could take to grow more like Christ. Remember that the essence of a Christian life is loving everyone and working to be more like Christ. If you have made a decision to follow Christ, don’t start your new life alone. Seek out a church, read your Bible, pray, and you will feel the love of God in your life.
Help Others Find Jesus!
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And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. – Mark 16:15