How do I become a Christian?
The world in which we live tries to give clear answers to all of life’s questions. All a person has to do is walk into any major bookstore and he can look at self-help books pertaining to every kind of situation. The world is simply trying to figure out the questions of life and some people are willing to read anything to find some answers. The difficulty in all this is that the world is willing to give up the greatest tool of assistance, which is the Bible. The Bible is the number one bestselling non-fiction book because it holds the answers to all of life’s hard questions. The Bible gives to mankind the basic instructions that if followed can bring countless blessings into their lives. The greatest of all questions that can be answered within the Bible’s contents is, “What must I do to be saved?”
A person does not need to search an endless array of books to find this answer, but he must be willing to open the Bible and read the Scriptures. The Bible’s plan of salvation is not an elaborate design, but a simple and understandable set of instructions that is easy to obey. The problem is that the world has influenced some into thinking that God’s Word is beyond their comprehension and thus we have neglected the plain truth of the Bible. We need to never underestimate the importance of having the Bible or being able to understand its commands, because without these two things we would have no hope in this world dying from sin.
The first step to becoming a Christian is hearing the word. The foundation of every man’s faith is the word of God. The only way that one’s faith in God will be able to grow is by taking time to read and study the Word of God. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17, NASB). We must hear the gospel being taught so that our hearts will trust in the Bible as “inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16). The books of this world will contain faults and contradictions, but the Word of God is perfect and will help guide every soul that seeks the source of eternal truth (Matthew 7:8; John 17:17).
The second step of salvation is to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. “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” (John 3:16). The entire scope of God’s plan has been placed within this one verse spoken to Nicodemus by Jesus. We learn that God “so loved the world.” This love is not biased upon the amount of money or material possessions that someone may own, but it is a love deeply grounded in affection for His own creation (Acts 10:34). God so loved mankind that He sent His Son to die for our sins upon the cruel cross (Romans 5:8-9). The response that God desires from mankind is that we believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
The third step of salvation comes from the eighth chapter of Acts. An angel of the Lord led Philip to the desert road, where he found an Ethiopian reading from Isaiah 53 without understanding the passage. Philip entered the chariot with the Ethiopian and beginning from that passage preached unto him Jesus Christ (Acts 8:35). As they traveled down the road they came upon water, and the Ethiopian asked what hindered him from being baptized. Phillip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” In response the Ethiopian confessed his faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God (Acts 8:37). Paul gives further instruction pertaining to our confession for salvation by saying, “for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” We must be willing to acknowledge our faith in our Savior Jesus Christ.
The fourth step of salvation is repentance from our sinful lives. The Jews on the day of Pentecost were pierced by the words of Peter and the other apostles; therefore they asked, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter’s response was for them to “Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;” (Acts 2:37-38). We must understand that God’s Word states that all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Therefore, prior to our conversion God requires us to realize our sins and turn away from them by repenting of them. Our repentance is a change of mind and action toward our previous lifestyle. We are acknowledging that the route that we have previously been taking was leading to death and only through the blood of Jesus is the forgiveness of sins found.
The final step to salvation is being baptized for the “washing away of our sins” (Acts 22:16). Our repentance has brought us to the realization of our sins, and this final step takes us from being dead in our sins to walking in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4). This baptism is not a spiritual baptism or a baptism in water to only symbolize the change that has already occurred within a person, but it is a baptism of water that clothes us with Christ (Galatians 3:27). There have been numerous of debates regarding this step of salvation, but the clear biblical answer is to obey the commands of God and allow Him to accomplish His work. We can never completely understand everything that occurs within our baptism, but we can have faith that God is working to make us into a new person (Colossians 2:12). This step may seem odd to some, but in studying the New Testament and its commands regarding salvation, it is a step that occurs in every conversion recorded (Acts 2:41; 8:12-13; 8:37-39; 9:17-19; 10:48; 16:14-15; 16:31-34, 19:5, etc.) This is not to be a comprehensive list of every conversion, but this list ought to show us the importance of baptism to the Christians of the first century and its importance for us in the 21st century.
The goal of this article is not to be controversial, but helpful with life’s enduring question, “How do I become a Christian?” This question is one that has been given several different answers, but our aim is to solely represent the one answer found within the Bible. These steps to salvation may be different from previous answers that you have seen, but read these scriptural references diligently and find the truth for yourselves. May we never neglect to diligently study the Bible in regard to all the questions of this life. The Bible is our source of the very mind of Christ and God’s eternal truth. We would do well to read, study and apply its precepts to live righteously and holy in a world that seems to be drifting farther away from living as God desires.