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What is a Christian?

A Christian is one who believes in, loves, and obeys Jesus Christ (Jn. 3:16; Jn. 14:15). It is understood that he or she is not perfect (1 Jn. 1:8), yet we strive to "...grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18).

Why Should I Become a Christian?

The Bad News

While the Bible provides guidance on dealing with various problems, it focuses on one in particular, the problem of sin. Sin can be defined as "lawlessness" or "transgression of the law" (1 Jn. 3:4). We commit sin when we violate the moral laws set forth by God, and the Bible reveals that every accountable person has done so (Rom. 3:23; 1 Jn. 1:8-10).

God is holy (Lev. 11:44; 1 Pet. 1:16) and cannot look upon sin (Hab. 1:13). Therefore, sin separates us from God: it severes our relationship with our Creator (Isa. 59:2). Just as the body separated from the spirit describes physical death (Jas. 2:26), the Bible refers to this separation from God as spiritual death (Rom. 5:12; Rom. 6:23).

Not only is God holy, but He is just (Isa. 45:21; Rev. 15:3), and His justice demands punishment for sin. The ultimate punishment is that of being eternally separated from God (Matt. 25:46; 2 Thes. 1:8-9).

Since sin causes spiritual death, it is like spiritual cancer: a deadly disease that separates us from the blessings of God.

The Good News

Thankfully, God has provided a cure for the disease of sin. While He is holy and just, God is also loving (1 Jn. 4:8), and out of His love for us, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as a solution to the problem of sin (Jn. 3:16).

As a man, Jesus lived a sinless life (Heb. 4:15), and took our punishment upon Himself by being tortured and crucified for crimes He did not commit (1 Pet. 2:24; Isa. 53:5-9; Phil. 2:5-8). Though He died, He was raised from the dead, showing His victory over sin and death, and declaring His power as the Son of God (Matt. 28:6; Rom. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:1-8).

Because He conquered death (Rom. 6:9), He can deliver us from its power (Heb. 2:15; Heb. 9:27-28). Because He is both God and man (Jn. 1:1-14), He is able to reconcile the relationship between the two (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 2:17). And because he felt the terror and helplessness of separation from God, those who trust in Him will never have to (Ps. 22:1; Matt. 27:46; Heb. 2:9).

Everyone who accepts His loving sacrifice by becoming a Christian can be united with God once more. Through faith in Jesus, Christians have their sins forgiven (Eph. 1:7) and are saved from the wrath of God (Rom. 5:6-10), having peace of mind (Phil. 4:7), living a rewarding life in service to God (1 Tim. 4:8), and awaiting the ultimate reunion in heaven (Jn. 14:1-6; 1 Pet. 1:3-4).

How Do I Become a Christian?

Though salvation is described as a free gift (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8), the Bible teaches that there are certain steps which must be taken in order to become a Christian, and thereby a member of the church (Acts 2:47). Just as a medical patient cannot benefit from the doctor's medicine without taking it, so also a person cannot benefit from the gift of God without accepting it.

Believe in Jesus Christ

One must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Jn. 3:16). This results from hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17), and is essential to salvation (Mark 16:16; Jn. 8:24; Jn. 20:30-31; Heb. 11:6).

Repent of Your Sins

Repentance is a change of mind which causes one to turn away from sinful practices. It is commanded for everyone (Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 17:30).

Confess Your Faith

This is an outward confession of faith in Jesus as the Son of God (Matt. 10:32; Rom. 10:9-10).

Jordan River

Be Baptized

The Bible teaches that baptism is a required act of obedience involved in receiving the forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).

Proper subjects for baptism are:
  • Taught persons (Matt. 28:19)
  • Believing persons (Mark 16:16)
  • Penitent persons (Acts 2:38)
  • Persons who have confessed Jesus (Acts 8:37-38)

The original word (Greek) from which the English word baptize comes means "to dip, to immerse, to submerge, to plunge." It is described as a burial, where one puts to death their sinful practices and rises to live a new life. Therefore, scriptural baptism is an immersion in water. (Acts 8:35-39; Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12).

The New Testament describes the significance and importance of baptism:
  • It is to enter the kingdom (Jn. 3:3-5)
  • It is to contact Christ's blood (Rom. 6:3)
  • It is to get into Christ (Gal. 3:27)
  • It is for salvation (Mark 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21)
  • It is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38)
  • It is to wash away sins (Acts 22:16)
  • It is to get into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13)

Remain Faithful

The Bible teaches the possibility of falling from the grace of God, so a Christian ought to remain faithful to Him (Rev. 2:10).
  • Paul warned the Christians at Corinth to take heed lest they fall (1 Cor. 10:12)
  • He told some of the Galatians they had "fallen from grace" (Gal. 5:4)
  • The Hebrew writer sounded warning: "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God" (Heb. 3:12)
  • The Hebrew writer also talks about those who were once sanctified as trampling the Son of God (Heb. 10:29)
  • Peter spoke of those who had known Christ Jesus, but who had reverted to their old ways ... and said it would have been better for them never to have known the truth (2 Pet. 2:20-21)