Unfortunately, there are many who have had negative experiences with Christianity or the Church. Based on your past experience with Christians, you may have an already-formed idea of what being a Christian means. You may even think, “If that’s what a Christian is, I don’t want to be one!”
If you have had experiences like that, I am sorry! I’m sorry for the hurts, the judgmental attitudes, and for the bigotry you may have experienced. God entrusts his Truth in people – in flawed, regular people – who unfortunately sometimes give him a bad name.
Despite how people act or how they hurt others, that doesn’t change the nature of God, himself. The behavior of humans doesn’t change God’s Truth. So I wanted to define what Christianity is, not based on humans or what a church says, but based on what God’s Word, the Bible, says.
The Bible teaches that God made the world (Genesis 1). He made humanity (Genesis 2). And he made humans in his image (Genesis 1:26-27). While the first humans, Adam and Eve, were perfect, they still had freewill to choose to obey God or not. They ultimately chose to disobey God, which brought sin into the world (Genesis 3, Romans 5:12). Not only humans suffer from this, but all of creation (Romans 8:22).
Because God is a Holy God, and sin is not in his nature, our sin separates us from him (Isaiah 59:2). The punishment for all who sin is death, ultimate separation from God. But God does not desire for us to be separated from him, he created us to live in relationship with him!
No matter how hard we try, we can never be “good enough” for God. At the end of our lives, God doesn’t measure our “good” and our “bad” deeds and say, “Your good deeds outweigh your bad, you can come to heaven.” Because we sin, we are separated from God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
This is why he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to pay the punishment we deserve (Romans 5:6-8). Jesus Christ was a man who lived in history, who was God (Romans 1:3-4). He lived a perfect life and died a brutal death, taking upon him the sin of the world (Romans 8:3). His death paid the price for our sins. His resurrection on the third day proved his defeat over sin and death and proved he is God.
Now Jesus asks everyone of us, will you believe? God asks us to stop trying to please him through our own works, and accept the gift of grace he offers us. When we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, when we accept his payment for our sins, we are no longer separated from God! (Romans 3:22). We have the gift of eternal life, and we have a restored relationship with our Creator! (Romans 5:11) We have begun the ultimate adventure with God! (Romans 5:1-2)
When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are saying, “I can’t do it on my own anymore. I give my life over to you God. I’m tired of trying to handle this life on my own, I need your grace.” We hand over the reins of our life to God and let him guide us.
From that moment on, you are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). You have the promise of eternity spent with God (Romans 6:8). God’s Holy Spirit lives inside of you, guiding you to live the life that God intended for you. (Ephesians 1:13-14) God calls you to be baptized as a symbol of this death to the old self, and rising up as a new person! (Romans 6:4-7)
Though there will be times when you will sin and mess up, God’s grace has covered you, you are “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). Every day, you are being made to look more and more like Jesus. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
So, what do I have to do to receive this gift of eternal life from God?
1. Repent – This means to turn from sin and follow Christ (Acts 2:38, 3:19)
2. Believe in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9, John 1:11-12)
3. Confess Jesus as your Lord (Romans 10:9, Matthew 10:32-33)
4. Be baptized (Acts 2:38, Matthew 28:19, 1 Peter 3:21)
5. Continue in your faith (Colossians 1:22-23; James 1:22-25; James 2:14-17)