HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN
by Bruce Salmon, Pastor, Village Baptist Church
A Christian believes in and follows Jesus. We learn about Jesus from the Bible. The Bible identifies Jesus as the "Christ, the Son of God" (Mark 1:1). The Bible teaches that God sent his Son Jesus into the world for a reason. John 3:16 explains: "God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die." This verse says something important about God. It says that God loves us and gave his Son for us. This verse also says something important about us. It says that apart from God, and without faith in his Son Jesus Christ, we will surely die.
Of course, death is a part of life. All people and all living things eventually die. Only God is eternal. Yet, God created us to be like himself (Genesis 1:27). That likeness to God, though always present in our lives, is corrupted by sin. Sin is any attitude or action which is contrary to God's intentions for our lives. Sin separates us from God. Romans 3:23 says, "All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory." Sin destroys life, but God wants to give us life. Jesus said, "I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest" (John 10:10).
God offers us forgiveness for our sins through the death of his Son Jesus Christ on the cross. According to Romans 5:8, "God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful." This forgiveness from God allows us to receive the gift of eternal life. The Bible calls this wonderful gift from God salvation. We receive salvation from God through faith. Ephesians 2:8 says, "You were saved through faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God's gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own."
Faith is believing in Jesus. We express our faith by the attitudes and actions of our lives. "So you will be saved, if you honestly say, Jesus is Lord,' and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others" (Romans 10:9-10). Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins, but God raised Jesus to new life to demonstrate his power over sin and death.
Becoming a Christian means believing that Jesus died to save us from our sins. We accept Jesus as our Savior, and we make him the Lord of our lives. Accepting Jesus as our Savior means we are truly sorry for our sins, and we want to receive God's forgiveness. Making Jesus our Lord means we try to live according to his example, and by the power of his Holy Spirit. Best of all, it means that at the end of life upon this earth, we have the promise of eternal life with God.
You can become a Christian by praying to God. You can pray aloud, or in the silence of your own thoughts. You can pray with someone else, or by yourself. You can pray in church, or anywhere that you feel close to God. You can pray using your own words, or with the words of a prayer that express how you feel. The most important thing about prayer is that you are sincere. In your prayer you can thank God for his love, and admit your need for forgiveness. Then you can commit your life to God, and promise to follow Jesus. If you pray such a prayer with sincerity, then you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. You have become a Christian.
It is important for Christians to act on their faith. A first step is to acknowledge publicly your commitment to Jesus Christ. At the conclusion of every Sunday morning worship service, our church offers an opportunity for persons to profess their faith in Christ. They profess their faith by walking to the front of the sanctuary during the final hymn and telling the pastor about their decision to become a Christian. The next step is being baptized as a believer. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward faith. Baptism symbolizes salvation--the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life. Becoming a Christian also means becoming a part of a church. As a member of a church you can worship God, learn more about the Bible, grow in your faith, find opportunities for service, tell others about Jesus, and be strengthened by your friendship with other Christians.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a Christian, we invite you to worship with us on Sunday morning. You also may call the church office (301-249-6448) to schedule an appointment to talk with the pastor. Our church offers two Sunday morning worship services--a more informal early service at 8:30 a.m., which features contemporary Christian music; and a more traditional service at 11:00 a.m., which features the music of hymns, choir, and organ. Please join us. We want you to become a Christian, and to know the joy of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
All scripture quotations were taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).
Village Baptist Church
1950 Mitchellville Road
Bowie, Maryland 20716