By Mary Fairchild, About.com Guide
TOPSalvation Begins With God:
Have you felt the "tug" of God on your heart? Becoming a Christian is one of the most important steps you will take in your life on earth. Continue reading to learn what the Bible teaches about becoming a Christian and what it means to be a follower of Christ.
This call to salvation begins with God. He initiates it by wooing or drawing us to come to Him.
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him ..." (NIV)
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in ..." (NIV)
Human Efforts are Futile:
God desires an intimate relationship with us, but we cannot obtain it through our own efforts.
"All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags..." (NIV)
"...There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." (NIV)
Separated by Sin:
We have a problem. Our sin separates us from God, leaving us spiritually empty.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (NIV)
It is impossible for us to find peace with God through our own efforts. Anything we try to do to obtain God's favor or gain salvation is worthless and futile.
TOPA Gift from God:
Salvation then, is a gift from God. He offers the gift through Jesus, his Son. By laying down his life on the cross, Christ took our place and paid the ultimate price, the penalty for our sin -- death. Jesus is our only way to God.
"Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." (NLT)
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (NIV)
Responding to God's Call:
The only thing we must do is respond to God's call.
But how? How do I become a Christian?
Receiving God's gift of salvation is not complicated. The response to God's call is explained in these simple steps found in God's Word:
1) Admit you are a sinner and turn away from your sin.
Acts 3:19 says: "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord." (NIV)
Repent literally means "a change of mind that results in a change of action." To repent, then, means to admit you are a sinner. You change your mind to agree with God that you are a sinner. The resulting "change in action" is, of course, the turning away from sin.
2) Believe Jesus Christ died on the cross to save you from your sins and give you eternal life.
John 3:16 says: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (NLT)
Believing in Jesus is also a part of repenting. You change your mind from unbelief to belief, which results in a change of action.
3) Come to him by faith.
In John 14:6 Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." (NLT)
Faith in Jesus Christ is a change of mind that results in a change of action—coming to him.
4) You may pray a simple prayer to God.
You may want to make your response to God a prayer. Prayer is simply communicating with God. Pray using your own words. There is no special formula. Just pray from your heart to God, and believe that he has saved you. If you feel lost and just don’t know what to pray, here’s a prayer of salvation you can pray.
You may pray as the following:
I know that I have not lived as you want me to. I have not loved you as I ought nor loved the people who live around me. I am sorry and want to change.
Thanks you for Jesus. Thank you that he lived and died for me and rose again and is now the Lord.
Please forgive me and help me to live as you want me to.
By praying this prayer you have become a Christian and your relationship with God has been renewed, you have been reconciled to God.
5) Now, don’t doubt.
Salvation is by grace, through faith. There’s nothing you did, or ever can do, to deserve it. It’s a free gift from God. All you have to do is receive it!
Ephesians 2:8 says: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." (NIV)
6) Tell someone about your decision.
Romans 10:9-10 says, "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (NIV)
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