What the Bible teaches about becoming a Christian
In other words, how can I get to Heaven?
What must happen to me?
Jesus answered this question very clearly in John 3:3. Transformation is REQUIRED.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
- Unless a person is changed and transformed, and given a new heart by God’s Holy Spirit, there is no chance of them escaping God’s wrath and entering into heaven with eternal life
- This is also spoken about in the Old Testament by the prophet Jeremiah, who called this the “New Covenant” (Jer. 31:31-33)
How does this happen to me?
The apostle Paul clearly states that salvation by God is through faith alone in the atoning work of Jesus Christ alone apart from any specific compliance to the Law of Moses, the 10 commandments, or any other specific works of obedience, penance, or good works.
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
- Salvation comes “apart” from any specific good works
- All people are condemned sinners before God and stand in His righteous judgment
- God justifies sinners by declaring them to be righteous
- God’s declaration of righteousness to sinners is based on grace, and not works (Eph. 2:8-9)
- Jesus Christ provides substitutionary atonement, in that He stood in God’s judgment and died in our place, and justified sinners receive the credit of having lived His righteous life
- God’s justification of the sinner, and causing the sinner to be “born again” happens only when the sinners places his or her faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ. It is by faith alone.
How do I know this has happened to me?
Again, the apostle Paul states that all born again believers (true Christians) will submit to Jesus Christ as Lord. It is unbiblical to think that one can accept Jesus Christ as “Saviour” and intentionally not recognize Him as “Lord”.
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
- Being saved is based on the faith (belief) that one has on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
- While still fighting with sin in their lives, all people who are born again will strive to live a righteous life (Rom 6:4)
- All born again believers who have been justified by God and given a new heart will readily admit and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ
Core convictions held by true Christians
1. The Scriptures (the Bible) is God’s final word of the subject of salvation (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
2. God is the eternal creator God who stands in judgment of all the living (Acts 17:30-31).
3. All people are sinners and stand in condemnation before God (Rom 3:10, 23; 6:23).
4. There is a real Heaven (Revelation 21:22) and a real Hell (Revelation 20:11-15).
5. Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, who died on behalf of redeemed sinners (Rom. 3:21-26).
6. Sinners are saved by the faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone (Rom 3:21-26).
7. When sinners are saved, they are changed into people with a love and desire for obedience (2 Pet 1:4-9).
8. Jesus Christ is returning to earth to gather all true Christians to be with Him forever (Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).