Many people believe that their Christianity is a matter of works. In other words, they believe that because they go to church regularly, give to charities or tithe, try to live good moral lives, were baptized at some point, or were born into a Christian home, they have earned the title of Christian. But Jesus said we must be born again (John 3:3-8 1Peter 1:23), and the Bible tells us that our righteousness, our very best, is like filthy rags compared to God’s holiness and righteousness (Isaiah 64:6). True Christianity is a gift of God (Grace) that comes by faith in Jesus Christ, trusting in Him for our salvation from sin (Ephesians 2:8-9 Romans 6:23 Romans 5:15 John 4:10)
Sin is violation of God’s law, and we have all sinned (1John 3:4 Romans 3:10 Romans 3:23). Every person living today is guilty before an absolutely holy and righteous God of sin. But God loved us so much that he provided a perfect sacrifice for our sins by giving His own Son, Jesus, to pay for our sins (John 3:16). If we will trust in Jesus, we can be saved from sin, born again, and adopted into God’s family; no longer guilty, not because of we have done or can do, but because of what Jesus has already done for us.
And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. (Acts 16:26-34)
If you are reading this site, and have asked yourself this question, then it shows concern for your eternal soul, and that is a good beginning. Many religions today would answer this question with many different prescriptions, almost all of which would include various “good deeds” or works on the part of the seeker as a prerequisite for salvation.
However, God tells us through his word, many times over, that our works, no matter how good, cannot cancel out our sins. The unsaved, unredeemed sinner is guilty before a Holy, Righteous God, and only by accepting God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ can anyone ever be made righteous, and clean, in God’s eyes. (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9)
So, let’s answer the question scripturally, “What must I do to be a Christian?”
- Recognize Your Need. The Bible clearly teaches that the Law Of God was given as a schoolmaster, to bring the knowledge of sin to all mankind, and to lead us to faith in Christ (Galatians 3:24; Romans 7:7) . Only by accepting the sovereignty of God and His Law can we realize the gravity of our situation. Modern thinking would have us believe that righteousness, or goodness, is relative; and that each person’s standard of right and wrong can be different, and that would be acceptable. This is VERY dangerous thinking. This deception of Satan has been misleading people since the garden of Eden. Satan used a variation of the very same lie to deceive Eve and then Adam into committing sin against God (Genesis 3:1-7). This kind of thinking is in direct conflict with scriptural teaching. Only by accepting God as the Creator, and ourselves as the creation, can we humble ourselves enough to realize that we are guilty before God, sinful and evil by our very nature. Because of this condition, we are in need of salvation. We can never save ourselves. We don’t even have the power to change ourselves. God says that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and that those who are guilty of sin will be cast into Hell to be tormented forever (Revelation 20:10-15; Luke 16:19-31)
- Repent. This word has been re-defined much over the years. The word literally means to reconsider, to change one’s mind. In a scriptural sense, repentance means to change our minds about who we trust. We stop trusting in ourselves or other creations, and place our trust in Christ, the Creator. Repentance does NOT mean to stop sinning. We cannot regenerate ourselves and become “good” to earn salvation. We can, however, change where our trust is placed for salvation. True repentance comes when we recognize our need and realize that we are placing our trust in the wrong place, we forsake our own self-trust, and make a conscious decision to place that trust where it truly belongs. We decide that we no longer want to live in bondage to sin by trusting in ourselves or others, and we turn to Jesus for our salvation (Acts 3:19; Acts 17:28-31)
- Receive The Free Gift. Salvation is free, by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:24; Titus 3:4-7). To receive the free gift of eternal life, we must believe in, trust in, have faith in Jesus Christ, who was fully God and fully man, and who lived a sinless life, sacrificed himself for our sins by shedding his own innocent, divine blood to satisfy God’s judgment. God made the way on His own terms, so that we could freely receive His gift of adoption into the heavenly family by Grace alone, through faith alone. (Romans 5:8; Romans 10:9-17; John 3:1-36; Galatians 1:3-4; Galatians 4:4-5; Colossians 1:12-23) If we fully trust in Jesus Christ, believing in Him for salvation and freedom from sin, we are re-born by the Holy Spirit into the family of God, and the Holy Spirit regenerates us, comforts us, guides us through the Word, and keeps us.
It really is very simple to be born again, and yet so many resist God’s gift out of pride, rebellion, or self-will. But if we will only humble ourselves and recognize God’s Righteousness and our guilt of sin, repent and reconsider our life and destination, and call upon Jesus in faith, trusting in Him alone to save us, He will, and we can experience the grace and mercy of our Creator first hand, and have a true personal relationship with Jesus Christ. (John 14:6; Hebrews 13:5-6) (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
Salvation is not about “Decisions”, and it is not about repeating a “Sinners Prayer”. Salvation is by Grace, through Faith in Jesus Christ. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word (Romans 10:17) God’s Word is the seed that is planted and watered by men, but God gives the increase and opens blinded eyes to the truth of the Gospel (1 Peter 1:23-25) (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved…