Religious conversion is difficult to describe in terms of choices and thought. This is largely because most famous conversion narratives include deep emotional or quasi mystical states. That’s fine, but such experiences are simply not the norm. So if you’ve ever wondered how to become a Christian or what the Bible says about becoming a Christian so that you can help others do it here are my brief reflections. This is important because God offers us eternal life in Jesus Christ and a picture of the deepest human perfection and happiness.
To answer this question: “How do I become a Christian?” The simplest response is:
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Believe on” means, ‘trust in’ or ‘rely upon.’
You’re wondering, “Is it that simple?”
But simple answers are usually only simple because they summarize big ideas. And Christianity is a big idea.
Here are, as best as I can tell, five points that summarize what the phrase, “Believe on Jesus Christ” means:
- Believe that Jesus, as portrayed in the New Testament, is Lord. That means to believe that he is right, that he is your leader in life, and that he is wonderful. This faith will grow as you come to know the Bible through study and personal experience. When you believe in Jesus this way, you naturally also believe in his resurrection and ultimately in his divinity.
- Believe that Jesus’ death for sinners is for you specifically (Galatians 2:20). Many believe that Jesus died for all sinners (1 John 2:2), but they do not believe that he died for their specific sins. Most of us do not want to admit that the brutal treatment he received at the hands of other sinners was precisely on our behalf, even for the things we did today.
- Put the teachings of Jesus into practice. The Bible says that faith is made complete by works (James 2:20-22). It also says that faith should be of the sort that does the works God planned for Christians to do (Ephesians 2:8-10)
- Be a part of Jesus’ community, the local church. The church, through history, has preserved the Bible, proclaimed the gospel, and trained people to be disciples of Jesus. You wouldn’t even be reading this blog post if it weren’t for God’s church.
- In that church, get baptized.
Baptismis an act of faith, an act of repentance, and a tangible experience of God’s forgiveness. God forgives us at the asking (1 John 1:9), but baptism is a tangible experience of that forgiveness and a perpetual reminder that God acted on our behalf (we get baptized, we do not baptize ourselves). If you’re already baptized, then lift like a baptized person.