How to Become a Christian

By Royce Frederick

A person “sins” when he disobeys God. There is no man or woman on earth who has lived a totally sinless life. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Sin separates us from God. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).

Unless the guilt of a man’s sins is removed while he is living on earth, his soul will suffer eternal punishment — agony and separation from God forever (Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:43-48). The Bible uses the word “death” to describe the severity of this unending punishment. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

God wants us to be free from sin so that we can have fellowship with him. No man can remove his own sins. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Jesus Christ lived a totally sinless life. Therefore, he was the acceptable sacrifice for our sins. He was innocent, but he took our place suffering death on the cross for our sins, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

How can a person receive the benefit of the death of Jesus Christ?


The sinner must hear the gospel. The word “gospel” means “good news.” Jesus has “...brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10). The gospel includes the facts about the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.


The sinner must believe in Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The words “believes in him” do not mean that it is enough if we merely agree in our mind that Jesus is the Son of God. If a person believes in Christ in his own mind, but never obeys Christ, that person will still be lost. “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42-43). Our belief (faith) in Christ will save us only when it is obedient faith.


The sinner must repent of his sins. “Repentance” is a change of mind. It is a decision to turn from sin and turn toward righteousness. The Lord is “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).


The sinner who has repented should confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. In the very first gospel sermon after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, Peter said, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). We should confess our faith in Christ, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10). The Ethiopian eunuch confessed, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37).


When a sinner has heard the gospel, believed, repented, and confessed, he must then be baptized for the remission (forgiveness) of his sins. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). The word “baptize” means “immerse.” Baptism is a “burial” in water. To people who had already obeyed the gospel, Paul wrote, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4). The sinner goes down into the water and permits someone to briefly “bury” him in the water in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of his sins, then lift him up out of the water. If he has truly “obeyed from the heart” (Romans 6:17), his sins have been forgiven by God. He is now a Christian, a child of God.