How does a person become a Christian?

Jesus said that to enter the kingdom of heaven a person must be “born again” (John 3:3). This consists of an act of the heart in believing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. When we were born into the world physically, we were born spiritually dead, and therefore we need a spiritual birth. The spiritual birth involves two facets.

The first is to realize that we cannot make it on our own. We are sinners who need help. What is a sinner? A sinner is someone who is separated from God, has chosen to go his own way and cannot get back to God on his own because of sin.

Sin can be simply characterized as our own self-centered pride and selfishness. More specifically, sin is the violation of a holy god’s standard of righteousness.

Thus, we must own up to the fact that we need a Savior, someone who will accomplish all that God requires. The only person ever to do this was Jesus Christ. He lived the only life that was acceptable to God.

He died as a substitute on the cross for our sins, because we have no chance of pleasing God on our own merit. Thus the initial step is to realize that we all have sinned, broken God’s law, and deserve judgment as a result. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23, KJV).

Once a person sees his hopeless condition and realizes that Jesus Christ offers an answer, the next step is to receive that offer personally, for “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23, KJV). When a person receives Christ as his Savior by accepting God’s gift, at that moment he becomes born again.

It is so easy a child can do it, but it is hard because we first have to realize that we cannot do it on our own. Jesus said that to enter the kingdom of heaven a person must be willing to humble himself as a child, and only then will God receive him (Matthew 18:3).

How about you? Have you done this? Have you been born again? If you wish to do it, we offer this prayer that you might pray: “Lord Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner; I realize that I can’t make it on my own. Thank you for dying for me. Right at this moment, the best way I know how, I trust You as my Savior and Lord, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

One thing that is important to note, though, is that it is not the reciting of the above words that makes the difference. There is nothing magical in them; anyone can repeat a sentence. It is the attitude of your heart and your desire when you pray and trust Christ that makes the difference.

Excerpts taken from Answers to Tough Questions Skeptics Ask About the Christian Faith. Josh McDowell and Don Stewart. Tyndale House Publishers, 1980.

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