Being a Christian is not just a religion. It’s not just a title we take on when we are born into a certain family or when we join a specific church. We are not automatically a Christian because of what part of the country we call home or even because of the lifestyle we live. A Christian is someone who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Because of the sin that Adam and Eve committed in the Garden of Eden, everyone born after them was born in sin. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And the penalty of sin is detailed in Romans 6:23, where it tells us that, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Some people argue that if God is love then surely He would not send people to hell, to be eternally separated from Him. God is a loving God, but He is also a just, righteous and holy God and cannot condone sin. We need to understand that it’s not God that sends us to hell. God created us with free will. He allows us to make our own decision and choices. In fact, in 2 Peter 3:9 it says, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
So how do we get to heaven? How do we receive this salvation? John 3:16 tells us, “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.” God provided a way for us to gain salvation from our sin and from the penalty of sin. He planned this even before we became aware of our sinful condition. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Salvation is a free gift. It’s not based on anything we can do but on what God did. It’s not just trying to live a good, moral life. It’s not performing works. It is a gift and there is nothing we can do to earn that gift. Ephesians 2:8-9 says that, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
And how do we accept Jesus, the Christ, as our Savior so that we can have that eternal life? Look in Romans 10:9-10 – “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
If you feel God is speaking to you, inviting you to accept this gift, then you can pray something like this:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I believe that you died on the cross for my sin. I believe you rose from the dead. I repent of my sin and ask You to forgive me and save me from my sin. I accept You by faith to be my Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving me. Amen.”
If you have prayed this prayer, I encourage you to tell someone. Find a place of worship to get involved in so that you can hear God’s word taught. Begin everyday reading your Bible and spending time in prayer with our Lord Jesus. Salvation is the first step in your relationship with Christ. The next step is growing closer to Him, following Him, living for Him and allowing His love to live out through you.
(all scripture quoted is from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible)