Following Jesus Christ

Becoming a Christian is not an act of deeds but of faith. The first step is to acknowledge that you are not capable of saving yourself—that you are separated from God, who is holy, by a sinful nature. Sinfulness is not your condition alone; it is the condition of all humanity. In the New Testament book of Romans, chapter 3, verse 23, we read: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Becoming a Christian requires admitting that you cannot achieve God's standard of holiness without God's help.

God has graciously provided a solution to our inadequacy by sending God's own Son, Jesus Christ, to become our salvation. Jesus, as God incarnate on Earth, lived the perfect life God demands. Yet he took upon himself the sins of the whole world and was crucified as a common criminal. Through his resurrection, however, he defeated death and sin, offering atonement for all who call upon his name.

Romans chapter 5, verse 8 tell us: "But God commends his love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." This is God's gift. Romans chapter 6 verse 23 explains: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." This salvation is God's free gift to be received by faith, not by deeds. In the New Testament book of Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 8, we read: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast."

To follow Jesus, repent of your sinful nature and turn to God for help. Romans chapter 10, verses 9 and 10, tell how to become a Christian: "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." Then verse 13 of that chapter adds: "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Should you have trouble forming your own prayer of confession, here is a common prayer that might help you speak your desire to God:

"Holy God, I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that you sent your Son, Jesus, to die on a cross and be resurrected from death to pay the price of my sins. Today, I turn from my sinful nature and ask your forgiveness. I trust in Jesus as Savior and will follow him as the Lord of my life. Thank you for this gift and for hearing my prayer offered in the name of Jesus. Amen."

If you have prayed this prayer for the first time, find a friend or family member to tell what has happened in your life. If you'd like to share this good news with us, please email a member of the pastoral staff or call us at (214) 452-3100.