Becoming a Christian

All people are sinners by birth.

Psalms 51:5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Consequently, since it is our nature to sin, there is nothing we can do to stop sinning, anymore than we could stop breathing.

Romans 3:10-12 As it is written There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.

Therefore, God had to take care of the problem.

Isaiah 63:5 I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm worked salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me.

Isaiah 43:11 I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.

He did this, by sending his son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for the sins of humanity.

Romans 5:7-10 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

If we decide to accept the gift of his death, and turn our lives over to God, then he puts his Holy Spirit inside us, making us Christians. Becoming a Christian is entirely the work of God; we do not contribute to it ourselves. No amount of being good will make a person a Christian, because being good has nothing to do with it.

Galatians 3:1-5 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing -- if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

Ephesians 2:8-9 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.

Becoming a Christian results inevitably and automatically in obedience to Christ. The first act of obedience is baptism -- being immersed in water -- to signify to friends and family that one has died and been buried with Christ, raised to live a new life in Him.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Acts 2:41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Good works are the consequence of becoming a Christian, not the cause. But the good works that are done are the work of God through the Christian, not the Christian's own efforts. Therefore there is no place for pride or self-righteousness.

Galatians 6:14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Romans 3:27-28 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

Galatians 2:20-21 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973,1978,1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers

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