Becoming a Christian

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We are so glad that you have chosen to visit our site. As God’s church we have been commissioned by Jesus to spread his message and assist people in entering into a saved relationship with God. Before Jesus ascended to heaven he left his disciples these words, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

As the disciples spread the word to their world we continue that task here in Denison, Texas.

What is at stake?

During his ministry Jesus taught the eternal existence of the soul – that even after death we live! After we die there are two destinations – heaven, a place of eternal peace with God; and Hell, a place of eternal torment apart from God. This reality cannot be ignored when we read the words of Jesus. Our response is critical. Our response to Jesus will determine where we will spend eternity!

Why can’t we all go to heaven?

That’s a good question! Fist of all, we must know that heaven is the choice that God wants for all people. Anyone who goes to Hell will go only because they chose that option. God has created us with a free will and will not override that will. We make the choice.

Unfortunately, all of us have made the wrong choice – we have all sinned. That sin has separated us from God who is so pure and holy that sin cannot be in his presence. In reality, none of us really deserve to go to heaven. Our conscious decision to sin has put up a gulf between ourselves and God. But thanks be to God he has given us a second chance.

Jesus’ mission on this earth was multifaceted, yet the primary task was to bridge the gap between ourselves and God created by our sin. His death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin and provided a means for a renewed relationship with God. The death of Christ makes it possible for our sins to be removed and therefore make us suitable to be in God’s presence. It is by that death that we can have the hope of heaven. Salvation is a gift from God, not anything earned.

Accepting that Gift

But remember, God will not force anything on us – even such a precious gift. Salvation must be received by an individual. The gift is offered to all, but not accepted by all.

Acceptance of this gift is modeled for us in the pages of the New Testament. In fact, some people directly asked the question, “What must I do to be saved?”

By studying the salvation stories of people in the New Testament, in particular the book of Acts, we can see a process that people go through as they accept that gift of salvation and close the gap between God and themselves. That process includes the following responses.

An expression of faith

The foundation of this process is a deep belief that Jesus is who he says he is, God’s one and only Son, and that it is only through Jesus that we can be made right with God. This belief is often referred to as faith. The first step of acceptance is answering this critical question, “Do I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and that his death provides forgiveness for my sins?”

Tell someone

Nowhere in the New Testament do we find someone accepting salvation in isolation – they are always with someone else or with a group. It is critical that we share our belief in Jesus with another person. This is often referred to as confession. Are you willing to say to someone else, “I believe that Jesus Christ is God’s son and that his death provides forgiveness for my sins?”

Make the change

Our faith and confession, if genuine, should have a transforming effect on our lives. Knowing how ugly and unholy sin is and how it jeopardizes our relationship with God, we should commit ourselves to a holy life. Our whole attitude about life should change from selfishness to selflessness, from worldliness to Godliness, from wrong to right. This change of course is often referred to as repentance. At this point we grieve our sin and pledge to God to serve Him and Him alone.

Baptism

Once a person has fully decided to accept this gift they submit to a ceremony called baptism. Baptism by definition and example is an immersion in water repeatedly modeled and taught in the New Testament. The water symbolizes the cleansing that takes place in salvation and the immersion represents the death of the old self and new birth that takes place in conversion. Like confession is the visible expression of faith, baptism is the visible expression of a changed life.

What happens if I sin after conversion?

Sin is not an if in our lives, it is a when – even after conversion. Although we are promised the gift of the Holy Spirit upon our conversion which assists us in living a holy life, we inevitable fall prey to the deceitfulness of sin. God promises that forgiveness is an ongoing reality in the life of the Christian, so long as we confess that sin to God and make every effort to live for him.

Accepting this gift of salvation is the most important decision you will make in your entire life. If you have any questions please call one of the church’s ministers or elders and we’ll be delighted to help anyway we can. If you’re ready to take any of these steps please call us night or day and we’ll be glad to assist you in accepting this most wonderful gift. Accepting God’s gift will set off a celebration in heaven!!

Scripture references:

Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 16:19-31, Also see the parables in Matthew 25; 1 Thessalonians 5:9, John 3:16,17; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 5:11; Hebrews 9:26, Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 2:8; Acts 2:37; 16:30; Some examples of salvation stories can be found in Acts 2:37-41; 8:26-40; 9:1-19; 16:11-15; 16:25-34; Hebrews 11:6, Romans 3:22-26; Romans 10:9-11; Acts 3:19, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10; Romans 6:1-4, Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 John 1:8-9; Luke 15:10