While it's true that the gospel depicts all of God's story, it can also be summarized by Jesus's own words recorded in John 3:16:
- "For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life."
The apostle Paul summarized the teaching of Jesus this way in Ephesians 2:8-9:
- "God saved you by His special favor when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it."
To be a Christian means that you are a Christ follower, and that journey begins with repentance and belief:
- Repent (turn): Repentance is simply the decision to turn away from your sinfulness and toward God Himself as He intended. "Sin" is any word, thought, or action that takes our focus off God. So in repentance, our hearts bow before God as we acknowledge and confess our sinful condition, and choose to begin to live a life honoring to God with the help of His Spirit.
- Believe (trust): In turning away from sin and toward God, you recognize that Jesus willingly sacrificed Himself for your benefit. Specifically, you believe that when Jesus died on the cross, He did so to defeat sin, provide the way for you to be welcomed into the family of God, and begin the process of restoration in your life so that you can become more like Him. Paul writes in Romans 6:23 that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus." This is the reason why salvation is often referred to as a gift--because we didn't do anything to earn it! Christ has done all the work, and we receive God's forgiveness the moment we repent and believe in Jesus as our savior and king.
There is no "set way" to express this heart posture toward God, from a human perspective. The words and feelings and timeframes of salvation are different for each person, because we all experience God's grace and mercy in different ways. But, if you feel God's call to repent and believe, we'd encourage you to do two things today. First, say a short simple prayer to God. It may feel weird, especially if you've never prayed before, but just close your eyes and say something like, "God, I understand that I am a sinner who needs You, and I want to accept Your gift of grace and mercy today. I trust that Jesus lived a perfect life, died a death He did not deserve, and rose from the dead to defeat sin and the power it has over me. Thank you for my new life, and help me to be more like Jesus every day from this point forward!" Once you've done that, click the link below and let us know about your decision--one of our leaders would love to talk with you and help you along with the next steps of your journey!
I'm Choosing to Follow Christ!