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Becoming a Believer:

A Christian is someone who has received Jesus Christ as their personal saviour and dedicates their lives to turning away from sin and following Him. It is neither a set of rules and regulations, nor a loose set of optional principles from which you can pick and choose your own self-defined spirituality. Instead, it is simply a relationship with God through the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

The Problem:

Before you can begin this relationship, there is one critical matter that must be addressed. A long time ago, a man and a woman made a choice to disobey God because they hoped to be "like God" (Genesis 3). Their rebellion, which is called, "sin" entered the world, bringing ultimate death to everything, including ourselves. To this day, we are all dominated by the curse of sin which ultimately leads to eternal separation from God.

Since God is perfectly holy and just, He cannot accept you if you are tainted by the effect of sin. The sin that God detests is not limited to things that we might rightly consider abhorrent like murder or rape, but also a lustful heart, bitterness towards others and pride. According to Matthew 5, privately lusting after another is just as wicked as committing adultery, and wishing evil towards another is just as abhorrent as committing murder. Finally, according to James 2:10, anyone who fails in one commandment is guilty of the whole law.

It is tragic predicament that demands a solution. Our attempts to earn or bargain for our sin to be removed are fruitless. If we are truly depraved, how can we make ourselves clean of our volition? If God's Word is true where we are told that He loves us (John 3:16), surely He cannot stand to allow us to perish from this terrible curse?

The Solution:

Before we fall into despair, our God, full of love and grace, has made a way for us. Whilst His way cost us nothing, it cost God everything. Jesus – God in Human form took the punishment that was destined for us. Unlike us, He lived a perfect life and was spotless before God. Yet because He loved us so much, He allowed himself to be sacrificed for our sin. This is called, “Grace”. We cannot earn this love, in fact, we deserve the opposite, but God demonstrates His love for us in that, whilst we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

Our sinful condition – present at the moment of our conception, passed on from thousands of generations since Adam – has been taken away by Jesus Christ. He replaces our heart of stone with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26) and we are born again (John 3:3). We still have the capacity to continue sinning, but our heart – the core of our being has been changed to exalt Christ and bring glory to Him. It is from this new position that we begin our lives anew – free from the power of sin – and free from the punishment of sin.

God's Call:

How does God ask us to respond to this incredible gift of love and grace?

Then he [Jesus] said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23 NIV

Our response should be more than just intellectual acceptance or enthusiastic admiration, but full devotion. A follower of Jesus has made a wilful decision to place Jesus in the centre of their lives, accepting the price that He alone paid, and responding with love and affection. We are called to "repent" which simply means to turn away from our sin towards God - He will give us the strength to endure temptation and overcome the power of sin in our lives.

Jesus has said that the road that leads to salvation is narrow and winding, whilst the road to destruction is broad (Matthew 7:13-14). The life of a true Christian may be unpopular and even divisive, but it is a life filled with a supernatural joy grounded in the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. He becomes our strength in times of trouble and remains our hope in seasons of blessing.

God's call to us to return to Him is constant, but time is limited and unpredictable. Don't wait to sort out your problems, failures and sin by yourself before you come to Jesus - but come to Him in humility and ask for His perfection to cover your flaws and He will answer with an enthusiastic "Yes!"

Your Response:

If you would like to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ, you only need to pray to Him, accept your sinfulness, ask Him to forgive you by the grace of Jesus Christ, and wilfully turn from your life of sin by the power of God's Holy Spirit. You can do this right now, in this moment, by praying to Him. If you are not sure what to pray, the following may help you:

Dear God, I admit that I am a failure. I am sorry for my sins and my rebellion against your perfect law. I accept that Jesus Christ, your son, was given to this earth, lived a life perfect and free of sin, and was sacrificed on a cross to take the punishment for my sin that I deserved.

I accept this wonderful gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and turn from my sin to follow you. I resolve to make You the focus of my life, to guide my steps and to make me more like Jesus. With the freedom that You have bought for me, and in the power of Your Holy Spirit, I declare my heart's desire is to serve, honour and worship You alone so that You will will receive all glory and honour.

Heavenly Father, thank you for purchasing my salvation with the blood of Jesus Christ. Amen

When we chose Jesus as our Saviour, we are joined into a new family which is Jesus' Church. The purpose of the Church is to proclaim this message of salvation to the world and to encourage one another to a deeper relationship with Christ, demonstrated by our love for each other. Being "plugged-in" to a local Christ-centred church is an excellent next step in growing as a Christian and being used by God to fulfil His mission for your life.

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