I’d like to become a Christian, what do I do?
When the Apostle Peter was asked this question he said:
You must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptised in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ (Acts 2:38)
“You must turn from your sins…”
God is perfect and we can only have a relationship with God if we are like Him. We must recognise that we have sinned and that we can never match up to God’s standard on our own. Sin deserves punishment and we are sinners; our sin separates us from God. There is nothing we can do to make ourselves acceptable; we need God to save us.
This means completely turning away from the lifestyle we have been living and turning to God. The Bible calls this repentance. Before we are Christians we do what we want, we rule our own lives. When we become Christians we surrender this position to Jesus. He becomes the person who sets the direction of our lives. So we become like Him: that’s what it means to be Christian or Christ-like. Obviously our lifestyle will change but it’s not about a set of religious do’s and don’ts: it’s about a change of heart.
“…And turn to God”
We believe or put our faith in Him. And not just in Him but in what He has done for us. God sent Jesus to earth to die, taking the punishment for our sins. He raised Him from the dead so that we could have eternal life in relationship with God. When we turn to God He becomes the centre, the focus, of our lives. That means everything else has to take second place to God and doing what He wants.
“…Be baptised in the name of Jesus”
Jesus was baptised and the Bible teaches that we should be baptised too. This can happen as soon as we’ve become a Christian, and wherever we are. The early church in New Testament times baptised, or immersed, people in water as a sign of their repentance. They were going right under the water as a symbol of dying with Christ, dying to their old life, and coming up again, rising with Him into a new life.
“…Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”
The Holy Spirit is given as a gift to anyone who asks. Jesus described Him as the comforter or helper. He also said we will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us: power to be His witnesses. Trying to live a Christian life without the power of the Holy Spirit is like trying to use a power tool without the power. The hardware may look right, but it’ll never get the job done the way it was intended unless it is used in the way it was designed. We need to switch the power on and let God’s Spirit empower us to fulfill the mission He has given us.