Being a Christian is about more than identifying yourself with a particular church or religion. At its core, it’s about embracing what the Bible says about who God is, who you are, and how you can be right with God.
Who is God?
The Bible teaches that God is the creator of the universe (Gen 1:1) and the sovereign ruler over everything (Ps 103:19). Everyone belongs to Him, and therefore He has absolute authority over our lives (Psalm 27:1).
God is also holy (Isaiah 6:3), meaning He is perfect in every way, and incapable of committing or approving of evil (James 1:3). God created man to be like Him, and demands that we be holy as well (1 Peter 1:16).
Who am I?
The first man—Adam—was good when he was created (Genesis 1:31). But he disobeyed God, and his sin alienated him from God. Every one of us has followed in Adam’s ways and has rebelled against God. The Bible says that all of us are guilty of sin (Romans 3:23) and are incapable of living a truly righteous life. Though we may do good things in our life, we are unable to live up to God’s holy standard or please Him on our own (Romans 3:10-12).
In our sinful condition, we live under the condemnation of God. Since He is holy and just, God cannot allow sin to go unpunished (Ezekiel 18:4). Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” If we were to die in our sinful condition, God’s judgment would require eternal punishment.
How can I be right with God?
The Bible teaches that, although we are incapable of pleasing God on our own, God has provided a way for us to be made right with Him. He has shown His love and mercy on us by sending His own Son to pay the penalty for our sin (Romans 5:8).
Jesus Christ—the sinless Son of God—became a man, lived a perfect life, and then suffered and died on a cross. In that act, God poured out His wrath for sin on His own perfect Son. Jesus acted as our substitute, dying our death so that we might have His life. Simply put: God treated His perfect Son as if he lived our life, so that He might treat us as if we lived Jesus’ life (2 Cor 5:21). When God raised Him from the dead three days later, it showed the world that Jesus had fully satisfied God’s righteous justice against sin (Rom 4:24) and guaranteed that all those who are in Christ have eternal life (John 11:25-26).
How can we have forgiveness of sin and new life in Jesus? Romans 10:9 says that “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” There are two components to this promise:
1. “Confess…Jesus as Lord”: this means that you must acknowledge Jesus Christ as sovereign over your life. Captured in the biblical word repentance, it speaks of a person who is broken over their sin, who hates the person they are, and who is willing to leave behind their old life to follow after Christ (Matt 16:24).
2. “Believe…God raised Him from the dead”: this means that you must place your complete trust in Christ’s death and resurrection as the only means of salvation. Captured in the biblical word faith, it speaks of a person who understands that they can do nothing to contribute towards their own salvation and so trusts that God has taken care of all their sin through the death and resurrection of Christ.
So then, how can we have forgiveness of sin and new life in Jesus? Simply repent of your sin by turning away from it and confessing it to God and trust in Christ’s death and resurrection as the only hope for salvation, and God promises that “you will be saved” (Rom 10:9).