“Am I a Christian?” Off the top of my head, I can list three younger people I know who are struggling with answering this question as I write this. Perhaps you know someone too. Or perhaps you’re asking yourself this question yourself. Unfortunately, it’s a common struggle, especially for those growing up in the church.
Today I hope to clarify what it means to be a Christian, but first I want to make this point clear: Repentance is not a thing we can just check off the list. Coming to faith is not something you just do once and are done with. When you become a Christian, you are giving your whole life to Jesus. “Being a Christian” is a daily and intentional thing. You should never stop doing these three things I’m about to tell you about.
Okay, now for my outline. These are the three things you’ll find that every believer, past or present, has in common. Even the thief on the cross!
#1: Christians believe in Jesus and His Word.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” – John 14:1 (ESV)
“Believe.” You see that command all over the New Testament. In the verse above and also in Mark 1:15, Mark 5:36, John 20:27, and Acts 16:31–just to name a few. But what do we believe? To put it simply, the Bible. If you are a Jesus-follower, you need to believe His Word. You also need to believe in Jesus and believe that:
- Jesus is Savior.
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. – 1 John 4:14 (ESV)
Jesus died on the cross for sinners and He is the door into heaven. If you are a Christian, He has washed you white as snow and saved you from hell.
- Jesus is Lord.
…because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9-10 (ESV)
He didn’t only die, but He rose from the dead–He conquered death. He is King! Almighty! God! Not just a nice teacher and not just love, love, love.
#2: Christians know they are sinners and willingly repent.
Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out… – Acts 3:19 (ESV)
God is a holy and righteous God, and He cannot tolerate sin. But if we repent of our sin, He accepts us as His children and we are reconciled.
So how do we repent of our sin?
- Well, first we have to see how bad it is. Can you see how imperfect you are compared to the Savior who took your place on the cross?
- The second step is to confess. Admit to God in prayer that you are messed up.
- And don’t stop there. Ask God to change you.
Repentance is an ongoing thing, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see fruit right away.
#3: Christians love Jesus more than anything else.
It is not enough to believe–James 2:19 says that even the devils believe! And it isn’t enough to repent either. It counts for nothing if you don’t love Jesus.
You need to love Jesus. Sound easy? Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15, ESV) If you love Jesus, you want to obey Him. And loving and obeying Him means hating sin.
Does that mean that only sinless people go to heaven? Not at all! This means that if you love Jesus, you will commit your life to glorifying Him, producing good fruit, and fighting sin. It’ll get hard, but trust me, He’s worth it.
Plus, you’re not alone.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever…” – John 14:16 (ESV)
When you become a Christian, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to live in you. He’ll work through you to keep Jesus’ commandments.
So, believe, repent, and love Jesus. If you read through this and decided that the answer to your big question was “no,” hopefully, this’ll give you a place to start! And if “yes,” praise God! Just remember that being a Christian is something that never stops. And that is such a wonderful thing! It means that from the moment you accept Jesus into your heart, He will stay with you forever after.
Hope to see you in heaven one day, friend. =)
What do you think?
What do you think is important to see in an conversion?