Is Jesus Christ the only way to God, or is there another way to get into the presence of God, how do I know if I will go to heaven and be saved? This article explains which way God has laid!
What is a Christian
“I grew up in a Christian home. We went to church every Sunday.”
That’s all well and good. But frequent church visits don’t make you a Christian any more than frequent visits to the zoo make you a chimpanzee.
“I try to do good and to help others.”
Fine. But that doesn’t make a Christian either. There are many people who do not believe in God and yet are kind and ready to help anyone who is in need.
“I was baptized as a young child.
So are countless others who do not ask about God. A religious act does not automatically make you a Christian.
“I believe in God.”
The Bible teaches that the devil does too. Most people say they believe in God when asked about it. But they have no idea who or how God is.
One can believe that one can fly across the Atlantic in an airplane. But this belief alone has not flown a meter. To do this, you have to get on the plane.
As good and right as it is to believe in God, that too is not enough to be a real Christian.
So what is a Christian then?
Originally only those who believed in Christ as the Son of God and lived according to his commandments were referred to as Christians.
The best explanation of what a Christian is was given by Christ himself. He said that man must be “born again”. What does that mean?
We are all part of the human family through our birth. In order to become part of God’s family now, we have to be “born into” his family. In contrast to our first birth, however, this is a supernatural process that requires our conscious consent. However, we cannot bring about this new birth on our own; we have to ask God for it. And he promised to give it to us.
On his part, he did everything that was necessary for this. He sent Jesus into the world, who died on the cross for our sins so that they could forgive us and we could become children of God. This path is open to everyone, no matter who they are and whatever they may have done. We all may come to God. We just have to want to.
Do you also want to get to know Jesus Christ personally and become a real Christian?
Do you want to be forgiven of all your sins and become a child of God?
Do you want to have true eternal life, do you want to know that God lives in you and that you will go to him after you die?
If that’s what you want, read on.
How do you become a Christian?
The first thing is to admit that we have all been guilty before God, that we have sinned. Confess before God all thoughts, words and deeds that you know deeply that were not right. Admit that you are sorry for so often rejecting God’s love and going your own way. Be ready to turn away from all bad thoughts, words, deeds, and habits.
Believe that Jesus paid for your sins on the cross and bore your punishment. We all deserve punishment before God, but Jesus took it upon himself. You can rely on that.
However, Jesus never promised that Christian life would be easy. You will sometimes be misunderstood, laughed at, and contradicted, just as Jesus was. Becoming a Christian means acknowledging Jesus as Lord and Master. This means letting Jesus’ standards apply in all areas of life, whether that be work, friendships, time or money.
Ask Jesus to come into your life as your Savior who wants to save you, as your Lord who wants to guide you and as your friend who wants to be with you always.
Nowhere is this step formulated more clearly than in the last book of Bible, the revelation. In chapter 3, verse 20, Jesus himself says: “See, I stand at the door and knock. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
Your life can be compared to a house. Jesus Christ stands in front of it and waits. He does not penetrate by force, because love does not do that. He wants to be invited. The door handle is inside. Only you can open the door. You become a Christian when you open the door of your life to Jesus and ask him to come in and dwell in your heart.
Have you already taken this step? Maybe you never realized the need for it. You can be baptized, go to church, even them Bible read and pray and yet Jesus is still outside the door to your life.
Has Christ already come into your life or is he still outside? Do you want to invite him now, or do you leave him outside?
You can’t always ignore his knocking. Time flies by. After death there will be no more opportunity to invite Christ. Then it will be too late.
If you are ready to take Christ into your life now, find a quiet corner. Think about how much Jesus loves you. He suffered loneliness and pain, was nailed to the cross and shed his blood – all for you.
Make it clear to yourself that Jesus is now knocking on your door too, waiting for you to let him in. Now you’ve heard his voice and you want to get to know him.
Maybe you don’t know exactly how to do this. Then simply pray the following prayer and think about each sentence what it means.
Lord Jesus Christ, you know that in my thoughts, words and actions I have sinned against you. And how many times could I have done good and didn’t? Please forgive me. I repent of my sins and want to turn away from everything that is wrong. You gave your life for me on the cross. That’s why I’m giving you my life now. And I beg you, take possession of it. Come as my Savior who saves me, come as my Lord who guides me, come as my friend who surrounds me. I thank you for hearing me! Amen.
If you have prayed this prayer with all your heart and meant it seriously, then you have now accepted Jesus into your life. Now he lives in you through his Holy Spirit.
“If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I’ll go inside.”Off. 3, 20
Jesus is God. If he makes a promise, then he keeps it. You don’t need to look at your feelings. Trust in God’s Word. You are a child of God now, a real Christian. You are born again.
“But to those who received him and believed in him, to them he gave the right to be children of God.”Joh. 1, 12
You have eternal life now.
“Those who believe in me already have eternal life!”Joh. 6, 47
You are never alone again. You are now a member of God’s family, a member of his body, of the church to which all who believe and trust Jesus belong.
“I am with you always and everywhere, until the end of this world”Matth. 28, 20
How do I know that God has accepted me?
You opened the door of your life and asked Jesus to come in. You have accepted him. But did he also accept you? How can you know You may not feel any different than before. You don’t feel anything about the new birth. Then how do you know that Jesus really came into your life and wants to be your personal friend?
The special thing about the Christian faith is that we can really know that we now belong to God and He to us. This certainty should make us happy. It is based on three things:
- the Bible
- the cross
- the Holy Spirit
How do I know I have eternal life? How do I know that Jesus will always be with me? Because God says so in the Bible.
The Bible is full of promises God makes to those who trust him. It not only shows us how to become a Christian, but it also shows us how to go on from there. We cannot rely on our feelings. When we are tired or sick, when we have worries and problems at home or at work, we may not feel God’s presence. Feelings change. Therefore, we should not rely on them, but on God’s unchanging promises.
How do I know God loves me? Jesus said: “God loved people so much that he gave his only son for them. Anyone who believes in him will not be lost, but will have eternal life “ (Joh. 3, 16). The proof of God’s love is the fact that he let his son die for you so that you could live.
How do I know Jesus is in my life? Jesus promised: “If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him” (Rev. 3, 20) . When we ask Jesus to come into our lives, we can count on his promises that he will do so. He says it clearly: “I will come” , and not: “I may come if you are good enough.” No, if you have asked Christ to come in, then you may be quite sure that He has also come. Because that’s what he promised. And God keeps his word.
How do I know that Jesus will always be with me? Jesus has assured us: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matth. 28, 20) . We can rely on that, even if we often don’t feel any of it. We are beset by all kinds of hardships and problems, and God is nowhere to be seen. Nevertheless, he is always with us, because he has promised.
One of the most beautiful, comforting words Jesus ever said is:“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” (Joh. 6, 37) .
You were given to Jesus by the Father. Now you belong to him forever and ever. There can be no greater certainty.
In one of his parables, Jesus compares God to a loving father who is happy that his prodigal son is coming home again. Whoever comes to Godis accepted by him.
How can I know that I’m forgiven?
“How do I know that every sin, every bad thought, every evil deed, every thoughtless word, every selfishness, everything that burdens my conscience is really forgiven and erased?”
One of the consequences of sin is to separate us from God. Then it seems to us that he is unreal and far away and does not care about the needs and disappointments of the people. Many people now believe that they can overcome this distance between God and themselves through their own efforts. They hope to gain approval from God by being kind, always making an effort, and also trying to be religious.
But God accepts us as we are. And there is only one reason for this: Because Jesus bridged the distance. The cross alone creates the connection between man and God. The way is open to all who no longer trust in their own righteousness, but put all their trust in Jesus.
The cross is our assurance that God will forgive all of our sins – for Jesus’ sake. In his lonely, agonizing dying, Christ took upon himself the punishment we should have deserved for our sins.
Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, saw this very clearly when he wrote:
“Christ took our sins upon himself and carried them himself up to the cross.”
And John, another disciple, could say with confidence:
“Christ took our sins, indeed the sins of the whole world, upon himself; he atoned for them.”
The apostle Paul was also very certain:
“Whoever belongs to Jesus Christ will escape judgment from God.”
Those who rely on what Jesus did for them need not fear that God will condemn them for their sins. The sentence has already been carried out. Jesus took it upon himself on the cross for us. That’s what he meant when he exclaimed. “It is finished!” The debt for human sin is paid!
And God promised not only to forgive but also to forget sin, as if it had never happened. Johannes writes elsewhere: “The blood that Jesus Christ shed for us frees us from all guilt.”
Follow Jesus, what does that mean?
A Christian is not someone who chooses to follow Jesus, like one chooses to join a tennis club or even any church.
While we must of course make a conscious choice to follow Jesus, we can only do so because Christ chose us. Christ says: “You did not choose me, but I called you to me.”
The Christian is chosen and called to be a disciple and follower of Jesus. Not only does this mean that he loves and trusts Jesus, but it also means that he is always faithful to him and ready to do what Jesus says.
Jesus described a disciple as follows:
“Whoever wants to follow me must no longer think of himself, but must willingly take up his cross and follow me.”
Don’t think about yourself anymore
Jesus did not mean that we should give up sweets or indulge in other pleasures during Lent. What he means is much more radical. We should say no to our old, self-centered way of life and our selfish thinking and say yes to Jesus. A disciple will want to listen to what Jesus says and obey him. A disciple wants to learn from Jesus. He can no longer just do what he wants with his life, because it no longer belongs to him, but to Jesus. He is the Lord of all that I am and all that I have. I am responsible to him for what I do with his property.
Take up the cross
For Jesus the cross meant pain and shame, loneliness and rejection, suffering and death. Jesus called his disciples to follow him on this path and not to be surprised if they encounter incomprehension and resistance. In our time in particular, more Christians are suffering for their faith than ever before in history.
The phrase “take up the cross” is an image for personal devotion, for the sacrifice. Jesus gave his life for us on the cross. And as his disciples, he calls us to give our lives to him.
A right disciple tries to live like his Lord. That means:
- to take care of others as Jesus did
- to accept and love people as Jesus did
- to have time for others, especially for those in need
- a light, that is, to be an example for the world by living a true, selfless life like Jesus did.
Why read the Bible?
The first part is the Old Testament and contains thirty-nine books. They tell of God’s dealings with the people of Israel before Jesus came.
The second part, the New Testament, consists of twenty-seven books. They tell of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Furthermore, they describe the spread of Christianity and give practical instructions for the life of a Christian.
It took over 1500 years to finish writing the Bible. About forty different authors wrote the individual parts. Among them were kings, a minister, a doctor, a tax officer, a farmer and several fishermen. Most of the authors did not know each other. And yet the Bible as a whole shows an amazing unity and consistency. How can this be explained?
God Himself spoke to the individual authors and instructed them in what to write. They don’t just sit down and put their own thoughts on God and his actions on paper, but over and over again we come across the words: “Thus saith the Lord”, or “The word of the Lord came to …”
God did not speak to human “typewriters” either. He spoke to people who were closely related to him. He used their different personalities, so they wrote what God told them in their own personal style.
Therefore Johannes could write: “What we have seen and heard, we proclaim to you also.“
Peter describes the formation of the Old Testament as follows: “Driven by the Holy Spirit, people spoke in the name of God.”
And Paul sums it up like this: “All scripture is inspired by God”
How was it possible for Jesus’ disciples not to forget anything that Jesus said and did? Jesus had promised them: “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send you in my place, will remind you of all that I have said to you, and you will understand it.”
God had revealed his commandments and will to these people, and they wrote everything down, not just for their generation, but for all times. This is what makes the Bible so different from all other books. Through it God speaks to us to this day. Each page bears the seal of his authorship
The Bible teaches us what God is like and how we can get to know him. Without the bible, we would know next to nothing about God. We don’t know why we’re here or where we’re going. The Bible throws a clear light on all of our basic problems. It speaks with certainty of life, death and eternity. It is our guide from earth to heaven.
Source: From the book “Was soll’s” by Norman Warren. With the kind permission of Brunnen-Verlag Basel. The full text can be obtained from Brunnen-Verlag Gießen.