Bryce Avenue Presbyterian Church
Soli Deo Gloria

How Do I Become A Christian

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”— John 3:16 John   3:16   is   probably   the   best   known   Bible   verse   in   the   whole   world.   It   contains   the   Christian   Gospel   in   a   nutshell,   God’s   saving   work   for   sinners.   Its message   is   clear:   some   people   are   perishing,   but   God   saves   from   death   the   people   of   the   world   who   trust   His   Son   for   life.   Here,   indeed,   is   the   way   to heaven made plain for sinners. Let us take a closer look. SOME PEOPLE ARE PERISHING The   Bible   views   us   in   terms   of   our   relationship   with   God.   Human   beings   have   “life”   only   through   God   and   they   enjoy   it   only   when   they   live   in   the presence of God. Therefore, they perish when they are separated from God. This is because: We are creatures, totally dependent on God, our Creator. God   alone   sustains   us   and   keeps   body   and   soul   together.   In   Adam,   we   were   created   true   persons,   self-conscious,   free,   responsible   before   God,   and answerable to Him. “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” [God   is   not]   “worshipped   with   men’s   hands,   as   though   He   needed   anything,   seeing   He   gives   to   all   life,   and   breath,   and   all   things...   For   in   Him   we   live,   and move, and have our being...” (Gen. 1:27; Acts 17:25,28) We refuse to acknowledge our dependency on God. Adam   and   Eve   thought   they   could   get   along   without   God.   As   the   “parents”   of   human   kind   they   rejected   the   Creator   and   plunged   themselves   and   all   the rest   of   us   into   a   sinful   condition   of   prideful   rebellion   against   God.   True   to   His   Word,   God   punished   sin   by   separating   Adam   and   us   from   Himself.   Thus, our   lives   are   spoiled.   We   sons   and   daughters   of   Adam   no   longer   really   live.   We   merely   exist   in   what   could   be   called   a   kind   of   living   death.   We   have forfeited and lost life with God, that is, the “eternal life” referred to in John 3:16. “And   the   LORD   God   commanded   the   man,   saying,   ‘Of   every   tree   of   the   garden   you   may   freely   eat;   but   of   the   tree   of   the   knowledge   of   good   and   evil   you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.' “Therefore...   through   one   man   sin   entered   the   world,   and   death   through   sin,   and   thus   death   spread   to   all   men,   because   all   sinned..."   (Genesis   2:16-17; Romans 5:12) We are fallen. We   are   totally   unable    to   help   ourselves   —   that   is,   to   get   ourselves   back   into   fellowship   with   God   —   because   sin   and   death   pervade   every   aspect   of   our beings.   We   are   not   even   true   men,   whole   and   free,   as   God   intended   us   to   be.   We   are   alienated   from   ourselves,   from   other   men,   and,   most   importantly, from   God.   Every   relationship   is   perverted.   All   our   faculties   are   deadened,   rendered   useless   as   instruments   by   which   we   might   please   God   and   be restored   to   His   favor   and   fellowship.   We   are   lawbreakers,   condemned   to   perish   in   our   sins,   incapable   in   our   own   strength   of   fulfilling   the   law.   We   are slaves, helplessly mired in the muck of our sinful natures. “Because,   although   they   knew   God,   they   did   not   glorify   Him   as   God,   nor   were   thankful,   but   became   futile   in   their   thoughts,   and   their   foolish   hearts   were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools...” (Rom. 1:21-22) SALVATION FROM PERISHING IS BY WAY OF FAITH John   3:16   clearly   teaches   that   those   who   are   saved   from   perishing   are   those   who   “believe   on”   the   Son   of   God.   The   Bible   is   very,   very   clear   on   this   point: we   are   saved   by   God’s   grace   alone   through   faith   alone   in   Jesus   Christ   alone.   We   cannot   be   saved   by   keeping   the   Law,   for   the   Law   demands   perfection and   we   cannot   be   perfect.   The   Law,   therefore,   condemns   us   —   it   reveals   all   our   deadly   imperfections   and   pronounces   God’s   curse   upon   them.   As   a mirror reveals our blemishes but cannot heal them, so the Law exposes our sins but does not atone for them. “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” “For   by   grace   you   have   been   saved   through   faith,   and   that   not   of   yourselves;   it   is   the   gift   of   God,   not   of   works,   lest   anyone   should   boast.”   (Romans   3:28; Ephesians 2:8,9) FAITH LAYS HOLD ON THE SON OF GOD Who Jesus Is Jesus,   the   Son   of   God,   is   God.   But,   in   order   to   save   His   people,   He   became   a   man.   He   was   a   real   man,   everything   that   Adam   was   (and   lost)   and   more. This   astounding   fact   is   at   the   heart   of   Christianity,   and   is   one   of   the   keys   to   understanding   the   Good   News   of   salvation   —“God   so   loved   ...that   He   gave His   only   begotten   Son.”   The   person   we   must   look   to   for   our   salvation   is   the   God-Man,   fully   God   and   fully   man   at   the   same   time.   As   God,   His   life   was   of such   great   value   that   He   could   pay   the   penalty   for   the   sins   of   a   great   multitude   of   sinners.   As   a   man,   He   could   receive   in   Himself   God’s   wrath   due   to men.   He   humbly   identified   Himself   with   us   sinners   and   experienced   our   weaknesses   and   infirmities,   but,   and   this   is   important,   without   any   sin   of   His own. “In   the   beginning   was   the   Word,   and   the   Word   was   with   God,   and   the   Word   was   God   ...and   the   Word   became   flesh   and   dwelt   among   us,   (and   we   beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. “But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, made under the law... “For   such   a   High   Priest   was   fitting   for   us,   who   is   holy,   harmless,   undefiled,   separate   from   sinners,   and   has   become   higher   than   the   heavens” (John 1:1,14; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 7:26). What Jesus Did o Jesus   Christ   lived   a   perfect   life .   God   requires   anyone   who   would   fellowship   with   Him   to   be   perfect,      just   like   Him.   But,   sin   makes   this impossible for us! So Jesus Christ came as a man and perfectly obeyed the law for His people. His perfection was substituted for theirs. o “For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God...” (I Peter 3:18). o Jesus Christ died a perfect death. He not only lived for His people, but died for them, too, giving Himself as a sacrifice to satisfy God’s justice. And, since His life is so precious, His sacrifice was accepted by the Father as of sufficient value to pay the penalty for the sins of every one of those for whom He died. “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one many shall be made righteous...“So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many..." (Romans 5:19; Hebrews 9:28). o Jesus   Christ   conquered   death.    Though   He   died   and   was   buried,   He   arose!   Later,   He   returned   to   Heaven   as   the   great   King   of   the   universe. One   day,   according   to   His   promise,   He   will   return   and   gather   all   believers   to   Himself.   Thus,   everyone   who   receives   eternal   life   now   will   enjoy it forever in Heaven with the Son of God. “For   I   delivered   to   you   ...that   Christ   died   for   our   sins   according   to   the   Scriptures,   and   that   He   was   buried,   and   that   He   rose   again   the   third   day according to the Scriptures... “ This same Jesus ...who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven... “   And   if   I   go   and   prepare   a   place   for   you,   I   will   come   again   and   receive   you   unto   Myself;   that   where   I   am   you   may   be   also”   (I   Corinthians   15:3,4;   Acts 1:11; John 14:3). JESUS CHRIST OFFERS SALVATION AS A GIFT TO BE RECEIVED BY FAITH Faith.    Now,   how   may   one   receive   this   wonderful   eternal   life   of   which   John   3:16   speaks?   The   answer   really   is   quite   simple:   by   faith.   Not   by   works. By faith. But, what is faith? Maybe we first should consider what faith is by thinking about what it is not: o Not   facts   alone.    Faith   is   not   mere   intellectual   assent   to   a   group   of   facts.   It   does   indeed   accept   as   true   what   the   Bible   says   about   God,   and sin,   and   Christ,   but   it   is   more   than   this.   After   all,   the   Bible   says   that   even   “the   devils   believe   and   tremble...!”   Intellectual   assent   alone   is   not   all that is meant by “saving faith.” o Not   favors   alone.    Faith   is   not   merely   trusting   God   for   favors.   Some   people   think   that   because   they   look   to   God   for   health,   or   safety,   or financial   solvency,   or   guidance,   and   because   they   do   indeed   enjoy   some   of   these   things   in   measure,   they   therefore   possess   saving   faith   and God   must   truly   love   them   as   His   children.   Again,   this   is   not   so.   God   is   so   good   that   He   does   love   all   men   with   a   common   love.   But   this common love is not saving love. Just because one receives temporal favors from a good God does not mean he has been given eternal life. o Not   feelings   alone.    Saving   faith   is   not   to   be   identified   with   religious   feelings.   There   are   people   who   get   all   mushy   and   teary   when   they   hear “Silent   Night,”   or   “The   Old   Rugged   Cross.”   Others   really   “get   into”   religious   services   and   almost   explode   with   enthusiasm   for   “the   cause.”   But such   emotional   experiences   are   not   necessarily   evidences   of   a   true   conversion.   Don’t   forget   that   Esau   wept   buckets   of   tears,   but   he   was   not saved. Faith certainly touches our emotions, but feelings alone do not prove it genuine. o Trusting   Christ   alone.    So   what   is   saving   faith?   It   is   trusting,   receiving   and   resting   on   Jesus   Christ   alone   for   salvation   as   He   is   offered   in   the Gospel.   It   is   transferring   your   trust   for   eternal   life   from   yourself   —   your   own   goodness   or   goodnesses   —   to   Christ.   It   is   believing   that   you   are truly   guilty   and   justly   condemned   for   your   sin,   and   calling   upon   Jesus   Christ   for   salvation,   knowing   all   the   while   that   it   is   in   His   righteousness alone that you are made acceptable to God. o Repentance    Saving   faith   is   always   accompanied   with   repentance.   When   you   turn   to   Jesus,   you   turn   away   from   yourself.   You   grieve   over your   guilt   and   the   pollution   in   your   soul.   You   hate   what   you   are   without   Christ.   You   discover   a   new,   holy   desire   to   love   and   serve   your Creator and Redeemer with your whole heart and life. THE GIFT And, when you do this — when you turn to Christ by faith — the Savior accepts you and gives you eternal life!. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household... “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Acts 16:31; John 6:37). BE A BELIEVER Now,   how   might   YOU   receive   this   wonderful   gift?   Ask   for   it.   Pray.   Right   this   minute   —tell   God   that   you   recognize   how   sinful   you   are,   and   how   totally unable   you   are   to   please   Him   in   yourself   or   your   works.   Ask   Him   to   enable   you   by   His   Spirit   to   believe:   to   embrace   Jesus   Christ   and   trust   Him   alone   for your   eternal   salvation.   Then,   thank   Him   for   keeping   His   promise.   Now,   go.   Live   for   Him.   Study   and   obey   His   Word.   Pray   often.   Worship   with   His   people in   a   Bible-believing   church.   Share   your   new   faith   and   life   with   other   Christians.   Serve   Him   in   the   church   and   in   the   world.   Talk   about   Him   to unbelievers. It won’t be easy; the cost of following Christ is great. But  it is the only life. It is eternal life. _____________________________________ This   article   was   authored   by   Rev.   Paul   Settle.   For   more   information   or   spiritual   assistance   please   contact   Bryce   Avenue   Presbyterian   Church   |   333   Bryce   Avenue   |   Los   Alamos,   New   Mexico 87544 | 505.672.3364 | info@bapca.org
Bryce Avenue Presbyterian Church
Bryce Avenue Presbyterian Church
Soli Deo Gloria

How Do I Become A Christian

“For   God   so   loved   the   world   that   He   gave   His   only   begotten   Son,   that whoever   believes   in   Him   should   not   perish   but   have   everlasting   life.”— John 3:16 John   3:16   is   probably   the   best   known   Bible   verse   in   the   whole   world.   It contains   the   Christian   Gospel   in   a   nutshell,   God’s   saving   work   for   sinners. Its   message   is   clear:   some   people   are   perishing,   but   God   saves   from death   the   people   of   the   world   who   trust   His   Son   for   life.   Here,   indeed,   is the way to heaven made plain for sinners. Let us take a closer look. SOME PEOPLE ARE PERISHING The   Bible   views   us   in   terms   of   our   relationship   with   God.   Human   beings have   “life”   only   through   God   and   they   enjoy   it   only   when   they   live   in   the presence   of   God.   Therefore,   they   perish   when   they   are   separated   from God. This is because: We are creatures, totally dependent on God, our Creator. God   alone   sustains   us   and   keeps   body   and   soul   together.   In   Adam,   we were   created   true   persons,   self-conscious,   free,   responsible   before   God, and answerable to Him. “So   God   created   man   in   His   own   image;   in   the   image   of   God   He   created him; male and female He created them.” [God    is    not]    “worshipped    with    men’s    hands,    as    though    He    needed anything,   seeing   He   gives   to   all   life,   and   breath,   and   all   things...   For   in Him    we    live,    and    move,    and    have    our    being...”    (Gen.    1:27;    Acts 17:25,28) We refuse to acknowledge our dependency on God. Adam    and    Eve    thought    they    could    get    along    without    God.    As    the “parents”     of     human     kind     they     rejected     the     Creator     and     plunged themselves    and    all    the    rest    of    us    into    a    sinful    condition    of    prideful rebellion   against   God.   True   to   His   Word,   God   punished   sin   by   separating Adam   and   us   from   Himself.   Thus,   our   lives   are   spoiled.   We   sons   and daughters   of   Adam   no   longer   really   live.   We   merely   exist   in   what   could be   called   a   kind   of   living   death.   We   have   forfeited   and   lost   life   with   God, that is, the “eternal life” referred to in John 3:16. “And   the   LORD   God   commanded   the   man,   saying,   ‘Of   every   tree   of   the garden   you   may   freely   eat;   but   of   the   tree   of   the   knowledge   of   good and   evil   you   shall   not   eat,   for   in   the   day   that   you   eat   of   it   you   shall surely die.' “Therefore...    through    one    man    sin    entered    the    world,    and    death through   sin,   and   thus   death   spread   to   all   men,   because   all   sinned..." (Genesis 2:16-17; Romans 5:12) We are fallen. We   are   totally   unable    to   help   ourselves   —   that   is,   to   get   ourselves   back into   fellowship   with   God   —   because   sin   and   death   pervade   every   aspect of    our    beings.    We    are    not    even    true    men,    whole    and    free,    as    God intended   us   to   be.   We   are   alienated   from   ourselves,   from   other   men, and,   most   importantly,   from   God.   Every   relationship   is   perverted.   All   our faculties   are   deadened,   rendered   useless   as   instruments   by   which   we might   please   God   and   be   restored   to   His   favor   and   fellowship.   We   are lawbreakers,   condemned   to   perish   in   our   sins,   incapable   in   our   own strength   of   fulfilling   the   law.   We   are   slaves,   helplessly   mired   in   the   muck of our sinful natures. “Because,   although   they   knew   God,   they   did   not   glorify   Him   as   God,   nor were   thankful,   but   became   futile   in   their   thoughts,   and   their   foolish hearts    were    darkened.    Professing    to    be    wise,    they    became    fools...” (Rom. 1:21-22) SALVATION FROM PERISHING IS BY WAY OF FAITH John   3:16   clearly   teaches   that   those   who   are   saved   from   perishing   are those   who   “believe   on”   the   Son   of   God.   The   Bible   is   very,   very   clear   on this   point:   we   are   saved   by   God’s   grace   alone   through   faith   alone   in   Jesus Christ    alone.    We    cannot    be    saved    by    keeping    the    Law,    for    the    Law demands    perfection    and    we    cannot    be    perfect.    The    Law,    therefore, condemns   us   —   it   reveals   all   our   deadly   imperfections   and   pronounces God’s   curse   upon   them.   As   a   mirror   reveals   our   blemishes   but   cannot heal them, so the Law exposes our sins but does not atone for them. “Therefore   we   conclude   that   a   man   is   justified   by   faith   apart   from   the deeds of the law.” “For   by   grace   you   have   been   saved   through   faith,   and   that   not   of yourselves;   it   is   the   gift   of   God,   not   of   works,   lest   anyone   should   boast.” (Romans 3:28; Ephesians 2:8,9) FAITH LAYS HOLD ON THE SON OF GOD Who Jesus Is Jesus,    the    Son    of    God,    is    God.    But,    in    order    to    save    His    people,    He became   a   man.   He   was   a   real   man,   everything   that   Adam   was   (and   lost) and   more.   This   astounding   fact   is   at   the   heart   of   Christianity,   and   is   one of   the   keys   to   understanding   the   Good   News   of   salvation   —“God   so loved   ...that   He   gave   His   only   begotten   Son.”   The   person   we   must   look   to for   our   salvation   is   the   God-Man,   fully   God   and   fully   man   at   the   same time.   As   God,   His   life   was   of   such   great   value   that   He   could   pay   the penalty   for   the   sins   of   a   great   multitude   of   sinners.   As   a   man,   He   could receive   in   Himself   God’s   wrath   due   to   men.   He   humbly   identified   Himself with   us   sinners   and   experienced   our   weaknesses   and   infirmities,   but, and this is important, without any sin of His own. “In   the   beginning   was   the   Word,   and   the   Word   was   with   God,   and   the Word   was   God   ...and   the   Word   became   flesh   and   dwelt   among   us,   (and we   beheld   His   glory,   the   glory   as   of   the   only   begotten   of   the   Father,)   full of grace and truth. “But   when   the   fullness   of   time   was   come,   God   sent   forth   His   Son,   born of a woman, made under the law... “For    such    a    High    Priest    was    fitting    for    us,    who    is    holy,    harmless, undefiled,   separate   from   sinners,   and   has   become   higher   than   the heavens” (John 1:1,14; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 7:26). What Jesus Did Jesus Christ lived a perfect life. God requires anyone who would fellowship with Him to be perfect,  just like Him. But, sin makes this impossible for us! So Jesus Christ came as a man and perfectly obeyed the law for His people. His perfection was substituted for theirs. “For   Christ   also   has   once   suffered   for   sins,   the   just   for   the   unjust,   that   He might bring us to God...” (I Peter 3:18). Jesus Christ died a perfect death. He not only lived for His people, but died for them, too, giving Himself as a sacrifice to satisfy God’s justice. And, since His life is so precious, His sacrifice was accepted by the Father as of sufficient value to pay the penalty for the sins of every one of those for whom He died. “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one many shall be made righteous... “So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many..." (Romans 5:19; Hebrews 9:28). Jesus Christ conquered death. Though He died and was buried, He arose! Later, He returned to Heaven as the great King of the universe. One day, according to His promise, He will return and gather all believers to Himself. Thus, everyone who receives eternal life now will enjoy it forever in Heaven with the Son of God. “For I delivered to you ...that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures... “ This same Jesus ...who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven... “ And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am you may be also” (I Corinthians 15:3,4; Acts 1:11; John 14:3). JESUS CHRIST OFFERS SALVATION AS A GIFT TO BE RECEIVED BY FAITH Faith. Now, how may one receive this wonderful eternal life of which John 3:16 speaks? The answer really is quite simple: by faith. Not by works. By faith. But, what is faith? Maybe we first should consider what faith is by thinking about what it is not: o Not facts alone. Faith is not mere intellectual assent to a group of facts. It does indeed accept as true what the Bible says about God, and sin, and Christ, but it is more than this. After all, the Bible says that even “the devils believe and tremble...!” Intellectual assent alone is not all that is meant by “saving faith.” o Not favors alone. Faith is not merely trusting God for favors. Some people think that because they look to God for health, or safety, or financial solvency, or guidance, and because they do indeed enjoy some of these things in measure, they therefore possess saving faith and God must truly love them as His children. Again, this is not so. God is so good that He does love all men with a common love. But this common love is not saving love. Just because one receives temporal favors from a good God does not mean he has been given eternal life. o Not feelings alone. Saving faith is not to be identified with religious feelings. There are people who get all mushy and teary when they hear “Silent Night,” or “The Old Rugged Cross.” Others really “get into” religious services and almost explode with enthusiasm for “the cause.” But such emotional experiences are not necessarily evidences of a true conversion. Don’t forget that Esau wept buckets of tears, but he was not saved. Faith certainly touches our emotions, but feelings alone do not prove it genuine. o Trusting Christ alone. So what is saving faith? It is trusting, receiving and resting on Jesus Christ alone for salvation as He is offered in the Gospel. It is transferring your trust for eternal life from yourself — your own goodness or goodnesses — to Christ. It is believing that you are truly guilty and justly condemned for your sin, and calling upon Jesus Christ for salvation, knowing all the while that it is in His righteousness alone that you are made acceptable to God. o Repentance Saving faith is always accompanied with repentance. When you turn to Jesus, you turn away from yourself. You grieve over your guilt and the pollution in your soul. You hate what you are without Christ. You discover a new, holy desire to love and serve your Creator and Redeemer with your whole heart and life. THE GIFT And,   when   you   do   this   —   when   you   turn   to   Christ   by   faith   —   the   Savior accepts you and gives you eternal life!. “Believe   on   the   Lord   Jesus   Christ   and   you   will   be   saved,   you   and   your household... “All   that   the   Father   gives   Me   will   come   to   Me,   and   the   one   who   comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Acts 16:31; John 6:37). BE A BELIEVER Now,   how   might   YOU   receive   this   wonderful   gift?   Ask   for   it.   Pray.   Right this   minute   —tell   God   that   you   recognize   how   sinful   you   are,   and   how totally   unable   you   are   to   please   Him   in   yourself   or   your   works.   Ask   Him to   enable   you   by   His   Spirit   to   believe:   to   embrace   Jesus   Christ   and   trust Him   alone   for   your   eternal   salvation.   Then,   thank   Him   for   keeping   His promise.   Now,   go.   Live   for   Him.   Study   and   obey   His   Word.   Pray   often. Worship   with   His   people   in   a   Bible-believing   church.   Share   your   new   faith and   life   with   other   Christians.   Serve   Him   in   the   church   and   in   the   world. Talk   about   Him   to   unbelievers.   It   won’t   be   easy;   the   cost   of   following Christ is great. But  it is the only life. It is eternal life. _____________________________________ This   article   was   authored   by   Rev.   Paul   Settle.   For   more   information   or   spiritual   assistance please   contact   Bryce   Avenue   Presbyterian   Church   |   333   Bryce   Avenue   |   Los   Alamos,   New Mexico 87544 | 505.672.3364 | info@bapca.org