What does it mean to ‘become a Christian’?
It is important to consider carefully who Jesus is and his claims. The Christian faith is not just an interesting subject that we can take or leave or treat like the news or weather. Jesus speaks to our lives in a way that fundamentally challenges us. Either what he says is true or it is false.
Do we believe there is a God who is interested in us or not? Jesus either is his son or not. We need to reach, through careful thought and consideration, a decision or conclusion about him. If it is true we need to respond. To do that we need to understand what he said and what he claimed. This section will help take you through those steps.
A heavenly father
He taught that God is real and has a father-like attitude to us. He loves us, wants to walk with us and to help us.
He also identified a problem that keeps God distant from us. It is why we know he is there but we can’t interact with him. The problem is that we are accountable for the hurt or harm that we cause to others by the things we do and say. The bible calls it ‘sin’ - it is simply wrongdoing that falls short of how we should be. It applies to all of us. God does not ignore wrongdoing. His love for people means he is angry when we do wrong and hurt people and holds us accountable for it.
We cannot sort it. We are the guilty party. How can it be resolved? Jesus came not only to teach about the love of the father but also to solve this problem. That is where the cross fits in. He chose to pay the penalty in our place. He lived a completely innocent life and so could pay the price for us on the cross where he was punished for all our shortcomings and the wrong we have done. Nothing we have done is beyond the reach of this act of sacrifice. The bible describes it in 1 Peter 1:19-20
Forgiveness and a life alongside God is a free gift. But like every free gift we have to accept it; we have to receive it ourselves. God holds out his hands to you with this gift - forgiveness, the removal of any penalty, a living relationship with him now and in eternity after we die. If we accept his gift we are restored back into relationship with him as he always wanted and intended. With this comes a joy and peace and awareness of him we have never known before. We receive his living presence in the form of his Holy Spirit who gives us a sense of his fatherhood and love and a new sense of relationship with other Christians who know him.
How do we accept this gift? It is very simple. Jesus said 'unless you come to me as little children you cannot enter the kingdom of God' (Matthew 18:3).
It is a simple prayer with 5 steps.
We come to an understanding in our hearts that God is real
We recognise our shortcomings (sin)
We say sorry and ask him to forgive us through Jesus
We invite him into our life, offering ourselves to him and asking him to come in and to teach us and guide us
We thank him in faith for what he has done
Is it as simple as that?
It is as simple as that. There are no right words - you are speaking from your heart to a father who loves and longs for you, who is only stopped from speaking to you because of the wrong stuff in your life or past. You are saying ‘sorry’, accepting his forgiveness through Jesus and saying ‘please help me, take over and guide me’.
What should I expect?
Everyone has different reactions but a common theme is a sense of joy and peace. God's living presence (the Spirit of God) enters us as we invite him in. You are now a child of God (‘born again’ is a phrase used sometimes) with a heavenly father. It's the beginning of a relationship in which you will get to know him. You will become more aware of who you are praying to when you pray. The bible will start to make more sense when you read it (start with a modern language version of the gospels eg Mark, John or Luke).
It is a new beginning; the start of getting to know him and walk with him. As you read he will teach you. It is about relationship not religion. Talk to him naturally and tell him how you feel. Ask him for help when sorting something out. Don't be surprised when you get things wrong; say sorry to God (who cleanses and forgives us) and sort out kindly with anyone affected. Notice that things you read will often link to things that happen. Meet with other Christians and learn more from them.
It is very important to link up with another Christian and tell them what you have done so they can support and encourage you, welcome you into the family of faith and introduce you to other believing Christians. They can help you in lots of ways including helping you get to know and understand your bible. It would be great if you can click the link below and complete the form so we can send you some helpful information about your new life in Jesus. We can also any answer questions you may have. Reading the bible, praying and asking questions are the key to growing in your new found faith and relationship with God.
What if I'm not ready?
For some who read this you may not yet be ready to invite Jesus into your life. You may still have many questions. That is a great place to be in. The more you find out, the firmer your faith will be when you do reach the point of wanting to take that step of faith. Use this site to find out more. Also consider sending in some of your own questions and seeking answers. If you know a believing Christian, talk to them. They can help you find answers.
As we pursue the truth, God will respond to us. Ask him to reveal himself to you. He is listening. Jesus said ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you’ Luke 11:9
Thank you for taking the time to read this. We trust you found it helpful
Click here and it will take you back to further links and questions in the "Discovery Room' section or you can complete the form below to ask further questions or let us know that you prayed and invited Jesus into your life.
Please be assured that nobody will 'chase' you or make unhelpful contact. It is important that you take your own time to reach your own conclusions. We are simply offering further information in line with your requests or questions you may have.
Harborough Community Church,
121 Bath Street,
Market Harborough, Leicestershire