How to become HIS
The Basics of Becoming a Christian
Ihope you landed on this page because you wanted to find out about belonging to God. Nobody can "make" you a Christian, and no amount of education or book-learning will get you there, nor can this web page... but if your heart is set on understanding the truth, God himself will lead and guide you. Ask him to speak to your heart and let you know for sure!
First, what is a Christian, and what is not?
- A Christian is a "believer", somebody who believes and trusts in God
- A Christian is not just somebody who goes to church
- A Christian is not somebody who tries to do good and help people
- A Christian is not somebody who has been baptised in a church
- A Christian is not even a person who reads the bible, prays, believes in God and says he's saved!
Christianity, for all that the world tries to present it as such, is NOT a "religion" but a personal relationship with a living God. Religion is all about man trying to DO something to find, serve and please gods. (or God.) A relationship on the other hand is knowing a PERSON, and being accepted on the basis of who and what you ARE, not what you DO.
Do you see the difference? It's often been said, living in a barn doesn't make you a cow. However churchy or religious you are, it doesn't change who you are and what your heart is like. Everything you are and do is a product of your nature, and if you can change human nature by your own efforts - well, good luck, because nobody else has been able to do it. Including God!
Do-Gooders are not Christians!
You think being a Christian is about being good? It's about forsaking "sin" and being a good person? That is what most people think. That is what many religious people will tell you (especially Christian denominations like the Catholic Church who have a different understanding of the bible than is actually true.)
Being good does come into things, yes. But God recognises that you cannot clean up your own act and change yourself. You are a human being, a member of the human race, which is wired up to act in a certain self-centred way.
To ask you to change your human nature would be as foolish as asking your dog to be a bird or a horse. A dog is a dog. It can't help that. Hold Rover out the window and he still can't fly, no matter how much you command him or wish it to be. Rover walks like a dog, barks like a dog, eats like a dog - you get the idea.
The only way to change your dog into a bird would be this (just as an example), if he were to die, and be reborn as a bird in another life! Suddenly Rover can fly! No problem.
Now how does this apply to us? Simply put, human nature cannot change by self-effort; but we can be reborn (in this present life) into another nature - a spiritual, godly one that works properly, that wants to be better, that has different desires and needs and motivations. We can ask God to take out the "stony heart" as he calls it and replace it with a soft, loving, tender, godly heart that understands spiritual things and wants to please God. Not a change of our essential humanity, but a change of the heart of it, a change of direction!
Are you beginning to see how God works this miracle? And all he asks is that you believe it, receive it, humbly see your need of it, and be prepared to be changed by his power.
We have examples in science fiction movies of people being overtaken by alien spirits and - against their own will - starting to speak, act, think and be like the alien that has possessed them. Despite having a body and mind of their own, they end up being more like the alien than themselves. This is an example of how we have been changed from ourselves by submitting to and living in, as the bible calls it, the nature of satan. In fact the bible says that everyone starts out as a child of satan, not a child of God!
This is the way we all act, in our natural state. What has to change is not (to use another illustration) the nuts and bolts of the machine, but the fuel and engine that moves, empowers and motivates them.
In order to change the status quo, to change what is on the inside, we have to make a conscious choice to receive another Spirit, another nature, another Master! We have to surrender to the will of GOD instead. Either you can be a slave to your uncontrollable drives and ruin your life, or you can willingly change ownership and be a servant of God - and be blessed, happy, protected, guided and FREE. "You shall know the TRUTH, and the truth shall set you FREE".
God never "possesses" a human being against his or her will, by force or trickery or lying, in the way that alien or demonic movies portray. He respects our human identity and actions, even if they are wrong and destructive. But he will woo and appeal to us to ACCEPT him willingly!
Your humanity can be infused by and with the Spirit of God, if you so choose, so that your thoughts are guided in a new way, your actions governed by new impulses, your decisions become wise and sound, and gradually your nature is conformed to the nature of God! Your essential nature and character, the real you, is never suppressed by this, only enhanced, and at any time you can choose to submit to the Spirit of God or go your own way. But as much as you allow God to lead you, that much will you be like him. In this way, your nature will change!
Okay, so changing human nature can be accomplished by filling it with a new nature - the divine, perfect nature of God. But there is a problem: if the perfectly holy Spirit of God came anywhere near us, in our normal dark condition, it would be as explosive as adding hot water to a crystal of quicklime!
Jesus said, only God is good.
We were made to belong to God, to be like him in every respect, but we chose to do as we pleased. We chose to rebel. We are all the same, rebels. Even our best thoughts tend to be selfish and mean. We are driven to go wrong, whether we like it or not.
And so darkness overshadowed us all. The human spirit that God put within each one of us has been perverted from a pure good thing that interracts with and loves God, to a self-serving evil thing that only wants to get, and hurt and rise up over others. But you can't pluck out a human spirit and replace it entirely like a spare part in a car. That is not what is described above.
Remember, God's Holy Spirit doesn't "possess", he seeks cooperation, obedience, willing surrender in order for us to join ourselves with Him. But his perfect holiness and righteousness also demands repentance.
Nobody on earth is "good" in the way God intended, it's a total meltdown. Nobody pleases God, not even the good people! The best we can offer, the highest point of our self-will, is "trying" in a clumsy dark and blind way to do the things that WE THINK will please God.
But all this does is sadden God. Only God IS good and understands what holiness means. You and I do not. He's perfect, wise, uncorrupted - which is precisely why the two of us are at odds. You can't mix oil and water, and you can't put man straight back into the God-realm without him frizzling up and dying. There are rules! One of them says that nothing but complete perfection can exist in the God realm - complete utter purity. Anything else gets rejected.
If you have a rotten apple corrupting the barrel, the answer is to remove it - right? So that puts mankind at a bit of a disadvantage in his friendship with God, doesn't it?
God had to die
Not just the physical world, but the very genetic structure of everything started to unravel when we took the path of self-worship. We elected ourselves as the gods of our own destiny, with the help of the devil. In time it would lead to complete chaos and destruction, hardly the Master Plan that God intended for earth. The simple answer would be to wipe us all out and start again, but human spirits (like everything spiritual) do not "die" but continue to exist although on a different plane of existence. Billions of human spirits would be "lost" for ever, unable to return to God, unable to change their destiny, unable to know happiness and fulfillment for all eternity!!! The love of God wouldn't permit that.
How else could the problem be solved then?
Remember, there is only ONE person who is genuinely good in the way God intended.. If that Person could also become a human being, live in a fleshly body, do all the things that we should have done (on our behalf as a representative of everybody) so that God was genuinely pleased with this total submission and obedience, then to cap it all, DIE as our representative as well, the commands about putting the sinner to death would be perfectly and eternally satisfied, once and for ALL of us.
- Of course, that would mean that God himself would have to be incarnated as a human being. (check, birth of Jesus Christ)
- It would mean him living perfectly in accord with God's will, resisting every temptation of the devil, and pleasing God fully (check, life and ministry of Jesus Christ.)
- It would also mean him willingly having mankind's wrongdoing placed on him like a filthy garment, taking it to a place of death and leaving it there as a sacrifice to God (check, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ)
This alone could remove the barriers between God and man, and allow the Holy Spirit of God to come and indwell those who wanted to receive him, and be transformed into new spiritual beings able to please God.
As a matter of fact and history, we are told that, at the moment of death on that cross of crucifixion, the veil of the Jewish temple that separated the human part of worship from the God-part of the presence of God (through which no man could pass and live) ripped in two FROM TOP TO BOTTOM - in other words, God achieved what man could not do, he reached down and ripped the barrier between earth and heaven and created a "portal" through which we could freely pass to know and relate to him at last.
We could be reconciled! We could be filled with the knowledge of God, and changed! All it required was a humble admission of guilt, and the willingness to receive Jesus Christ/ the Spirit of Christ/ God as our indwelling LORD.
I wouldn't like you to think it was all simplistic and there's nothing else to knowing God than this. There's much more...but at this moment, if you have stayed with me so far, you are in a position to make a decision. Either you want to be God's or you don't.
Either you want to admit you are a flawed, fallen and hopeless person who needs help desperately, or you still think you can make a go of it by yourself.
Either you want to say sorry to God, and accept his offer of indwelling power, or you think your own human nature can get everything you need.
It's entirely YOUR CHOICE. God never forces a person to accept his love and forgiveness. The offer is there, either take it or walk away. But I pray you will spend a little time now thinking about what you read. Sit, stand, walk or kneel, it doesn't matter. But talk to God about it - he's here!
Jesus didn't just die you know. He died and rose again, as a living, real person! So he's not a dead god, an idol, a figurehead, a hero of long ago. He's ALIVE, right here and now and wanting to hear from YOU.
- In your own words, just tell him you are sorry - you know you have gone your own way and done wrong so many times.
- You are now sick and tired of trying and failing, of seeking without end, of feeling empty and worthless
- You now know that the answer doesn't lie within yourself, but only in receiving HIS NEW LIFE
- Thank him for the promise of a new start
- Thank him that he took the initiative to come and help you, even though you knew nothing about it at the time
- Tell him you want to surrender your own way, and be given a new life, new heart, new spirit - HIS spirit
- Ask him to come into you, your life, your heart, your body, mind and soul, as Lord and Master, Father and God
- Rejoice that you have been accepted into the family of God - and tell somebody about it as soon as you can.