Can You Tell Me. . .

What is a Christian?

 Have you ever tried to explain to a person how to get to heaven? Going to church, being baptized, reading the Bible, praying, joining a church, giving money––all these are things a Christian does––but they are not means of getting to heaven.

And Indian is not an Indian because he rides a horse or sleeps in a teepee or lives on an Indian reservation; he is an Indian because he was born into an Indian family. A Christian is the same way; he is a Christian because he has been born into the family of Christ. Jesus said, "Jesus answered and said to him, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God'" (John 3:3).*

A person is married when he receives another person as his marriage partner; the acceptance and commitment of "I do" binds them together into a mutual union. In the same way a person is a Christian when he receives Jesus Christ, accepting with an "I do" what He offers. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12). His Name is Jesus "because He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).

When you understand what a Christian is, you must face three important questions. The first is "Why does a person need to become a Christian?" Have you ever felt inward guilt over doing what you knew was wrong? Everyone has! It is that inner wrongness that offends the excellent rightness, the glory of God. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). God has promised to judge sin with separation from His presence, which the Bible calls "death." "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—" (Romans 5:12). We need to become Christians because sin separates us from God and we need to be rescued from His judgment of death. "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

The second question is, "How does becoming a Christian help?" Since sin is the problem we need to get rid of it. Most people think they can just start being good and do the right thing-but if we are honest with ourselves we know that even when we really try to be good we still do things that we know are wrong. The problem is too big for us, so God has helped us by sending His Son to die as our substitute. God Himself put on a human body and Jesus-who was sinless because He was God in the flesh-suffered on the cross in our place for our sins. "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. . . But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8).

The third question is "When can I become a Christian?" The answer is right now! If you understand what you need and what God has done for you through Jesus Christ, then now you can become a Christian. Just as a person becomes married by saying "I do" to his partner, so you can become a Christian the moment you say, "I do" to Jesus Christ. Do you believe and trust in God's promise to forgive the sin of those who accept Jesus as their substitute? The Bible says: "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. . . for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:9-10, 13). Your "I do" can make you a child of God. Will you accept God's offer of His free gift of eternal life-right now? This is the only way to go to heaven.

If you have questions about eternal life, or if you have just now believed on Christ and asked Him to become your personal Savior, please call or visit:

* Scriptures used by permission. Unless otherwise noted “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB."

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