It was Palm Sunday last week and a Christian got to meet with some other Christians who wanted to verify that the said Christian was indeed Christian… I’ll spare you the details.
So I told my friends, “you would be surprised whom you will meet in heaven.” And the thought followed: “While you might think that you’ve got it right more than others, ‘there are 7000 other prophets who did not bow to Baal’.” Meaning that your ‘revelation’ is more common than you think.
What I’ve come to understand from the little I’ve read in the Bible about becoming Christian follows. Read and make your own choice.
There’s the slightly abstract but still clear John 3:13-18:
13-15 “No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man. In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.
16-18 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son
merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. (MSG)
With the practical realisation in Romans 10:9-10 (I quote verses 4-10 mixing translations):
(MSG 4) The earlier revelation was intended simply to get us ready for the Messiah, who then puts everything right for those who trust him to do it. (PHILLIPS 4,5) For Christ means the end of the struggle for righteousness-by-the-Law for everyone who believes in him. Moses writes [in Leviticus 18:5] of righteousness-by-the-Law [with all its intricate demands] when he says that ‘the man who does those things shall live by them’—which is theoretically right but impossible in practice. (AMP 6-10) But the righteousness based on faith [which produces a right relationship with Him] says the following: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into Heaven?’ that is, to bring Christ down; or, ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ that is, to bring Christ up from the dead [as if we had to be saved by our own efforts, doing the impossible].” But what does it say? “The word
is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word [the message, the basis] of faith which we preach—because if you acknowledge and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [recognizing His power, authority, and majesty as God], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart a person believes [in Christ as Savior] resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous—being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses [his faith openly], resulting in and confirming [his]
(MSG 8-10) It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he
did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!”
To get some perspective on how this works, Romans 1:19 says that righteousness of God is revealed in the Good News (Gospel), and it is effected on the principle of faith, as it is written that the just shall live by faith. You’ve got to believe it for it to become your reality.
In Ephesians 2:8,9, we are reminded that we “are saved by grace, through faith; and this not of (y)ourselves; it is God’s gift: not on the principle of works [deeds], that no one might boast. Essentially, we get there on the back of believing.
Then 1 Peter 1:23 tells us that the Word (the forgoing) is sure to take effect and make one born again: “being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the living and abiding word of God.”
So that’s all there is to it really, I’d like to think. I hope that settles it for you.
This is the significance of the Easter holidays, when we commemorate Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection; it marks the opening of the door to the true and literal son-ship of God that we have come to share with Christ Jesus, being Christian. The Book of John talks
a lot about this. And the book of Romans explains how/why it works, and how that it should result in corresponding action.
Have a beautiful and meaningful holidays.
All quotes are from the J.N. Darby translation except otherwise signified.
The Message (MSG); J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS); Amplified Bible (AMP): accessed through www.biblegateway.com