Front Page
Series Contents
Series Theme:  Being a Christian

































































Title:   2. Becoming a Christian


A page that faces wrong ideas about being a Christian and explains what happens to become a Christian



1. Why are you here?

Why are you reading this page? Presumably because you wonder about the Christian faith and you wonder about what it means to be a Christian. On this page we'll cover the following things:

- Popular Misconceptions
- How you become a Christian
- How you live as a Christian


2. Popular Misconceptions.

The following are some of the most common misconceptions about being a Christian:

a) You are a Christian if you have Christian parents.

No, Christianity cannot be inherited. You have to choose to become a Christian yourself.

It is a decision you have to make for yourself and no one else can make it for you.

b) You are a Christian if you live in a "Christian" country.

No, because there is no such thing as a "Christian country".

There may be a country were some people are Christians and there may be countries where the bulk of the ethics or laws have a Christian heritage, but you still have to choose to become a Christian.

c) A Christian is a "Good" person.

No, quite to the contrary, a Christian knows they are not a good person.

That's how they became a Christian! A Christian's starting place is knowing what they are really like, and knowing that they need God's help!

d) A Christian is someone who works at being good.

Well there is a half truth here. Christians do ask God to change them more into what He wants for them, and they will seek to learn the things that Jesus Christ and then his subsequent followers taught as found in the New Testament.

However a Christian knows that without God's help they will never be "good".

e) Christianity is just another world religion.

No, Christianity is unique among world religions.

In no other world believe system is there the belief that God himself has come and lived in human form, died by public execution and then rose from the dead.

In no other religion is 'salvation' GIVEN to you freely.

f) Christianity is just a collection of myths and human ideas.

No, Christianity is founded in historical fact.

Go to the page about Easter to see some more about this, or the pages about whether you can believe the Bible, to see that you can trust the book and what is in it.

g) Christianity is just escapism.

If you mean escaping from a pointless, self-centred existence that is self-destructive and harmful to others and has no hope for an eternal future, yes, you're absolutely right!

But actually most Christians didn't become a Christian for this reason; they just found that these were some of the spin-offs when they received God's love through Jesus Christ.


3. How you become a Christian.

The following tend to be the stages that people go through in becoming a Christian. For some this happens very quickly, for others it may happen over a long period of time.

a) They come to the end of themselves

Nobody becomes a Christian who is content with their existing life.

The reality is that most people become Christians through a crisis. It may be something that has built up within them over a long period, it may be something they've only just become aware of, but they realise that they are not happy with themselves.

No, the truth is that most people don't feel good about themselves, but they cover it up or compensate for it in a variety of ways.

Some people try to be religious. Some people try to work out big goals for themselves.

In the West self-fulfilment, self-achievement, self-improvement are big industries.

However, all of these things focus on self, and eventually followers of self (if they dare be honest with themselves) realise they are bankrupt on the inside and life feels pointless, despite possible great achievements.

Ultimately self-seeking is destructive. Christians are those who have come to that awareness.

b) They realise they need help - from God!

Help in today's Western world comes in many different forms.

We have professionals in many different guises: doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, life-skills mentors, social workers.... and so on.

In their own realms they do good jobs and we are helped. But there is still a spiritual vacuum which they are unable deal with.

So today many people turn to New Age remedies, but they are still self-centred remedies.

For more on these things, go to the pages on the Occult.

They provide a deceptive panacea. It is deceptive because it appears to work, but in reality creates more problems than it resolves.

No, the Christian is someone who has realised that all these remedies and helps are self-centred and as such they fail. We need help that takes our eyes completely off ourselves.

c) They've heard about and come to believe in Jesus Christ.

Now you'll have to go to other pages on this site to see more about Jesus, but suffice to say on this page that he was God in human form.

He clearly declared who he was, proved it by the perfect life he lived, the death he died and his resurrection from the dead.

The New Testament of the Bible teaches that Jesus (as the eternal Son of God) died in your place and mine, as a criminal - even though his life had been perfect and blameless - to stand in and take the capital punishment that all the multitudinous guilts we accumulate through life, scream we deserve.

Christians come to a point where they say, OK, if that's what God says in the Bible, I believe it.

If God is offering me forgiveness for my faults, my failings, my inadequacies, all the things the Bible lumps under the one heading "Sin", then I want it.

d) They ask for forgiveness and for a new life

They've come to the end of themselves, they've seen they need help, they've seen that that help being offered is in the form of what Jesus Christ did.

They surrender and say, yes, I want this, please forgive me. I've blown it so far, please help me, I need a new life, there's no point in just going on like this!

e) They are changed!

Now that seems too simple and it's open to misunderstanding. You may think this just means 'turning over a new leaf' or 'trying harder'. No it's not that at all.

What happens is what Jesus described as "being born again". Now you didn't have any say in your original birth. It just happened to you. Now the best you can do for this spiritual rebirth is to ask for it. Beyond that you're powerless.

When you do genuinely come to the end of yourself, and you do genuinely realise you've blown it and need God's help and forgiveness, and you do understand just the basics of Jesus dying in your place, THEN God steps in an does a number of things.


i) declares you forgiven

ii) declares you are now His adopted child

iii) gives you a new power source.

It is that last item that brings the reality to the other two and suddenly opens up a new level of intimacy with God.

Millions and millions of people down through the last two thousand years, as they have come to this point, have testified, "I'm different!" and that has said it all!

Suddenly there is a new relationship, suddenly there is a new power, suddenly there is a new purpose, suddenly - everything is changed!

If this has never happened to you, it may sound strange, but that's how it happens.


4. How you live as a Christian.

Do you start living by a new set of rules? No. You start living out a relationship.

What has just happened is that you have just entered into a living relationship with God. There are likely to be four areas where things will change:


a) A Desire to Learn.

Something has happened but you only partly understood it. You probably have a desire to learn.
Most new Christians start reading the Bible. Get a modern version and perhaps start reading the Gospels in the New Testament to learn about Jesus.
There's a whole new world to learn about. There's a whole new life to learn about.


b) A Desire to talk to God.

A relationship means communication. Feeling thankful? Thank God. Feeling anxious? Ask God.
That's what Christians call prayer - it's just talking to God. You can talk to Him whenever you like, wherever you like, and about whatever you like.

c) A Desire to meet with those who are like-minded.

The new Christian realises that they have just become part of a family, the family of God.

There's a whole load of people out there who have experienced what you've just experienced. They are called "church".

Church is not a building or an organisation; it is simply all the Christians.

The trouble is that when these Christians come together they express their corporate spiritual life in different ways.

Some are all very formal, others of us are very informal. Some sing songs together, some don't.

The new Christian looks for a gathering of these Christians where they feel comfortable.

d) A Desire to Change.

You've just come from a crisis point where you realised that the way you had been previously, fell far short of what you sensed it could be.

You're now in a major learning curve. Your new family will help you, but mostly it is God who will help you.

Don't stand still. Don't settle for inactivity. Ask God to teach you and guide you and change you.

His plan and purpose for your life is the best. If you're not certain about the depth of His love for you yet, go and read the pages entitled "God's Love for You". You are loved!


5. And So?

We hope we have been able to provide some answers to the questions you had, that brought you to this page.

Those who read this page may be at a variety of places along the path of the seeker:

a) You may be only vaguely interested.

    OK, don't let the interest wane. Go on searching, asking questions, looking.

    Read some of the other pages on this site (all of them!). Keep looking.

b) You are beginning to be stirred.

    Yes, you're some way along the path, but you know you've still got some way to go yet. Why not go back over this page and take it in again.

    Check out some of the other pages. Why not get hold of a modern Bible and start slowly reading through, say Mark's Gospel, and see what it says to you.

c) You've arrived at crisis point.

    You've heard it all. You know this is for you. This is action time. Don't walk away from this screen without doing something about it.

    Go back up to the "How you become a Christian" section, read it through and pray what you need to pray.

    Confess to God where you're at. Ask for His forgiveness. Confirm you want the Jesus stuff to be for you.

   Ask God to give you a new life and to lead you from now on. Surrender to Him, and receive all the wonder of His love.

Be blessed, wherever you are in your pilgrimage.