How to Become a Follower of Jesus
How does a person become a Christian? Plenty of opinions abound in answer to this question. Some say that living a moral life makes a person a Christian. Others declare that joining a church or being baptized makes a person a Christian.
Still others call for a person to “make a decision” or “pray the prayer” or “ask Jesus into your heart.” While opinions may be important, the one vital thing when speaking of becoming a Christian is what does God say about this in His Word?
God has given His Word – the Bible – to reveal Himself, His purpose for man, and the way to know Him personally. Everything a person needs to know about becoming a Christian can be found in God s Word. As God gives a person understanding of the gospel (the good news of how God, in Christ has provided salvation for man), then that person can come to the point of genuine faith in Jesus Christ and, consequently, become a Christian.
The first place to begin in understanding salvation (or becoming a Christian) is with God.
Who is God anyway?
What is God like?
What does God demand of me?
Unless a person has a basic understanding of God, then his understanding of the gospel will be faulty and unbalanced.
The Bible tells us that God is One, yet He reveals Himself to us in Three Persons. This is called the Trinity. Hear, 0 Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! (Deuteronomy 6:4). Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18; see also John 5:17-27 where Jesus, the Son, shows His equality with the Father and John 14:16-17 where Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit being another which means “another of the same kind,” that is, totally equal with the Son and Father). God is not three Gods, but one God who has revealed Himself in three Persons who are equal in character, glory, and power: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), God the Holy Spirit.
1. God is Creator
As the Creator, everything that exists has been made by God. God Himself designed, initiated, and brought about the creation of the entire universe. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth….And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him: male and female He created them (Genesis 1:1, 27). The Bible further clarifies that Jesus Christ as God not only made everything, but everything in creation was made for Him! For by Him all things were created, the heavens, and on earth, visible and invisible, whether or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been by Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16).
2. God is Spirit
When Jesus was teaching a woman about God and how to worship Him, He made this statement: God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24). God is spirit describes God’s essence, that is, Who He is. As spirit, God is far above man who is limited by hands, feet, and all the other aspects of humanity. As spirit, God cannot be worshipped by any form of idols (Exodus 20:4-6), nor can He be subject to decay, or loss, or corruption, or any other thing that afflicts man. God is the purest, simplest, most basic Being in the universe, that is why He said, You shall have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3).
3. God sees and knows all things
The word used to describe this is God’s omniscience, that is, there are no surprises with God. This is what is called an attribute of God. He knows everything about a person, how he will live his life, what his innermost motives and thoughts are at any given time. This means that God sees everything in a person’s life, the good as well as the evil. Nothing is hidden from Him. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:13; see also Romans 11:33-36)
4. God is Holy
More than any word, the Bible uses the word holy to describe God. As One Who is holy, God is utterly pure, totally without any kind of blame or error, absolutely free from sin in every respect. Because He is holy, God is quite different from man who is described as a sinner. Holiness not only conveys what is missing from God, that is, sin, but also what is in God. Holiness is a positive characteristic describing the uniqueness of God. Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory (Isaiah 6:3). Holiness can be described as pure light with no mixture of darkness. And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all (I John 1:5; see also I Timothy 6:16 and I Peter 1:16).
5. God is righteous and just
Everything God does is absolutely right and proper. He never makes an assumption or an unjust accusation toward man. His righteousness and justice has its roots in His holiness. Because God is holy, He therefore can only do that which is right. His actions toward mankind are just and righteous. He never carries out any act toward man that is not first rooted in His holy character. His perfection is seen in His acts of righteousness and justice. The Psalmist writes, God is a righteous judge…. and the heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is judge (Psalms 7:11; 50:6). God’s justice is described in Exodus 34:7, …yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished…. God’s righteousness and justice demand that He deal with sin and disobedience. For God to overlook such unholy acts would be to negate His righteousness, which is impossible to do.
6. God is Judge
Because of Who God is and because of His character and attributes, He of necessity is the Judge of the universe. Everyone must stand before Him to give an account. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy… (James 4:12). God’s judgment is sure, accurate, just, and severe. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20). Even those who have not attended church and been under the Bible’s teaching have enough natural revelation about God to know that He is to be honored with obedience. Consequently, all men are under the severity of divine wrath because of the sinfulness of mankind.
7. God is love
After seeing God’s righteousness, justice, and judgment, it might appear to be a contradiction to say that God is love. Yet the Bible is very clear that He is a God of absolute, pure love. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (I John 4:7-10; see also John 3:16). God loves the individual, though not for what he can do for God (because man can do nothing for God Who Himself is wholly self-existent). Instead, God loves man because that is God’s nature. It is impossible for Him not to love. Yet, His love never contradicts His justice. His love is active and selfless, giving to man out of the abundance of His grace even though man does not deserve anything that God gives.
THINK IT OVER
1. If someone asks you, ‘Who is God?” how will you answer him?
2. Do the names the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit describe three Gods or one God? Can you think of some Scripture passages to back up your answer?
3. Name at least three attributes of God and show where these attributes are found in the Bible.
4. Explain what is meant by God being righteous and just. How does this affect mankind?
5. Give some examples of how God has shown His love to you. What is the ultimate expression of God’s love to you?