Page updated 28 September 2018
How to Become a Christian
Writer: Billy Graham | billygraham.org
The central theme of the Bible is God's love for you and for all people. This love was revealed when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world as a human being, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead. Because Christ died, your sins can be forgiven, and because He conquered death you can have eternal life. You can know for sure what will become of you after you die.
You have probably heard the story of God's love referred to as the "Gospel." The word Gospel simply means "Good News." The Gospel is the Good News that, because of what Christ has done, we can be forgiven and can live forever.
But this gift of forgiveness and eternal life cannot be yours unless you willingly accept it. God requires an individual response from you. The following verses from the Bible show God's part and yours in this process:
God's Love Is Revealed in the Bible
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.John 3 (KJV) verse 16
God loves you. He wants to bless your life and make it full and complete. And He wants to give you a life which will last forever, even after you experience physical death.
We Are Sinful
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 (NIV)For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.Romans 3 (KJV) verse 23
You may have heard someone say, "I'm only human -- nobody's perfect." This Bible verse says the same thing: We are all sinners. We all do things that we know are wrong. And that's why we feel estranged from God -- because God is holy and good, and we are not.
Sin Has a Penalty
Just as criminals must pay the penalty for their crimes, sinners must pay the penalty for their sins. If you continue to sin, you will pay the penalty of spiritual death: You will not only die physically; you will also be separated from our holy God for all eternity. The Bible teaches that those who choose to remain separated from God will spend eternity in a place called hell.
Christ Has Paid Our Penalty!
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NIV)But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5 (KJV) verse 8
The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, has paid the penalty for all your sins. You may think you have to lead a good life and do good deeds before God will love you. But the Bible says that Christ loved you enough to die for you, even when you were rebelling against Him.
Salvation Is a Free Gift
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)(verse 8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:
(verse 9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.Ephesians 2 (KJV) verses 8-9
The word grace means "undeserved favor." It means God is offering you something you could never provide for yourself: forgiveness of sins and eternal life, God's gift to you is free. You do not have to work for a gift. All you have to do is joyfully receive it, Believe with all your heart that Jesus Christ died for you!
Christ Is at Your Heart's Door
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20 (NIV)Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.Revelation 3 (KJV) verse 20
Jesus Christ wants to have a personal relationship with you. Picture, if you will, Jesus Christ standing at the door of your heart (the door of your emotions, intellect and will). Invite Him in; He is waiting for you to receive Him into your heart and life.
You Must Receive Him
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12 (NIV)But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name.John 1 (KJV) verse 12
When you receive Christ into your heart you become a child of God, and have the privilege of talking to Him in prayer at any time about anything. The Christian life is a personal relationship to God through Jesus Christ. And best of all, it is a relationship that will last for all eternity.
Taken from Your Christian Life 1965, 1968, as Aids to Christian Living, 1986 as Practical Steps in Christian Living, 1995 as Beginning Your Christian Life, 1997 as Your Christian Life, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.