Christianity is something more than just another religious system created by the social demands of a culture. Because there are so many counterfeits, we often find it hard to discover the truth. Many religious groups claim to be "Christian" but have no allegiance to the Bible's basic teachings concerning Jesus Christ. Yet Christ is, in fact, the founder and central focus of all that Christianity is.

Perhaps you are seriously considering becoming a Christian, or have recently become one. This booklet will, I hope, help you understand what a Christian is and what a Christian should believe and do.

Even if you've been a Christian for some time, you may find a walk through the issues of this booklet extremely helpful. Here you can evaluate once again whether you are adhering to the truth about Christianity, or have instead come to accept a substitute or diluted message because of wrong teachings or lifestyles.

Common Misunderstandings

Let's first identify common misunderstandings about Christianity, and examine them in the light of what the Bible teaches.

What Must Genuine Christians Believe?

Setting aside the misunderstandings, let's take a close look at what the Bible teaches all Christians must believe in order to deserve the name.

How Do You Become a Christian?

Becoming a Christian is really quite simple. In fact, many people are amazed at how simple it really is. Jesus taught that even a child could become a Christian. Some people try to make it difficult, others stumble over its simplicity.

How, then, do you become a Christian? As we answer this, we will also be answering a companion question: How can you know you are a Christian?

No issue troubles people more than yielding control of their lives to Jesus Christ. One can be exposed to Christian faith and practice all his life, and yet fail to make a personal commitment to Jesus and taste the abundant life He offers. Being around food all day without taking a bite of it will not satisfy your hunger! You may intellectually agree with the facts of the Gospel and appreciate all that Christians believe about Christ, but have you committed your life and future to him?

This is not the same as joining a church or being baptized, as important as those matters may be.

The Bible uses many different words to describe this personal commitment to Jesus Christ.

    "To as many as received Him" - John 1:12
    "Repent therefore and be converted" - Acts 3:19
    "The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul" - Acts 16:14
    "Believe on the Lord Jesus" - Acts 16:31
    "Some of them were persuaded " - Acts 17:4
    "You obeyed from the heart" - Romans 6:17
    "If you confess with your mouth" - Romans 10:9
    "By grace you have been saved through faith" - Ephesians 2:8
    "You turned to God" - I Thessalonians 1:9
    "I have committed to Him" - II Timothy 1: 12
    "Enter that rest" - Hebrews 4:11
    "Let us draw near with a true heart" - Heb. 10:22
    "You have tasted that the Lord is gracious" - I Peter 2:3
    "If anyone hears My voice and opens the door" - Revelation 3:20

The important issue in all these passages is that the individual makes the commitment; it is not made for him.

Have you made this commitment? If not, why not stop reading at this point, and in the privacy of your own heart, between you and God, commit your life and future to Jesus Christ!

Perhaps a simple prayer like this could guide you:

Lord, I confess that I am a sinner and cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus Christ is both God and man and that He paid for all my sins when He died on the cross. I believe He rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and will one day come back again. I now commit my life to Jesus Christ, trusting Him alone as my Savior. Thank you so much for loving me and saving me.
In Jesus' name, Amen.

What Happens When You Become a Christian?

Will you hear bells and thunder, and see flashes of lightning in the sky? Normally, no! You might sense feelings of peace and joy and a new beginning, but these feelings are not the barometer of salvation and new life in Christ.

There are, however, certain facts that take place the moment you commit yourself to Christ, regardless of how you feel, or whether or not you are aware of them.

This may sound strange to you, because you cannot actually see it happen, but when you become a Christian, the Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in your body. Paul writes in I Corinthians 6:19, "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?"

He adds in Romans 8:9, "If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." Obviously, it's pretty important to have the Holy Spirit in you.

The Holy Spirit is an endless resource for Christians to rely on. He will help you overcome sinful habits and practices (Galatians 5:16), and produce wonderful attitudes and experiences in you (Galatians 5:22-23). At times, you will feel the struggle between the Holy Spirit within you and your selfish nature and impulses (Galatians 5:17). Don't panic when this happens. It is a good sign that you have become a Christian. Realize that a spiritual battle will often be fought in your heart between selfish desires and spiritual priorities and goals.

As we obey what the Bible teaches on these matters and rely on the Holy Spirit's power and control, we will triumph over sin and win great freedom.

What about Feelings?

Some days you will not "feel" like a Christian; that doesn't mean you aren't one. Did you put your faith in what the Bible teaches concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Then you are saved, no matter how you feel. In I John 5:9-13, we learn about assurance about knowing for sure that we are Christians and have eternal life. This assurance is based on "the witness of God which He has testified of His Son" (5:9). This testimony is found in the Bible, which is God's word. We can "know" we have eternal life if we rely upon the Bible (5:13).

You may find it helpful to memorize a few of these verses in I John 5, especially 11-13. They may come in handy when you start to doubt what has happened to you. Remember, the devil's tactics include casting doubts in your mind about your faith in Jesus Christ.

How to Get Started Right

All babies need to grow-and that includes spiritual babies! Here are a few things you can start doing to grow in your understanding and maturity as a Christian.