Originally, people were referred to as Christians because they were “Christ-like.” During the last 2000 or so years, things have changed dramatically. Here are some simple steps and questions you can follow to see how you fare.
Step 1: Do you believe in God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Heaven and Hell, the Holy Bible and Satan?
If your answer is yes, go ahead and skip to step 2.
I’m assuming that you have answered no to step number 1. One of the reasons that so many people have a problem believing in any of these things is that Satan has been very successful in convincing you that both he and God don’t even exist. If you’ll stick with me for another few paragraphs, I’ll present a concept to you that will hopefully make you re-think your position and maybe change your idea(s) on the subject. When you were very young you were completely trusting and impressionable. It was during this time that your parents unwittingly helped Satan by preconditioning you to reject God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Here’s how it was done.
When you were a child, you looked forward to December 25th each year with tremendous excitement and anticipation because SANTA was coming to town and you were going to receive gifts! But let’s take a minute to examine the deliveryman who brought the gifts. He has some pretty unusual characteristics. He knows what you’ve been thinking, he knows if you’d been bad or good, he’s everywhere at once, he can see what you’re doing right now, he lives in a mystical place at the north pole where you can’t go… Wait a minute though! Strangely enough, if we check, he seems to copy almost all of the characteristics of God. But why would someone go to the trouble to create a fictitious character that emulates God? Well, let’s see.
When you were 5,6, or 7 – maybe older if you didn’t peek, you found out that Santa was a HOAX. An important point here – most of you found out yourselves, you weren’t told by your parents. You were probably called a moron by one of your friends, you peeked, or you logically deduced that the whole concept was untrue. When you did find out, you were either sad, embarrassed, or both. Most people won’t let themselves be tricked a second time, right? Now, think about that for a minute… People then tried to get you to embrace a concept of the existence of this being called God… who lives in a place called Heaven that’s unseen, who knows if you’ve been bad or good, who knows what you’re thinking… Now be honest with yourself. Has the SANTA experience possibly influenced your feelings about God and Christ and contributed to your disbelief?
By the way, regardless of who, what, when, or why that name was chosen, here’s an interesting piece of information. Lets do a letter trick by moving the “N” to the right two places…
Where did this guy come from?
In the fourth century A.D. the real St. Nicholas was the bishop of Myra, which is now situated in Turkey. According to the legend, he was a pretty impressive guy. He saved his town from starvation and is also credited with reviving three dead children. Another part of the legend says he offered gifts of dowries to poor girls. He is said to have rewarded good children with gifts and punished bad children with the rod. Some say that he died on the sixth of December in 343 AD. Supposedly, in 1087 his relics were taken to Bari, Italy. It wasn’t until much later, around the early 1900s, that Saint Nicholas mutated into an innocent looking white-bearded gentleman with rosy cheeks, a red fur-lined suit, 8 lovable fuzzy animals, and a whole group of cute little helpers with pointed ears. He also acquired all of his mystical qualities at the same time.
Let’s try this again!
Please be willing to start over again, with the mind of a young child, so you’re not cheated out of the most important thing in your life. Remember, everyone lives forever. God says so! But we all have choices to make. The most important choice you’ll ever make is where you will spend eternity and you can choose to spend eternity in Heaven rather than Hell. Never forget that Satan will always tell you some truth but will always contaminate it with a lie that will lead you down one of the many paths to Hell. Satan attacks by appealing to your pleasure centers with the goal of creating obsessive behavior and eventually death. The childhood illusion of Santa was a very pleasant experience but it was a lie then and it is still a lie! Satan is a liar and a murderer!
Atheists Have No Excuse!
God’s word is clear, there are a number of scriptures that tell the reader that they have no excuse for their failure to believe that He exists. Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse. That means that when the great white throne judgement comes and you’re standing there naked and alone, there’s no one else to blame, and no excuse for not accepting His Son Jesus Christ.
Psalms 14:1, (my favorite) The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good.
The bottom line is that the Bible is God’s word, given to mankind. If you are willing to consider that God exists, and that He created the world, then you must logically accept that everything in the Bible is true as well. God doesn’t lie! Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Heaven, Hell, and Satan are very real indeed! If you’re still not convinced, this might be the reason: 1 Corinthians 2:14 says: The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Step 2 So where does that leave you now?
Salvation (going to Heaven) is dependent on having a working relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. This doesn’t mean you know about Jesus Christ, it means you must know Him personally. Satan and his demons know who Jesus is and both recognize and fear Him, but they certainly aren’t Christians! God and Jesus expect us to have the same kind of relationship that a young child has with their father. A young child doesn’t study his parent, he sits in his father’s lap, he talks to him, loves him and is in awe of him. That is our heavenly Father’s wish for us as well.
You must understand and accept that Jesus’ death on the cross was part of God’s plan, a substitutionary sacrifice, to pay for your sin. God poured his judgement and wrath out on Jesus Christ instead of us. You must be willing to repent and ask Jesus to change your heart and life. Repentance, like salvation itself, is a gift of God. A simple description of the repentance experience that many people experience is a tremendous feeling of guilt combined with an even stronger feeling that it’s OK and you’re forgiven. It’s a realization of where you stand with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Are you just too “bad” to qualify?
God says there is NO life that Jesus cannot save. There is NO physical or mental condition that He cannot change. There is NO sin too great for Him to redeem you. He is worthy and His promises are true. But there is NO middle ground. There is NO fence you can straddle! In Luke 11:23, Jesus says: “He who is not with me is against me and he who does not gather with me, scatters.” That means that if you haven’t chosen Jesus, you have already chosen Satan. You stand condemned! You must make the choice to step out of the darkness and into the light by accepting God’s promise of eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ.
SALVATION IS SIMPLE, AND IT IS A GIFT. To receive it, however, you must first believe that you need it! Sadly, many unsaved people believe that they’re OK with God. Let me tell you friend, it you can watch an ‘R’ rated movie where people are tortured and murdered, where women are raped, or where people are taking off their clothes and having sex, YOU ARE NOT OK WITH GOD! If you lust over another person, if you’re involved in extra-marital sex, drugs, body piercing, alcohol, death metal, the occult, if you use the Lord’s name in vain, YOU ARE NOT OK WITH GOD.
God’s last name is NOT damn and Jesus Christ is ABSOLUTELY NOT an expletive! Romans 3:23 says: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The gospel or good news says that all you have to do is ask, and He will wash you clean with His shed blood, freeing you from all of your sins, and anything that binds you.
If, after reading this, you feel you may be away from God, you’re not alone. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says it all. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying it’s power. Have nothing to do with them.”
Before you convince yourself that you’re OK, you might want to check out this list of some common things that people erroneously think they or someone else can do that will get them to heaven but, according to the Holy Bible, ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT
1. Believing Jesus is the Son of God (Satan and his demons believe that)
2. Attending any church on a regular basis
3. Being a “good person”
4. Being “Less bad” than someone else you know
5. Being born into a “religious” family or church
6. Having parents that were or are Christians
7. Making contributions (tithing) to a church
8. Being a philanthropist (donating to charities)
9. Raising your hand at an altar call at church service
10. Being baptized or Christened as an infant (you must decide to accept Christ yourself)
Here’s some more of what God’s word says about you or other people doing “things” instead of accepting Jesus Christ as your PERSONAL savior – and how common it is to wrongly assume you’re on the right path:
Here’s John 14:6 Jesus answered “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So – there’s no person, behavior or ritual that will get you to heaven.
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 no man can boast. Sorry – you can’t earn it! All religions that are founded on being “good” or performing works are heresies.
Romans 10:9 says: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Don’t be misled by Satan. Christ is the way.
So, do you want to take a chance on going to Hell? Be on the safe side! If you’re not absolutely sure about your condition, why gamble on eternity? – get down on your knees and ask Jesus Christ to save you – RIGHT NOW!
Satan lost his battle 2000 years ago when he misunderstood God’s plan and allowed Jesus to be crucified. He knows he’s lost too! Now he’s trying to drag as many more souls down with him as he can. He’s the father of lies and a murderer. Don’t allow yourself to become one of his victims! Don’t be a loser in the game of eternal life. All that is required of you is to ask the Lord Jesus Christ for His forgiveness and salvation! There’s NOTHING that can exclude you and It’s FREE!!! But it’s something you have to do YOURSELF! Nobody else can do it for you!
Here’s a simple prayer that will can save you:
Dear Lord. I know that I am a sinner and I’m sorry. Please forgive me and let your precious blood, that was shed for me, cover my sins. I know that you died on the cross and were resurrected to sit at the right hand of God’s throne. I know God poured His wrath out on you instead of me, and I ask you now to speak to my heart and change my life. Make me a new creature. In Jesus’ precious and Holy name I pray – Amen.
If you just prayed that prayer, and you meant it, then God’s word says that you’re freed from Satan’s grip and the chains that bind you. You have received the gift of eternal life and have been changed from one of God’s creatures to one of His children.
There are some additional steps that are not required for your salvation but are important to your spiritual growth. Don’t forget that salvation is a gift, you didn’t and can’t earn it by works or deeds.
The first steps are to be baptized by total immersion and to start attending a Bible teaching church where you can grow spiritually and be instructed in God’s word. Remember that you are a “baby” Christian. As a new Christian you are like a tree. You should be firmly rooted in God’s word, the Bible. You will also grow in your faith, and as you grow, you will get closer to God.
Don’t try to go it alone when you can have the help of God’s army and get started on the right track. Satan will probably try to tempt you right off the bat with your favorite sin. You can almost count on it. If you hang around with the same old crowd, it will be harder to grow. Satan will use them to restrain your spiritual growth because he knows how dangerous you have become to him as one of God’s children.
Romans 6:4 says: Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Water baptism is part of the process of putting away our sinful nature. It is a physical way for us to identify with Christ. Many people who have tried but failed to overcome habitual sins have testified that they were delivered from them at the time of their baptism. Baptism IS NOT a requirement for salvation. The thief on the cross with Christ wasn’t baptized, yet he was with Him in Paradise that same day. It’s something we are told to do so why wait – Do it!
If you have become a child of God, may He bless you in your new life.
Revised November 20, 1998