BEcoming a Christian
The term that Scripture uses for being right with God is being “in covenant” with Him. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses & David all had covenants with God. A Covenant is a binding relationship between persons with mutual expectations and blessings for those involved. It is both a formal relationship and a personal relationship, like a marriage. So when we talk about being right with God, we talk about being in “Covenant Relationship” with Him.
Our Covenant Relationship, however, is much different from the Covenants of the Old Testament. Our Covenant is a Covenant of Grace. We do nothing to earn this acceptance and right relationship with God. Jesus has done all the work required by his sinless life, sacrificial death, and resurrection. By entering into a Covenant Relationship, we accept Jesus’ gift of Grace.
Just as there are parts of creating and maintaining a marriage (vows, rings, pronouncement, kiss, consummation), there are parts of creating and maintaining a Covenant Relationship with God. Scripture teaches the necessity of each part of the Covenant.
- BELIEVE. To believe means to trust in the power and the promises of God and Jesus. We trust that Jesus is who He says He is, and that He does everything He says He does. (John 3:16; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8)
- REPENT. To repent means to make a U-turn in life – to stop living our sinful way and start living God’s righteous way. (Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 20:21)
- CONFESS. To confess means to publicly acknowledge our faith in Jesus’ power and promises. (Romans 10:9; 2 Timothy 2:19)
- BE BAPTIZED. To be baptized means to be immersed in water in Jesus’ name, uniting us to Jesus’ death, burial, & resurrection so that we can live a new life for God. (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21)
- OBEY. To obey means to follow God’s commands everyday. We live each day in Covenant Relationship with God as we are being transformed into Christlikeness for God’s glory. (John 8:51; Hebrews 5:9; 1 John 3:24)
By entering into a covenant relationship, Scripture tells us that we specifically receive two things that allow us to have a right standing before God:
- FORGIVENESS. Forgiveness means that God lets go of the sins that have separated us from Him, and God expects us to let go of the sins that separate others from us. (Matthew 6:14-15; Colossians 3:13)
- The HOLY SPIRIT. We receive Jesus’ Spirit to guide us in our new life and to gift us for service in His Church. (Galatians 5:22-25; 1 Corinthians 12:7)
It is through these parts that we enter in and live in a Covenant Relationship with God through Jesus’ Grace.