YOUR BIGGEST DECISION
How do I become a Christian?
(Revised 2020 Edition)
Here is something you alone can decide—for yourself. Was history divided into B.C. and A.D. by a con-man or a Savior? For Jesus Christ is either the world’s most fantastic liar or exactly what He claimed to be—the only way to God!
If you decide He speaks true, then you should consider His offer to save you. If you decide He lies, then why not forget spiritual matters entirely? No one else as impressive has appeared in history. Savior or liar? That’s the real issue. Listen to His claim:
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).
He is either the only way to God or a ridiculous liar! You shouldn’t have too much trouble deciding which. Can you? Good.
A PERSON IS SPEAKING
Sure, you are reading this, but those words of Jesus are alive. Imagine if you will, that He is with you right now speaking them to you personally. That changes the character of this presentation. Later on you will see why.
For the moment, a Person is saying to you, “I am the life. I am the only way to God.” And you have decided He is no liar. See what this does? You are no longer thinking of a doctrine or teaching. You are listening to a living Person. That is the sweet privilege of one’s imagination. It is possible to do this. You often picture loved ones speaking to you this way, don’t you? Now hear Him speak about “the life.”
“For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself”
Now that’s intriguing. He says the very life of God is in Him. Now hear that voice in your imagination. The Person with you claims to hold the gift of eternal life. He offers it to you:
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
Isn’t that precious? That is why He is speaking to you now. He is offering you God’s own life—that is what makes it eternal. But now we must move carefully. It would be so easy to make a mistake.
Please note that the Bible calls this life everlasting life. You have head this before, I am sure:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Sound familiar? Possessing this life is salvation. A person cannot be saved apart from having this life. This is probably the clearest announcement in the Bible. Therefore, if life is in the Person of Jesus Christ, how are you going to get it? When we answer that, you will know exactly what it takes for you to be saved and go to heaven. Shall we get down to business?
A BUSINESS QUESTION
What does it take to be a millionaire? Money, you say. Yes, but could you be a bit more specific?
“A million dollars.”
Right. And if one must have a million dollars to be a millionaire, what must one have to be a Christian? Can you tell me in one word?
Good for you. You catch on fast. But did you notice that I asked what one must HAVE? That word HAVE is the key. Watch it jump out of this Bible verse:
“He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life”
(1 John 5:12).
You have just become aware of something many people miss. Listen again to the Person with you and consider that it is His own Life He is offering. An amazing question rocks you. Can you reach out and take His life from Him? No, taking another’s life is murder. Can He remove His life from Himself and give it to you? No, that is suicide. How then?
Somehow the life will have to be shared between the two of you. That seems reasonable. But again, how? Here it comes. The only way you can share His life with Him is to receive Him. It’s logical.
Life is IN Him
You must HAVE Him
Therefore, you must RECEIVE Him.
Is it clearer? It is getting that way, isn’t it? This is the big truth that separates Christianity from the religions of the world. Did you ever study them? They all have one thing in common. They ask people to embrace doctrines, accept systems, codes, creeds, and ways of life. Essentially, they all want people to believe something. Whereas the Bible asks men to receive Someone.
THERE IS A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BELIEVING SOMETHING AND RECEIVING SOMEONE!
One is scarcely more than an opinion, the other—an experience!
BUT RECEIVING A PERSON?
Yes. Right now you are beholding Him in your imagination. Naturally, He is not there in a body. If He were with you, in a physical body, you couldn’t receive Him. That’s obvious, isn’t it? But in an unseen, non-physical form, He is available.
It is because He is unseen, (actually in the Spirit), that He can share His life with you. In one place in the Bible, He is called the “Life-giving Spirit.” In the Spirit, He is able to enter right into your life. Yes, that’s how it is done. Just because you can’t see Him, it doesn’t make Him any less real. He is as real as electricity. You can’t see that either, but you don’t question its reality when you take hold of the wire!
Your imagination is doing its highest work now—giving form and presence to the unseen Savior. That’s what it is for, really. Within your heart you feel the witness of His presence. Something tells you it is true. It’s not merely because these words are written here. No. It is because the unseen Lord impressed it upon you. You couldn’t explain it right now if you tried, but you know He is alive!
WHY SHOULD I RECEIVE CHRIST?
Take a look at yourself. What do you see? A nice person? A sinner? If you are not ready to go that far, let me ask:
Have you ever told a lie in all your life?
“Yes. Who hasn’t.”
Well then, how many lies does it take to make a liar?
“Wow! Just one, I guess.”
Right. If you rob one bank, you are a bank robber. If you steal one car, you are a car thief. Tell one lie, you are a liar. Are you convinced? Maybe not.
God says everyone is a sinner:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Think of Jesus. With the spotless Savior there with you, can you say you are as good and kind and generous, as holy, as honest and faithful as He?
“Of course not?”
You cringe, don’t you, at the thought of being compared with Him? Why? It is because you have come from a long line of sinners. Everybody is included in that “ALL have sinned.” We are all in the same boat. The human race is made up of sinners. But that is why you are interested in Christ, isn’t it? Come on, admit it. You will feel better if you do.
Besides, can you save yourself? No one can. Imagine a brain surgeon trying to give himself an anesthetic and then climbing on the operating table to remove a tumor from his own brain! Ridiculous? Sure. So is any thought of a sinner trying to make himself righteous. It is just as funny. We all need the Savior, because we are sinners.
WHAT IF I DON’T?
You can ask that. It’s okay. The Savior will answer:
“Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).
Those are strong words. To die in one’s sins means that those evils which plague men in this life, follow them. Imagine spending an eternity with lustfulness and hatreds. For lusting men will die in those lusts and continue to lust and lust, and there will never be any satisfaction. It is the same with greed and guilts. That is what makes Hell, hell. Any thinking person wants to be saved from that.
That is what it means to die without the Savior—Hell. The continuation of evil makes death a vicious enemy. But those are the wages of sin. Yes, our sins earn wages for us:
“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
You have heard that, I know. And to die in one’s sins is horrible—unthinkable. Remember you asked, “What if I don’t?” God’s answer is blunt and rough:
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life: but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him forever” (John 3:36).
To be saved, you must be saved from something. Now you know what it is. Fleeing this indescribable fate and wanting Christ to deliver you from it, is a genuine move toward salvation.
WHAT WILL IT COST ME?
Nothing. You see, I didn’t finish the verse above in Romans:
“For the wages of sin is death, BUT the free GIFT of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord”
Now you cannot work for a gift, can you?
This means you don’t get the gift by being good or bad or through works of any kind. Neither by going to church or being baptized or anything else. All you can do with a gift is take it or leave it, accept it or reject it, right?
“Yes, that figures, if it is a gift.”
Now notice where the gift is. It is IN A PERSON. See those words there: “In Jesus Christ our Lord.” We have already noted how the life cannot be separated from Him. One must HAVE Him. So since the life is in Him, Jesus is the gift. The Person of Christ is the real gift God offers you. Now you are ready to consider this gift for yourself.
IF IT’S FREE, I’LL TAKE IT!
Good. I am delighted with your decision. It is the biggest one you will ever make. But let’s be sure one thing is clear to you.
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God”
Receiving Christ is a genuine transaction. It is not the same thing as accepting a doctrine or believing a truth. Jesus is not a doctrine. He is a living Person. And unless you do business with Him, “person to Person,” you could end up with nothing but religious theory. Let me illustrate.
Suppose I am standing there in front of you, and I bring a $5.00 bill out of my wallet. I hold it out to you as a gift. But you just stand there and think about it. Do you have the money then?
Suppose you theorize and wonder and finally come to the conclusion I really mean the offer. Do you have the money then?
Finally, you reach out your hand and take it. See, that is different. You did something besides believing my offer. Now you have it, and you know that you have it. See the point? You had to act. You had to reach out your hand and take the $5.00 in order to receive the gift. And so it is with Jesus. Receiving Him is something you DO, not merely something you BELIEVE. Remember the verse:
“He that has the Son has life and he that has not the Son, has not life”
(1 John 5:12).
It is that simple. You either have Christ or you don’t. And one must receive Him in order to HAVE Him. Clear?
HOW DO I RECEIVE HIM?
Right now you can see Him in your imagination. Fine. Very quietly then listen for His voice. You will feel it coming from way down inside as you absorb His words:
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).
That is the Savior’s way of presenting Himself to you. He is knocking at the door right now.
The door of your heart. Yes, there is a door there. We all live behind doors. Just as you would open the door of your house to admit a friend, so must you also open the door of your heart to admit Jesus. This is a definite act—the transaction I mentioned a while ago.
You see, He will not force His way into your life. He wants an invitation. Even though He is the Lord of all glory, the Maker of heaven and earth, He will not kick that door down and shove His way into your heart. He stands there as if He has no power at all. He wants you to open the door and receive Him. He comes as a loving friend.
If I came over to your house and knocked at the door and wanted to come in, what would you say?
“I would say, ‘come in.’”
All right then, the Lord Jesus is waiting to come into your heart (life) right now. Will you open the door? Will you let Him in?
“Yes, I will.”
(Get to a place where you can be alone.)
You are alone now. Maybe you have never talked with the Savior before. He does not care about that. He has waited a long time for this moment. You stammer. Perhaps you cry. But you begin. . .
“Dear Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner. I need your forgiveness and I want your life for my own. I will give you mine for what is it worth. I here and now open my heart to You. I now put my trust in you as my personal Savior. Amen.”
It is over. What happened inside you? Did a bomb go off? Maybe, for some it is like that. Others notice very little. But one thing is sure, the burden of sin is gone. It is as though a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders. The “wages of sin” no longer threaten you. You have been saved from hell and you know it.
But you did not hear anything. No sound struck your ears. You did not experience anything sensational. But check again. Something new has been added. Something you did not have before.
“What is it?”
Something you can really put your finger on—PEACE. That peace which comes when one has been forgiven. It is real. The same peace that follows a battle. Yes, the war between you and God is over. There is peace now, and you feel that.
I will ask you a question.
Did you really mean it when you asked Jesus to come into your heart? As best you were able, you opened your heart to Him. Right?
“Yes, I really meant it.”
What did He say He would do if you would open the door?
“He said He would come into my heart.”
Is He a liar?
“No, He’s no liar.”
Then where is He?
“He’s in my heart.”
Great. You can rest on that. That is how you know you are saved. You have done what God asked you to do, and He cannot lie. He is in your heart regardless of any lack of feeling. The only way you could not be saved now, is for God to be a liar. But you settled that at the beginning, didn’t you? Now you are as safe as God is True!
By C. S. Lovett © 1964, 2020
Revision edited by D. L. Hettema
Other helpful mini ebooks to read by C. S. Lovett, after you have made “your biggest decision,” are Beginning to Live and Lovett's Light's on First John. See them listed on the menu bar of this website under mini ebooks.