How to Become a Follower of Jesus Christ
Some may label this as becoming a Christian and you’ll get no argument from us, but the term “follower of Christ” is simply more descriptive and easier to understand. Today the word ‘Christian’ can get misused, but it truly means a follower of Christ. We follow Him. We follow His teachings, we adjust our lives to conform to His character and we do what He said to do in the Scriptures. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and He never changes. So how do you become a follower of Christ? If you clicked on this link, you may have done that because you recognize a very simple truth; you need a Savior and to obtain eternal life with God is not something human beings can do on their own.
Would you agree that if a person commits a moral crime, they should stand before a judge and be punished for that crime? Murder, rape and theft are all examples of moral crimes. We would be very angry with any judge that just let them off because they promised to be ‘good citizens’ from this day forward, wouldn’t we? Of course we would and no judge would be considered good at his job if that is how he conducted his court room. We have committed moral crimes of sin against God. We have lied, stolen, betrayed and the list could go on for decades. The point is, God is the judge of all mankind and when we stand before the moral Law-Giver, He will judge us for the crimes we have committed. Because He is God, not a mere flawed human being, His standard for innocence in that Great Court Room of Judgment is: perfection. Now all of mankind has a serious problem, because we have all sinned and fallen very short of the perfection standard.
We are truly in an impossible situation. No one hated this situation that we got ourselves into, more than God Himself. God truly loves mankind. He made us and He made us to be able to know Him and to have relationship with Him and to enjoy His fellowship! Isn’t that amazing? We were made to know God, our Creator and to have a relationship with Him. It’s astounding. But if we can’t even get to God because of our sin problem, how can we be rescued from this impossible predicament?
This is what is called, The Good News! We can’t save ourselves, but God made a plan to save us Himself. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that we are saved by God’s grace through faith (we must believe it). It is not anything we could do; rather Jesus is God’s gift to us. We can’t earn salvation into heaven by doing good things. If we did, we would just boast about how we did it ourselves. But God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to the earth to be born as a human. Jesus lived a perfect life here on earth. He lived the life that was impossible for us to live and because He never sinned, He was able to go the cross and offer His perfect life as a sacrifice for our sins. Ephesians 1:7 tells us that God is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and He forgave our sins. This is how God is able to forgive us because Jesus became our substitution. He took our place by taking our punishment on Himself in the eternal court room. We were guilty before God for our sins, Jesus said in essence, “Take Me instead.” God agreed (it was His plan after all) and Jesus took our punishment by being crucified and buried in a tomb. But death could not keep Him in the grave! Three days later, God brought Jesus out of that grave. This is good news to us, because Jesus’ resurrection means we also can be given a new life. We make a great exchange when we believe in Jesus as our Rescuer. He takes our sin and we receive His righteous life.
There is one final thing to do in this endeavor of becoming a follower of Christ, but let’s first re-cap. We have an eternal problem called sin that we are helpless to change on our own, God in His mercy, made a way for us to be forgiven of our sins so that we can be reconciled to Him and enjoy a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. Believing in what Jesus did for us and accepting that sacrifice as our substitute is just the first step. The second step is to turn away from your life of sin (repent) and surrender your whole life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. That means that you give control of your life to Jesus. The Bible tells us how we should behave, think, act and live like Jesus. He doesn’t hide it from you. He wants you to succeed at following Him. It is not an easy road. There is trouble ahead and Jesus often commands you to do things that go against how you might feel. He tells us to forgive our enemies for example. Bless those that hurt you, do good to those who persecute you. Are you willing to give everything up for Jesus and receive His eternal life?
Here is a simple prayer to get you on that road. There is no magic in these words. The important thing is that you sincerely believe what you are saying as you pray to God.
God, I need you. I have sinned against you and have no way to get to you on my own. I believe that Jesus is your Son and that He died on the cross, shed His blood as a substitution for me. I believe that He rose from the dead and now I surrender my life to You; I repent of my old sinful life. Please forgive me for all the times I have violated your laws. I now turn away from that life and from this day forward I will follow Jesus as my Lord.