The Meaning of Your Decision to be a Christian

Romans 6:23 
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Introduction 
“The gift of God is eternal life in Christ.” This represents the ultimate promise, the ultimate gift from God.  Though we were dead in sin, God rescued us and gave us life in His Son.  He gave His Son to die for our sins so that we might enjoy Him forever. Your decision to follow Christ, to believe in Him and in His saving power in your life, represents the acceptance of your own death in sin and God’s saving hand.  You have been given a gift of life, and now have the freedom to walk with God.  You have been saved! 

What Must I Do To Be Saved?  
In the middle of the first century, two criminals were convicted and sentenced for casting a spirit out of a slave girl.  Their names were Paul and Silas.  They were sent to the magistrates and charged with “disturbing the city.”  They were beaten and placed in the hands of a jailer. The jailer was ordered to keep a tight watch.

Shackled behind bars, Paul and Silas began to yell out in raucous songs of praise to their God.  While they were singing, the walls began to shake, the floors began to crack and suddenly an earthquake rumbled throughout the prison.  Their chains were broken and the doors opened.

When the jailer awoke, he assumed that the prisoners had escaped.  Fearing he would have to pay the cost for a prison break occurring on his watch, the jailer drew his sword to take his own life.  But Paul and Silas were still there.  Paul told the jailer not to take his life.  In fear and reverence of their God, the jailer fell before their feet and asked them one question: “What must I do to be saved?”

If you are now a Christian, you should know the answer to this question.  This document will help you process what it means to be saved and follow Jesus.

Practically, Your Decision to Be a Christian Means: 

  1. You Recognized Your Sin. The prerequisite to a new relationship with Christ is a person realizing they are helplessly lost in sin. It is impossible to become a child of God if you do not realize your sinfulness and your need for Christ’s cleansing.  It is important to recognize that it is not just that we have sinned, but that we are sinful by nature.
    • Romans 3:10-18 
    • Romans 3:23 
  2. You Recognized the Consequences of Your Sin. Because God is just, He must punish those who break the law.  We have all broken the law; we have all sinned.  Our punishment is eternal death.  This is a perfectly just consequence for our actions against a holy god.  When you received Christ’s death on the cross as a payment for your sins, you were rescued from eternal condemnation.
    • Romans 6:23
  3. You Received God’s Grace. Grace is unmerited favor, an undeserved gift.  In reconciling our relationship with God, grace did it all.  There is nothing we can do to earn God’s grace.  It is a free gift that you receive when you repent and trust in Christ.
    • Ephesians 2:8-9 
  4. You Were Rescued. You have been freed from the penalty and the power of sin.  This rescuing we receive allows us to have relationship with God today and also allows us to spend eternity enjoying His company.
    • Romans 6:17-18 
  5. You Were Justified. You have received justification by faith in Christ.  Faith is believing or trusting God and His Word.  When you received Christ, you put your trust in Christ and His death for your sin instead of believing in your own ability to earn God’s favor.  You recognize that it is not by your own power that you have been saved, but by the power of God.
    • Romans 5:1, 9-10 
  6. You Begin to See Signs of Your Salvation. As you walk with Christ and your relationship with Him grows, you will begin to see the effects in your life.  You will increasingly find joy in God.  Likewise, you will increasingly be fighting and hating sin.  Just as a tree that is well watered bears good fruit, so a person bears good spiritual fruit when they are truly in Christ.
    • Galatians 5:22-24 

Faith Obeys and Endures 
As 15th century theologian Martin Luther said, “We are saved by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone.”  Faith is not a one-time decision or teary-eyed prayer.  It is not an apathetic agreement that Christ died for your sins.  It is a perpetual response to Jesus’ saving work.  Faith is lived theology. Faith obeys and faith endures.

  • John 3:36
  • Matthew 7:17-20
  • Hebrews 3:14, 11:1, 12:1

Spiritually Your Decision Means: 
There are so many things that happen in the spiritual realm when someone becomes a Christian that it would take pages upon pages to list them all. Here are just a few:

  1. You have been forgiven of your sins.1
  2. You have been made a child of God.2
  3. You have been made a new creature and given new life.3
  4. You have been given eternal life.4
  5. You have been given the Holy Spirit.5

Conclusion 
Your decision does not mean you have to be holy in order to maintain being justified; it means that those who have been justified are holy in God’s sight through faith in the person and finished work of Jesus Christ.  

Application Questions 

  1. What does it mean that “all have sinned”?
  2. What are the consequences of sin?
  3. What do we have to do to be saved from our sin?
  4. What does it mean to have faith?

Memory Verses 
Romans 6:23
John 3:16

How does this study reinforce your belief in the gospel?

References

  1. Colossians 1:13-14
  2. John 1:12
  3. 2 Corinthians 5:17
  4. 1 John 5:11-13
  5. Ephesians 1:13-14
 

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Other Resources

Here are a few websites we recommended you use to receive further training and help aid your worship of Christ:

The Gospel Coalition
for Theology and Worldview

The Resurgence
for Theology and Worldview

Desiring God
for Theology and Worldview

God Squad
for Campus Ministry and Evangelism

Gospel Centered Discipleship
for Accountability

FCS Urban Ministries
for Urban Ministry & Community Development

CCDA
for Urban Ministry & Community Development