What Does It Take To Become A Christian?

The way people answer this question says volumes about what they think Christianity is. Some thing that one must labor long and hard toward becoming a Christian, that there is always the possibility that one might not make it. Others think in terms of signing a card, walking an aisle, or having a moment of bliss. It is none of these. To become a Christian one must know first, how terribly sinful one is by nature and by action. After the fall, we are all, by nature, alienated from God and neighbor and under his just wrath. One must know that Christ is the only Savior of sinners. One must turn to Christ in confidence, embrace, lean upon, and rest in him alone for salvation. To look to Christ is to turn away from one’s own performance of the law. It is to know and trust that Christ is sufficient, that his obedience is enough, that one is accepted by God only for the sake of Christ.

That is it. There are consequences of trusting Christ. Unite yourself to a church where this gospel of salvation by God’s free favor alone, through faith alone, is preached purely, where the two sacraments as Christ instituted them are administered purely, where the church seeks to practice discipline as Christ instituted it, and where the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Canons of Dort, or the Westminster Standards are confessed. A church that does these things is a great place to find the communion of the saints. There you will be enabled to grow in this faith, to learn to die daily to your sins and to live to Christ, but all this comes after trusting Christ, not in order to be saved. First, you must be united to Christ alone, through faith alone, by the Spirit, and then comes the Christian life.

©R. Scott Clark. All Rights Reserved.


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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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