Many of us have been brought to a point where we realize our need for a Savior. We have given up fighting the Lord and living our life the way we please. We’ve seen our sinfulness and know that Jesus Christ is the answer to our deepest longings. But how, we ask, can we become a genuine Christian?
Realize that Christ is Waiting to Save You
First, we must realize that the Lord Jesus is already waiting to come and live in us as our Savior. Christ said, “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.” (Rev. 3:20) Here, the Lord clearly says that He is standing at the door of our heart and knocking. Furthermore, the tense of the verb “stand” in the original language of the New Testament indicates that He has been standing at the door of our heart in the past, He’s standing there right now, and He will continue to stand there in the future, waiting for us to open. Christ does not come to us once, knock a few times, and then leave. He is waiting, eagerly waiting, and patiently knocking so that we would open to Him.
Every trial we’ve passed through that turned our thoughts to the Lord, every experience we’ve had that made us think of Him, every inclination we’ve ever felt toward God – all have been His knocking. We may have resisted, we may have tried to go deeper into sin, we might even have cursed Him at some point, yet this loving Christ keeps pursuing us, knocking again and again. Fortunately for us, He is not so easily offended. Don’t believe any lie that it’s too late for you, or that you’ve tried to be a Christian and nothing happened, so it must be all over for you, or that you’ve sinned too greatly for Christ to save you. No. At this very moment Christ is knocking on the door of your heart. He’s not far away condemning you. He’s so near, waiting to come into you and be your Savior.
Repent of Your Sins and Turn to Christ as Your Savior
We must see, however, that the mere presence of Christ at our heart’s door, and even our acknowledging of His presence, is not sufficient to make us a Christian. We go on to open the door of our heart. We may have heard about Christ, we may have realized at times in our life that He was near to us, we may even currently believe in a mental way that He is the Son of God; but have we definitely, purposely, and consciously opened the door or our heart to Him? Until we actually open, all is in vain. He is waiting and is fully able to save us, but He must have our consent. We must first open our heart to Him.
What, though, does it mean to open? How do you open? We might first say what opening is not – it is not going through a ritual, nor merely praying a prayer in a formal way. We may have tried these ways in the past with no result. According to the Bible, the proper opening mainly involves two things: repenting of our sins and turning our heart to God. When the Lord Jesus was on the earth, the very first words of His public ministry were, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt 4:17)
This is the first step of opening – to repent. The word “repent” literally means to change one’s mind or to change one’s concept. It means that formerly you thought one way about yourself and about your relationship to God; but now, under the light of God’s Word, you change your thought and think a new way. You may have thought you needed to do more good deeds to merit God’s favor, but now you see you are a hopeless sinner who has nothing to offer God.
It’s not enough, however, to just repent – just to admit your need and turn away from sin. You must also turn toward God. As sinful people, we cannot, in and of ourselves, forsake sin. We don’t have the power to do so, as our personal history and the sad history of mankind testify. Therefore, we need to turn to Someone who is able to forsake sin and who can save us from sin – Jesus! He is fully able to deliver us.
Confess with Your Mouth Jesus as Lord
Once you have turned from sin and turned to God, there is one last thing for you to do: confess with your mouth Jesus as your Lord. Paul the Apostle spoke of this need of confession in Romans 10:9-10. “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” These verses show us that there are two main items required for salvation: 1) believing in our heart and 2) confessing with our mouth. When we recognize our need of a Savior and admit that Christ, the Risen One, is that Savior, we are fulfilling the first step of believing in our heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead. There is now a further need to definitely and verbally confess Him as Lord. This is a very crucial step to help us confirm our experience of receiving Christ as our Savior.
Believe the Fact, Not Your Feelings
If you have genuinely and honestly prayed, if you have repented of you sins, believed in Christ, and confessed Him as your Lord, you are a saved person – period. You can know this assuredly because the Word of God declares it: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” (Rom 10:9) You can trust in the solid word. The Bible testifies, “Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven.” (Psa. 119:89) Hence, the promise of God is fully trustworthy and dependable. Furthermore, “it is impossible for God to lie.” (Heb 6:18) Thus, whatever He has spoken and promised is true. Your feelings may fluctuate, but the Word of God does not; so you can trust the fact of God’s promise, not your feelings.
His promise is unconditional, and it cannot be changed by your feelings. If you have opened your heart, He has come in and you are a real Christian. Be assured – it is possible to receive Christ and know that you have been saved by Him – simply repent, believe, confess, and “you shall be saved.”