Jesus said, " Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and doesn't come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life" (John 5:24).
In John 3:16 the Gospel of John also states "For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life." There is only one condition for eternal life: BELIEF. This belief is in Jesus as the Son of God. The following passage makes this clear:
"The next day, he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for he was before me.' 31 I didn't know him, but for this reason I came baptizing in water: that he would be revealed to Israel." 32 John testified, saying, "I have seen the Spirit descending like a dove out of heaven, and it remained on him. 33 I didn't recognize him, but he who sent me to baptize in water said to me, 'On whomever you will see the Spirit descending and remaining on him is he who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.' 34 I have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God" (John 1:29-34).
Eternal Life comes by grace, not works:
"for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
You don't have to be good before you can enter eternal life:
"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15).
"But to him who doesn't work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness" (Romans 4:5).
Works do not cause eternal life. Works identify those who have eternal life: "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).
Love is one way to identify disciples of Christ. Some have been confused by scriptures that link eternal life to works. These passages use words of identification, not words of causation. They identify those who have eternal life. Romans 2:6-9 uses words of identification, whereby Ephesians 2:8-9 (above) uses words of causation "saved through faith" and "by grace", "not of works".
The Good News from 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 is:
"Now I declare to you, brothers, the Good News which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you also stand, by which also you are saved... For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third Day: according to the Scriptures,"
If you believe, you have eternal life.
If you don't believe but want to believe, then read the Gospel of John and persistently ask God to give you faith. As you read, ask God to reveal himself. The Gospel of John is the only book of the Bible that has recorded the signs which Jesus performed for the express purpose "that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31).
If you prefer, read the Bible starting at the very beginning. I know a man who became a Christian that way. He read it from beginning to end like any other book. As he read, he realized that it was the word of God.
In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest." This invitation is offered to "all you who labor and are heavily burdened".
In Romans 10:13 Paul wrote: "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED. " This is repeated in Acts 2:21
I didn't become a Christian because I set out to become one. It seemed to happen to me.
How Do You Know That You Are a Christian?
Please prayerfully consider these words of God:
- "Examine your own selves, whether you are in the faith. Test your own selves. Or don't you know about your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified" (2 Corinthians 13:5).
The test is whether Jesus Christ is in you or not. Paul indicates that we know by testing our "own selves". In other words, we just know, from within.
Please prayerfully consider another scripture:
- "For you didn't receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans 8:15-16).
Again, if you are a child of God, having received "the Spirit of adoption", which is the Holy Spirit, your spirit knows this as it says "testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. So, how do you know if you are a Christian? You just know it within. If you don't know, then you are not a Christian. I prayed every day for wisdom for two years and was then converted. The subchapter titled, "My Conversion", which is just before the introduction may be helpful. Click here to read. Few Christians have a conversion experience like mine. But it may still be helpful. My experience was that conversion happened to me as I was seeking God.
Subchapter 7 in the appendix titled, "The Unabbreviated Conversion Corridor" may be helpful as well. Click here to read. Speaking in tongues is not necessary to prove conversion since all believers do not have this gift (1 Corinthians 12:29-30).
If you are unsure about your conversion, I suggest you do this every day. Read the Gospel of John, while asking God to give you faith. Or, you could start reading in Genesis instead of John.
After Conversion, Now What?
If you have become a Christian, you are a new creation in Christ. You need to grow spiritually. To grow spiritually, it is critical to PRAY the scriptures and develop friendships with other believers. Praying through the scriptures in this book will help to move you forward in the faith.
Ask God to lead you to a church where the scriptures are taught and believed. Some people may live in a place where there are no churches that teach the scriptures. Some people don't have access to any church at all. If you are in one of these situations, ask God to lead you to another believer.
To have your own church meeting, all you need is another believer, scripture and prayer. Once God has led you to another believer, open the Bible. If you are a new Christian you may want to start with the book of John.
Here is a simple method to have church with another believer or a small group of believers:
1) Ask God to open your mind to understand the scriptures.
2) Read a small portion from the scripture you have chosen.
3) Ask four questions:
- What does the passage say about God?
- What does the passage say about Man?
- What does the passage say that we can share with someone else?
- What does the passage say that we should pray about?
You have had church. Praise God! To grow in your faith, read and pray through this book from beginning to end. Do the same with the Bible.
How do you know if you are in the right church? God will lead you:
- "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God" (Romans 8:14).
If you happen to belong to a faith that believes that God revealed the Gospel but that it has been lost or corrupted, I suggest that you read the Gospel of John. God is great! He would not allow His Holy Word to be corrupted.
If you would like to know why I wrote this book, then read the next subchapter. It's short.