Matt 26:26-29 (HCSB)
26 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is My body.”27 Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood [that establishes] the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.
If I were not a Christian today and I wanted to find out how to become a Christian, I imagine the first thing that I would probably do is a google search for, ‘How do I become a Christian’ or, ‘How to become a Christian’. Today, if someone uses this same approach to learn how to become a Christian, they will quickly be exposed to a lot of misinformation about what the Bible teaches about how to become a Christian.
Although the google results for, ‘How to become a Christian’ make it clear that there are many disagreements about this topic, one thing that I have never heard anyone who called him or herself a Christian deny is that it is the blood of Jesus that forgives sins and saves us. In the above passage, Jesus says, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood [that establishes] the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.’
So I’d say that most people who profess to be Christians would agree that it is the blood of Jesus that saves us and forgives our sins, but then the question becomes, ‘How do I get the blood of Jesus to forgive my sins?’ This is where people start disagreeing. The purpose of this study is to attempt to accurately portray how the Bible answers both questions (which really are the same question), ‘How do I become a Christian?’ and, ‘How do I get the blood of Jesus to forgive my sins?’.
(But first, for those of who who may have stumbled upon this study by doing a google search for, ‘How do I become a Christian?’, or ‘How to become a Christian’ and who may just want a quick answer, here it is: The way anyone becomes a Christian is by believing that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah, by repenting and by being baptized in the name of Jesus the Messiah. If anyone does these things, the blood of Jesus will forgive his or her sins and God will fill him or her with His Holy Spirit. Read on!)
Mark 8:27-30 (HCSB)
27 Jesus went out with His disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the road He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 They answered Him, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, one of the prophets.” 29 “But you,” He asked them again, “who do you say that I am?” Peter answered Him, “You are the Messiah!” 30 And He strictly warned them to tell no one about Him.
2000 years ago, Jesus asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ His disciples told Him what the people of their time were saying about Him: Some said He was John the Baptist, others said He was Elijah, and still others said he was one of the prophets. 2000 years later, in the year 2008, this question is still relevant.
Question: Today, who do people say Jesus was?
Possible Answers: Some say he was just a good man, some say he was just a good teacher, some say he was a prophet (the religion of Islam), some say he was one of many different conduits to God, some say he was a mythological, fictional character, some don’t know, some don’t care.
In verse 29, after the disciples answered the question, ‘Who do people say that I am?’, Jesus asked them, ‘But you, who do you say that I am?’
Question: But what about you, who do you say that Jesus is?
Peter answered Jesus’ question, “You are the Messiah!” Messiah means, ‘the anointed one’. In Matthew’s account, Peter says, ‘“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!’ So basically Peter was saying that Jesus was the One whom God had been promising to send throughout the course of the entire Old Testament, the One whom would be God’s Son, the One whom would be anointed by God and would rule as King, the One whom would be the Savior of the world, and the One whom would fulfill hundreds of Old Testament prophecies perfectly and precisely.
Acts 2:1-42 (HCSB)
1 When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. 3 And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech. 5 There were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 When this sound occurred, the multitude came together and was confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 And they were astounded and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 How is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites; those who live in Mesopotamia, in Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own languages the magnificent acts of God.” 12 And they were all astounded and perplexed, saying to one another, “What could this be?” 13 But some sneered and said, “They’re full of new wine!” 14 But Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them: “Jewish men and all you residents of Jerusalem, let this be known to you and pay attention to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it’s only nine in the morning. 16 On the contrary, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17 And it will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. 18 I will even pour out My Spirit on My male and female slaves in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will display wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below: blood and fire and a cloud of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and remarkable day of the Lord comes; 21 then whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: This Jesus the Nazarene was a man pointed out to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through Him, just as you yourselves know. 23 Though He was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him. 24 God raised Him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it. 25 For David says of Him:
I saw the Lord ever before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced. Moreover my flesh will rest in hope, 27 because You will not leave my soul in Hades, or allow Your Holy One to see decay. 28 You have revealed the paths of life to me; You will fill me with gladness in Your presence.
29 “Brothers, I can confidently speak to you about the patriarch David: he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn an oath to him to seat one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing this in advance, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: He was not left in Hades, and His flesh did not experience decay. 32 “God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this. 33 Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear. 34 For it was not David who ascended into the heavens, but he himself says:
The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand 35 until I make Your enemies Your footstool.’
36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah!” 37 When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what must we do?” 38 “Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” 40 And with many other words he testified and strongly urged them, saying, “Be saved from this corrupt generation!” 41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them.
Question: After the people were cut to the heart about murdering the Lord and the Messiah and asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what must we do?”, what does Peter say?
Answer: In verse 38, we read:
“Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Question: What are the two things these people were promised to receive if they repented and were baptized in the name of Jesus the Messiah?
Answer: Peter said that if these people would repent and be baptized, they would get the following two things:
1. The forgiveness of sins
2. The gift of the Holy Spirit
Question: How does this apply to us in the year 2008?
Answer: Peter continues in verse 39:
“39 For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
The same promise is given to us: If we repent and get baptized in the name of Jesus the Messiah, we will receive the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Question: How did the people respond to God’s promise?
Answer: We read in verse 41:
’41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them.’
Question: How should we respond to God’s promise?
Answer: If we believe that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah, then we should get up and be baptized to wash our sins away (Acts 22:16) and to receive the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit.
Question: So going back to the purpose of this study, which is to answer the two questions, ”How do I become a Christian’ and ‘How do I get the blood of Jesus to forgive my sins?’, what have we learned?
Answer: I become a Christian by believing that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah, by repenting and by being baptized. Likewise, I get the blood of Jesus to forgive my sins by believing that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah, by repenting and by being baptized.
Questions: How do you become a Christian? How do you get the blood of Jesus to forgive your sins?
Answers: You become a Christian by believing that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah, by repenting and by being baptized. You get the blood of Jesus to forgive your sins by believing that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah, by repenting and by being baptized.
Participation in the Death, Burial and Resurrection Of Jesus
Romans 6:3-4 (HCSB)
3 Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life.
Col 2:11-15 (HCSB)
11 In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not done with hands, by putting off the body of flesh, in the circumcision of the Messiah. 12 Having been buried with Him in baptism, you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive with Him and forgave us all our trespasses. 14 He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross.
When one is baptized, one’s faith enables him/her to participate in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Just like how Jesus died, was buried and then was resurrected from the dead, one who believes also dies, is buried with Jesus and then is resurrected at baptism.
Question: In Col 2:12, it says, ‘Having been buried with Him in baptism, you were also raised with Him ***through your faith in the working of God***, who raised Him from the dead’. So lets say someone is baptized without really knowing why he/she is being baptized. Would this person be able to be raised with Jesus through his/her faith in the working of God?
Answer: How can someone be raised to a new life through his/her faith in the power of God if one doesn’t know he/she is being raised from the dead by his/her faith?
So we have seen that:
1. It is the blood of Jesus that forgives sins.
2. When someone believes that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah, repents and is baptized, he or she participates in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. In other words, someone goes from not being saved in their old lives to being saved in their new resurrected lives. Just like how in order for Jesus to be resurrected, He needed to be buried, we can’t be resurrected to our new lives without being being baptized.
Gal 2:19-20 (HCSB)
I have been crucified with Christ; 20 and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
After one has been baptized, one is not only forgiven for his/her sins, but one is also is resurrected to a new life by being filled with God’s Spirit who enables him/her to overcome the sin that he/she was not able to overcome without the power of God. After baptism, a Christian lives a resurrected life.
Note: So if you want to go get baptized right now, find someone who will baptize you for the forgiveness of your sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.