Bible Question:

My issues now are this:

1. If I simply believe Jesus Christ did exist and He is the only way to salvation, does this make me a Christian? I actually know the answer to this. The answer is “no” as even Satan recognized and believed in who Jesus was but it is a matter of acceptance.
2. Why then, do I resist accepting? These are the reasons, I think...
- I do not feel I am up to it. The commitment, the laws, the commandments. I do not know whether I can uphold them.
- Fear of ridicule. I, who have been quite an adamant “freethinker” in the past! What will my friends say? My mom, who is an ardent Hindu, how do I deal with her?
- I am not sure if I am really ready or using it as a “crutch.” Is this the way in? Should I not turn to Jesus when I am centered and sure, rather than turn to Him as a “crutch”?
3. To be sure, I do want to accept the gift of salvation, but how do I do it? What is the implication? Am I approaching it the right way? Does it matter?
4. What about baptism? Should I accept Christ, how important is this issue of baptism? Is it necessary?

Bottom line! I accept that Jesus is who He is and He is the only way to salvation. I do want to be saved. This I do not lie. Therefore, the answer is easy. Accept. I have even tried saying the acceptance prayer but still it did not seem real/right to me. To be frank, it is quite confusing/vexing. Is this a normal process/struggle people go through? Why do some people find it easy to make this leap of faith?

Bible Answer:

First Question

God is speaking to you! Satan is trying to confuse you. You are correct on your first question. To believe in Jesus is more than believing that Jesus existed or died for our sins. Satan is not a Christian and yet He knows that God exists and that Jesus died for our sins.

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. (NASB) James 2:19

Faith or belief is not just facts. To believe in Jesus is to depend, to trust, to rely on Him for the forgiveness of sins. Then a Christian responds by wanting to obey. A more complete explanation is given in a study in Hebrews 11.

Second Question

Why do you resist accepting Jesus? Jesus answered the question for us in His illustration of the sower and the seed.

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. (NASB) Matthew 13:19-23

Here is a summary of His illustration followed by an explanation.

Why People Reject JesusSeed Lands Where?
They do not understand because they are open to Satan’s deception.Beside The Road
They fear persecutions such as rejection, slander, insults, and trials.Rocky Places
They care more for this life and the wealth it offers.Thorny Soil
They want God more than anything else. There is nothing that keeps them from coming!Good Soil

In the parable, Jesus tells us about four types of soil: soil on the side of the road, rocky soil, thorny soil, and good soil. The soil by the road side is symbolic of people who hear the Word of God and do not understand it. The rocky soil represents the person who hears the Word of God joyfully but because of persecutions and trials does not continue. This person cannot accept rejection, slander, insults, and trials as a Christian. This person was never real because he or she “immediately” fell away. The third soil – soil with thorns – symbolizes people who are not really Christians. Money, possessions, and worries of the world cause them to leave. This person is described as becoming “unfruitful.” The last soil is good soil. This person hears the Word and ” bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty” (Matt. 13:23). This person is the true Christian. The true Christian continues and produces fruit in his/her life. Riches, persecution and the trials of life may impact the true Christian, but true Christians continue in the faith. This is the message of 1 John 2:19.

It is easy to miss the point of Jesus’ illustration. Jesus is not saying that we must be willing to suffer: that may occur however. He is not saying that we must give up our homes, food, clothes, or money. The common problem that each person had in His illustration is having something else that was more important than Jesus. You are considering another reason for NOT coming to Him: “Should I not turn to Jesus when I am centered and sure, rather than turn to Him as a “crutch”? The answer to the question is no! Why? From God’s perspective you are ready now. Jesus is looking for those need help.

And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (NASB) Luke 5:31-32

He is not waiting for us to clean up ourselves. He came to save sinners and that is what I am. That is how He saved me. I will be a sinner until I get to heaven. If you a sinner, then you are ready. If you wait until you think you are ready, then you will not be saved.

Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer [considered by Jews to be a sinner]. The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, ‘God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer . . . But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you [Jesus said], this man went down to his house justified rather than the other . . . (NASB) Luke 18:10-14

Jesus is looking at your heart. He is looking for hearts that want to be cleaned up by God. Here is a great illustration of a sinner trying to get ready.

Suppose there was a gas leak in your house sometime in the night. You are awakened by the smell and instead of getting up and fixing the problem, you decide to put on some cologne and go back to bed. You think the cologne will help overcome the smell of the poison of the gas and decide to fix the problem – maybe in the morning. If this really happened, you would have another tomorrow. When we come to Jesus, there is no time for cologne. We need to “fix” our sins – to be forgiven.

Third Question

How do you accept Jesus? Jesus has the answer – believe or depend/trust Him.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (NASB) John 3:16

I would encourage you to ask God to forgive you of your sins. Tell Him how you feel about your sins; that you want your sins forgiven; and that you want to be at peace with Him. God considers those who refuse to come to Jesus, who do not give up on themselves and start trusting Him as enemies.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us . . . while we were enemies . . . (NASB) Romans 5:8-10

If you believe that Jesus can forgive your sins and only He can forgive and you want that to happen, then you are a Christian. The prayer to God is simply telling Him what you feel in your heart.

Fourth Question

No. Baptism is not required to be saved. But it is something you should do. It is your first act of obedience to God. He will expect you to do it. It is a demonstration to others and to God that you are serious.

Conclusion:

God is not looking for us to be clean, good looking, wealthy, or wise. He is looking for us to understand that we are not holy He is, but sinners inside – sinners who need to be cleaned up – to be made holy.

Dr. Bernardo, the great friend to friendless children, told a story how a dirty ragged homeless boy hailed him in the street one day, with a request to be taken into one of his homes for children. “I know nothing about you, my lad.” said the Doctor. “What have you to recommend you?” “I thought these would be enough.” said the little chap, pointing to his rags. Dr. Bernardo gathered him up in his arms and took him in. – A. Naisith

That is a great picture of how we must come to Him and then He picks us up and cleans us up. That is something only God can do. He does not make us clean immediately, but He treats as if we were clean when we simply believe that Jesus is the only one Who can do that for us. He is waiting for us to want to be cleaned up by Him. Is that what you want? Then I would encourage you to tell Him! If you do, we would like to know . . .