Becoming a Christian…
“What words do I have to say?
Is there a ‘formula?”
A person who wants to become a Christian needs (1) to believe God exists, (2) to be sorry for his sins and selfishness at the expense of others, (3) to be sorry for ignoring God and the Truth He has given, (4) to believe in and trust Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, (5) to confess your change of heart to others (Rom. 10:9-10), and (6) to be willing to live a new life, serving God. We often call this being “born again.”
Or so we say.
But how strong and binding is saying all this?
How did Jesus weigh in on such matters?
For that you need to go through the DOOR.
First, it’s not the easiest thing to organize all the things that Jesus said. And sometimes He seemed to “walk away” before He delivered, and underlined, His main point.
And there’s the puzzling, but wonderful, words that Jesus said to a thief who was on the cross beside him: “Today,” he told him, “you will be with me in Paradise.” Such an extravagant promise!
But now I want to look at the end of chapter 7 in Luke.
Jesus, at the invitation of an inquiring Pharisee, is dining at the religious man’s house. Suddenly a prostitute (from just where we’re not sure) comes up behind Jesus and begins quietly crying and washing his feet with her tears. Then she pours expensive perfume on his feet, and with her long hair begins drying His feet.
The host, embarrassed and aghast (as I would probably would have been), wonders why Jesus allows such unexpected behavior to distract their conversation. Doesn’t he realize what kind of woman she is? Jesus, calmly changes the conversation and begins telling a story. Afterwards, he turns to the woman and expresses His appreciation of her unsolicited behavior. Then He says to her loud enough for others to overhear, “Your sins have been forgiven…Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (vv. 48-50).
What a declaration from the Son of God!
And there’s no report that the woman said a single word.
Maybe she didn’t know what to say. But she knew how she felt and so did Jesus. And she knew she’d met Jesus.
Perhaps the same thing happens today…more often than we realize¹.
¹Growing alongside like-minded people still matters. The repentant thief on the cross, however, missed all that.