What to expect now that you’ve become a Christian.
Becoming a Christian is a personal response to a loving Creator. This is why people say that Christianity is not about religion but a relationship with God. This relationship is possible because our Creator did not leave us in our sin and separation from himself but made a way for us to be forgiven and restored to fellowship with him.
This is what we mean by salvation. When someone says she is saved, she means that she has been forgiven and restored to fellowship with God through Jesus Christ.
Basic facts about God’s salvation
- Salvation is a gift of God’s undeserved grace (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9) through Jesus Christ (John 1:12-13; 14:6; Acts 4:12; I Timothy 2:3-6) and not based on our works (Titus 3:4-7).
- Salvation is eternally secure in Jesus (John 6:37-40; 10:27-29; Romans 8:38-39; Philippians 1:6).
- Salvation received by God’s grace is the motive for living in a way that pleases God.
- Salvation is what God did by grace, not what I do to keep myself worthy of grace. Faith itself is a gift from God (Philippians 1:29). Rehearse these truths often.
As a new Christian, you’ll begin to experience some changes. You’ll feel joy because your sins have been forgiven and you’ve been reconciled to God. Your joy increases as you realize that forgiveness is a free and undeserved gift of God’s kindness and grace (see: Ephesians 1:7, 13-14; 2:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
Along with forgiveness, restored fellowship with God and joy, you’ll experience several new desires.
- First, there will be a desire to please God. You’ll be concerned about whether or not your decisions, actions, and attitudes please God (see: 2 Corinthians 5:9). Sometimes this desire is accompanied by feelings of guilt because you become convinced that much of your life doesn’t please God (see: 1 John 1:9).
- Secondly, there is a desire to be with other followers of Jesus Christ. People whose company you would not previously have chosen become important to you. You’ll feel a special kinship with fellow-members of God’s family (see: 1 Thessalonians 4:9). This usually leads to a new habit of attending church.
- Thirdly, there is a desire to know more about God. This leads to an intense interest in the Bible — God’s word — the place where we learn about the character and works of God. You’ll begin to read and study the Scriptures and desire to listen to those who teach the Bible.
What others think
When these changes occur, well-intentioned (and some not so well-intentioned) friends commonly see it as nothing more than a new interest in God and religion.
They sometimes consider it a phase that will pass with time. Yet the person who has experienced God’s saving grace knows that his or her experience is much more than a passing interest in God or a strange phase of life. Something decisive has taken place in your life.
Although the new Christian cannot always articulate all that has happened, Scriptures speak clearly of these changes. In Colossians 1:13, we learn that, “God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His dear Son.”
At the time of salvation, the Holy Spirit of God comes to live in the new believer and opens up a whole new dimension of existence in the kingdom of God’s dear Son (see: 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14).
The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit explains the new desires. It is not a matter of getting religion. It is not a phase someone goes through. It is an encounter with the living God in which He reconciles you to Himself, brings you into His kingdom and gives you the gift of the Holy Spirit (see: Romans 8:9).
God is now actively and progressively changing you into His image. Although new believers commonly look for changes in their circumstances, God is far more concerned about changing you than your circumstances.
The really great thing is that God uses our circumstances (especially our trials) to transform us into His image! God’s changes reach into every part of our being — our thoughts, attitudes, values and actions.
Our past, present and future must come under the gracious influence of God’s Spirit. God requires every key to every room of our lives. Perhaps you thought you only needed to give Him a key to the front door, but be prepared for His active interest in each room.
God’s primary focus for transformation is on what the Bible calls the inner person. Our bodies continue to age and finally succumb to their fallen condition – returning to the dust from which we came. Yet inwardly we experience renewal in this life. And then our salvation will one day include a renewed body (see: Philippians 3:20-21).
What about you…..?
If you desire to receive God’s gift of salvation, you need to recognize that Jesus Christ died for your sins and that salvation only comes through Jesus (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5-6).
Admit to God that you have sinned against Him and that you need His forgiveness. Ask God to forgive you and to give you His free gift of salvation (Romans 3:23; 5:8, 12; 6:23; 10:9-11).
God promised to save all those who call on Him. Be sure to talk with a trusted friend about your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.