We must believe God exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. That’s the first step. But you say: “I don’t have faith. How can I get this faith in God?” Well, here’s the way as described by the apostle Paul in Romans 10:17: “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” The word of God, then, as found in the Bible brings faith when we study it and receive it into our hearts. So begin at once to follow the Bible path.
So the second step is repentance. First, belief in God; second, repentance. But you ask, “Are you sure God will forgive me?” The answer to that question is found in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” We read the same thing in Exodus 34:6,7: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”
The next step in becoming a Christian is confession. “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16) “He that conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13) Confession that leads to the forsaking of sin is the real kind. But, in addition to this, what else is necessary on the part of the repentant sinner? “If the wicked gives back what he took in pledge for a loan, returns what he has stolen, follows the decrees that give life, and does no evil, he will surely live; he will not die,” — Ezekiel 33:15.
Real repentance and confession mean not only to stop sinning, but to do everything possible to make right past wrongs. No man can steal ten dollars and expect God to forgive him unless he tries to pay back what he has taken. Otherwise it wouldn’t be real repentance or real confession.
But when a person truly repents and confesses, God forgives, for we have already read in 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Forgiveness is God’s work, not ours. When we confess, we simply believe that God forgives, and He does. That's the end of it. We may or may not feel that our sins are gone, but they are. We are not to depend upon feeling, we are to believe God.
Now the next step is baptism, and the proof for this found in Acts 2:38, 39: “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
The change which comes through faith, repentance, confession of sin, and following the Word of God in all obedience, is called the new birth. Jesus said: “You must be born again,” John 3:7. This is spoken of also as regeneration. It’s new life, a re-creation by the power of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the one who believes. This is not something that we can work up, not a form of psychology. It’s not a by-product of education or culture, but it’s a miracle wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit of God. Then Christ lives His life within us, a life of perfect obedience. Can we obey in our own strength? No, for in John 15:5 we read, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” But how much can we do with Christ’s help? The answer comes to us from Philippians 4:13:“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” But if we do sin after we have made a start for Christ, should we become discouraged and cease to follow Him? Never! We read 1 John 2:1: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”
As you draw close to God, He will teach you His ways and give you His strength. If you're interested in baptism or learning more about Jesus Christ, please contact the Apostolic Church of God 7th Day at (516) 400-9940 firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re a new believer or thinking about joining the Apostolic Family, we encourage your to connect with other believers who can guide and strengthen you along your Christian journey. Connect through our Ministries!
If you’re a new believer or thinking about joining the faith, you need to fellowship with other believers who can guide and strengthen you along your Christian journey. The Apostolic family is here for you!
Once you have accepted Christ as your savior and begin to engage in regular prayer, Bible reading and connecting with Family of God, it is important develop a deeper, personal relationship with Christ.