What is Christianity?
It can be simply summed up as being at peace with God and in a loving relationship with him.
Christians believe that we all can know God as a loving Father. Because of this many Christians prefer to talk about their faith as a ‘relationship’ rather than as a ‘religion’. It is Jesus who makes it possible to know God in this way.
So what’s the story?
God loves us
God loves us and created all of us to know and enjoy him. He thinks you’re great! He desires the very best for you (and everyone) both now and for eternity. This has always been his plan for you. In the Bible, Jesus said: ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ (John’s Gospel Chapter 10, verse 10).
To understand how much God loves us, we can look at Jesus. Jesus was God’s son, and came to earth as a man to live and die for us. God loves us so much that he gave his son, Jesus, to save us from death and give us eternal life.
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John’s Gospel Ch 3, v 16).
We have a broken relationship with God
We have wandered off from him and done our own thing without thinking about God. Going our own way like this is called sin. It may have been a deliberate rejection of God or, more often, simply ignoring him. Sin shows itself in many ways: in the wrong things we do and the negative feelings we have.
The result of sin is separation from God. God is so good and pure and holy that he can’t look at sin or allow those with sin into his presence. Something needs to happen to bridge the gap between us and God.
A way back
The good news is that God has come after us to give us a second chance to know him and to experience his love and life. He did this by sending Jesus, his own son, into the world, to live a human life. Although Jesus lived a perfect life, he was arrested and sentenced to death on a cross. Dying on the cross was a way for him to take the punishment for all the sin that we have committed and to restore our relationship with God.
Peter, a friend and follower of Jesus, wrote this: ‘For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.’ (Peter’s First Letter, Ch 3, v 18).
The life and death of Jesus demonstrates God’s amazing love for us. His rising from the dead shows that he was successful – sin and death were defeated!
God wants to give us every opportunity to know him and has said that whoever looks for him will find him. We can choose to start again, and the slate is wiped clear. Whilst he is always waiting with open arms for us to respond, the choice is ours; he does not force it on us!
As our broken relationship with God was caused by us turning our backs on him, the solution involves turning around, and starting to follow him instead. Becoming a Christian involves 3 steps:
- Saying sorry for going our own way
- Deciding that we will follow God’s way from now on
- Believing that Jesus’ death has made this possible and he will give us the power to see it through.
Where do I go from here?
If you feel moved by what you have read and want to take these steps to know God, you could take a few moments now to pray and put things right with him. Here is a suggested prayer:
I have been going my own way. I have not honoured you as I should nor lived as I should. I am truly sorry. Please forgive all my sin [if there are specific sins in your life it helps to name them before God].
I now want to go your way. I want you to be my leader. I offer my life in your service. Come to me and make me the person you want me to be.
Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to make all this possible. I trust you and believe that through him my sins are forgiven, that I have eternal life, and that I can know you as my Father in heaven.
Next stepsYou may have prayed the suggested prayer, or your own prayer. If you have taken that very simple but massive step, then we are delighted and thrilled for you. Welcome into God’s family – the adventure starts here!
Can we ask you to do 4 things:
- Contact us to let us know about your new faith. We would like to pray for you and send you some useful information.
- Find a church where you can meet other Christians – people who know and love Jesus who can help and encourage you as you start out on your new Christian life. You can look on the web for churches near you. Because we are all different, don’t feel afraid to try a few churches. The important thing is to find a church where you feel welcomed and feel that you could fit in.
- Get a Bible or New Testament and start reading John’s Gospel. This will tell you more about the life of Jesus.
- Becoming a Christian is a life-changing decision. However, it’s worth noting that for some people, coming to Jesus can be a great emotional experience, and for others the emotional aspect is much less dramatic. But there will be some really important signs that God is at work in your life. These changes may include: more peace, more joy, more love, and a sense of security in life, better relationships, and power to overcome sin in your life which you have struggled with in the past. Don’t give yourself a hard time for not being perfect and still messing up from time to time. Thank God often for his goodness to you.
Remember that you have been given the gift of prayer, so try asking God to help you with these things!
It may be that you have read the ‘Finding Jesus’ pages here and not felt able or ready to take that ‘step of faith’ to follow Jesus. Please do look at the rest of this site as some of your questions may be answered elsewhere. If you have further questions about Christianity, then do feel free to send us your questions and we will attempt to answer them.
If you live in Oxford then you might want to join an Alpha course for people exploring the Christian faith.