If you’re not a Christian, then let me begin by asking a simple question: Why aren’t you?
Is it because you don’t think there is a God at all?
Examine the evidence; weigh it well. The first point to consider is that after thousands of years of debate, there still is no definitive “proof” that God exists. Or that he doesn’t. In fact, any view you take is going to end in a life based on faith. Believing that God exists is a matter of faith. Believing God doesn’t exist is a matter of faith. If you’re looking for proof, in other words, you’re looking for the wrong thing.
Instead, look for consistency between the different options and what you see in the real world. Are people evil by nature, or good? Where do the concepts of good and evil come from? How do you act when someone does something you consider wrong, and why? Can it all really be justified as “preservation of the species?”
If you are completely honest with yourself, believing there is a God is more consistent with reality than believing there is no god.
Is it because you don’t know which god to believe in?
Do you think God may exist, but there are too many paths, too many religions, and there is no way to know which is true? That there are a lot of sincere people who believe all sorts of things, and all of them can’t be right, but all of them can’t be wrong?
Let the question revert to the various holy books. Which one, again, most closely matches the real world you see around you, the things you actually experience. Do people appear to be perfect when they are born, and then corrupted by society? Or are children selfish from the moment they are born? Do you teach a child to share, or do they just share on their own?
If you are completely honest in this endeavor, you will find that the Bible, among all the books ever written, most perfectly explains why you meet evil people and good, why people are born selfish and learn, sometimes, not to be, and why human history has run the course it has actually run.
Is it because you think Christians are hypocrites?
If you have standards, you’re a hypocrite. Welcome to the club. But Christianity isn’t about Christians, it’s about Christ. If you’re looking at Christians to judge Christianity, you’re looking in the wrong place, and you’re going to make a bad decision.
Is it because you think living a “religious life” will destroy your fun?
Then you don’t understand life in Christ at all. Think outside yourself for a bit, and try to find the truth, rather than what “works,” or what “feels good.”
Is it because you think God is unjust? Because you wonder how could God send good people to Hell?
Then you misunderstand what “good,” means, and you misunderstand the situation at hand. Do you believe people who break the law should be punished? Do you believe that you have broken the law at any point in your life? Then the question isn’t “how can good people go to jail,” the question is, “why aren’t you in jail?”
We have all broken the laws of God, and all deserve to be thrown into hell. We are all divorced from God, without an advocate in the heavenly courts, and deserving nothing but eternal death. The only hope is to find a substitute who can pay our sins, an advocate who can argue our case, and a guide who can show us the way.
The only hope is through Yeshua of Nazareth, Jesus the Christ.
God reconciles man to himself by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. No works before, during, or after the moment of faith in Christ contribute anything to the free gift of forgiveness and eternal life one receives through faith in Christ.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
There is no other way.
But I don’t want you to pray a simple prayer and then go on your way. I want you to pray many prayers, and go learn the Scriptures. I want you to learn the Scriptures inside, outside, up, and down. Don’t (just) memorize them, don’t learn them through commentaries, just learn them.
I want you to learn and understand the promises of God, and learn to trust God from day to day. Not to look at your life, and say, “I have works, so I am saved.” Not to look at your life and say, “I’m a hypocrite, my witness is not good, I must try harder to really be saved, to have saving faith.” Not to look at your life and say, “If God wants me saved, He’ll do it, because He’s already decided anyway.”
In fact, God doesn’t want you to look at your life at all. God doesn’t want you to look at your faith, to examine it to see if its real faith or not.
God wants you to look at God.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:1-8
If you keep your mind on the flesh, or your sin, or some image of yourself as perfect person, you will become those things. The one immutable principle in God’s world is that you become what you worship. The Israelites became like stiffed necked heifers in the desert as they worshipped the calf; they became the calf. Don’t focus on the calf, focus on God. In all things.
You are a Christian from the moment you place your faith in Christ. You are a Christian from the first step you take on this road. But you want more than to attain another label in your life. The path to a right life is through faith in God’s promises, lived day by day. Including the promise that God will save you, and the promise that God will help you grow up into a person. That God will not leave you, no matter what you do right now, or in the future. That by believing in the promises of God, you have attained eternal life, and that eternal life is secure from the moment you first believe.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Put one foot in front of the other, starting right now.
Where Do I Start?
If you really want to understand how to live the Christian life —what its all about— then start with these three series of lectures.