When Jesus of Nazareth's earthly friends asked Him to make clear the path to an eternal relationship with God, He did not give them a list of rules to keep or words to say or works to perform. Rather, He stunned them by saying, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). No alternate routes. No shortcuts. No exceptions.
So what exactly does it mean to follow Christ, to come to the Father "through" Him? The historic creeds of the Christian faith articulate the meaning in a condensed and memorable form. For those unfamiliar with the creeds or needing a modern language summary of the key points, we at Reasons To Believe offer this brief step-by-step outline.
To become a Christian means to exercise the desire and power that God Himself provides to...
REPENT of my sin, specifically to turn from going my own way in life as if I'm in charge, as if I'm the judge of right and wrong, as if I can determine what's "good enough" to earn God's favor. In other words, I must admit to myself and to God that He alone holds final authority over my life, over all life, and relinquish that rightful authority to Him.
BELIEVE, not as in wishful thinking, but rather as in being convinced by careful consideration and investigation, that Jesus of Nazareth is exactly the person He claimed to be—fully God and fully human—the only One who could actually be perfectly good in actions, attitudes, words, and thoughts. Believe that because Jesus did nothing deserving of death, He took the death penalty I deserve for my lack of perfect goodness and my propensity to serve my own interests rather than God's. And believe that His payment of that penalty was accepted by God, as confirmed in Jesus' bodily resurrection from the dead.
COMMIT myself to learning more, day by day, what it means to live for God, to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to care for others as much as I care for myself. Acknowledge His gift of the Holy Spirit within me, a gift to nurture my growth toward maturity as I relate to my fellow Christ followers and to all others around me. Trust Him to help me process and release any bitterness or lack of forgiveness—anything that could interfere with building healthy relationships.
SPEAK UP both in words and in actions to let others know I am a follower of Jesus and why. Invite them to come along with me in a life-long journey full of challenges and adventures, joys and sorrows, delights and sufferings, but never without God's comfort and care, and then, finally, to enter His "new creation" fully present with Him, where everything will make sense. All will be understood and seen as worthwhile.