Wow! Isn’t that the question of the day in America? The question that is dividing Christian denominations. The question that is causing pastors to be arrested in parts of the Western world for hate speech violations. The question that (perhaps) will be the tool for persecution of the American church. If I didn’t type it myself I might think this is a trap! So what is the answer to the question? The answer depends on your source of inquiry. Perhaps we should go to the Bible for our answer? The Bible clearly gives us the answer to “the question of the day.” One of the basic tenants of Christianity is that the Scriptures are “inspired by God” or “God breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16) so let’s see what God says.
Can I become a Christian if I’m… _______?
The answer to the question above is a resounding “YES!” Your personal identity is of no consequence in becoming a Christian. Let’s give it a try; can I become a Christian if:
- I’m gay?
- My parents are Muslim?
- I’m an adulterer?
- I’ve committed murder?
- I am a cheat?
- I am a thief?
- I have bad thoughts?
- I’m a bad parent?
- I’m a deadbeat dad?
- I’m involved in a false religion
You get the idea and the answer is yes!
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 ESV)
The “whoever” in the verse above covers any bullet point in the list above as well as any other personal bullet point you might add.
How do I Become a Christian?
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)
This is beautiful imagery Jesus is using to express a spiritual truth. Jesus refers to Himself as the door in the verse above. The door to what? The door in which one must pass through in order to be saved. In other words, you must pass through the door to enter the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom which is made up
of those who have been saved by entering through the door. As you see in the verse above, once one freely enters the door they belong to Jesus Christ just as a sheep belongs to a shepherd. To enter is to trust Him with your life and follow Him wherever He may lead. Jesus continues with this analogy in John 10:
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
So you see – salvation or “being a Christian” is available to anyone and everyone. The kingdom of God is available to anyone who freely chooses to enter through the door. It does not matter who you are or what you have done If anyone enters by me, he will be saved.
Where do I find “The Door?”
Remember, in John 10 Jesus is speaking metaphorically to describe a spiritual truth. He is describing how mankind is able to be forgiven of all sin and enter into the spiritual kingdom of God. The bottom line is this, Jesus is encountered in many different places and in many different ways. He is encountered in sermons, books, personal testimonies, even dreams. When we encounter Jesus we encounter the one who paid the penalty for our sins and purchased a place for us in Heaven. In other words we encounter the doorway to the kingdom of God. Walking through simply means that we willingly accept Jesus for who He is King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). But this goes beyond agreeing to the information, to walk through the door you make Him your King and your Lord. Walking through the door means you trust Jesus Christ with your salvation and your life. You now belong to Him just as a sheep belongs to a shepherd.
Um… so what’s the Answer to the Question?
The answer is “no.” Remember, walking through the door means you agree to Jesus as King. You agree to trust the Good Shepherd not only with your salvation but also with your life. You cannot say “I accept you as my Lord…. but I’m doing things my way.” If you willfully refuse God’s instruction you have not received a Lord. You have not entered the kingdom of God by walking through the door. If you are going to insist on any personal identity that is outside of God’s will for His children, you have not entered through the door. Jesus came into the world so that we could have a new identity! If you have passed through the door your identity is that of a child of God! Not gay, not adulterer, not fornicator, not a thief, not liar, not fill in the blank. If you insist on holding onto your former identity you have chosen to stay in the world and not enter the spiritual kingdom of God. But if you enter, you are a redeemed child of God!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
What does this Mean?
For those who walk through the door into the kingdom of God, it means the old has passed away; behold, the new has come. Jesus has made all things new in your life. Let me tell you just a couple of things that this DOES NOT mean:
First, it does not mean that you need to tell gay people how wrong it is for them to be gay. It does not mean that you hate them, protest them, argue with them or unfriend them. Your greatest interest is to bring them to the door. What mankind needs is to walk through the door. You can however play a part by introducing them to Jesus / the door. Your role in the kingdom is not to change the behavior of those on the outside.
Second, it does not mean that Children of God never struggle with their former identities. But remember that deliverance is available, we are not slaves to our former ways. When children of God stray from kingdom ways (sin) they are violating who they rightfully are in Christ. Your role with kingdom people is much different than your role with people of the world. Christians are obligated to address conduct with other Christians (in love). Kingdom people are robbing themselves of the joy God has for them while straying outside of God’s will. The loving thing to do is to address it with our kingdom brothers and sisters as God’s Spirit directs us. Where the Good Shepherd leads us to is much, much better than anything the world offers.
If you are a Christian – continue to grow spiritually as a son or a daughter. If you are not – please consider receiving the love, forgiveness, acceptance, grace and mercy that is found by walking through the door.