How You Can Be Sure You Are a Christian

Commitment 1: Intellectual

Becoming a Christian requires a commitment of your intellect, based on the evidence of Jesus' life, death and resurrection.

By Bill Bright

Christianity is built on solid biblical and historical fact. To be sure you are a Christian, you must understand that Christianity is not a blind leap of faith. The truths of the Christian faith are documented by centuries of historical facts, study and research. Many scholars have dedicated their lives to investigating the birth, life, teaching, miracles, death, resurrection and influence of Jesus of Nazareth. As a result, we have overwhelming historical evidence proving all of the above.

The evidence includes writings of the contemporaries of Jesus whose lives were forever changed as a result of their intimate friendship with Him. Even Christ's enemies verified His resurrection through their conspiracy to pay witnesses to fabricate a story to explain why Jesus' tomb was empty.

Through these and many more convincing proofs, we know Jesus truly lived on earth; Jesus truly died; and Jesus truly rose again.

What Others Have Said about Christ

In the last years of his life, the German dramatist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, "If ever the Divine appeared on earth, it was in the person of Christ."

The Russian novelist and philosopher Fyodor Dostoevsky said, "Even those who have renounced Christianity and attack it, in their inmost being still follow the Christian ideal, for hitherto neither their subtlety nor the ardor of their hearts has been able to create a higher ideal of man and of virtue than the ideal given by Christ of old. When it has been attempted, the result has been only grotesque."

Dr. Charles Malik of Lebanon, former president of the United Nations General Assembly, said, "I really do not know what will remain of civilization and history if the accumulated influence of Christ, both direct and indirect, is eradicated from literature, art, practical dealings, moral standards and creativeness in the different activities of mind and spirit."

Napoleon Bonaparte, the famous French general, said during his exile, "I know men; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world, there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him."

Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States of America and principal author of the Declaration of Independence, said, "Of all the systems of morality, ancient and modern, which have come under my observation, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus."

What the Bible Says about Christ

More important than what others say about Jesus Christ is what the Scripture says about Him.

Jesus Christ was God in flesh and blood. He came to earth to die in our place. He willingly took upon Himself the death each of us deserves. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus enables each one of us to receive eternal life and free access to almighty God.

Years ago a brilliant young student came to talk to me following one of my lectures at a major university. He was the head of the Communist movement on the campus. He accused me of trying to brainwash the students because I was more mature than they. And he resented me for presenting my Christian views to them, views which were obviously diametrically opposed to his Marxist beliefs.

Instead of arguing with him, I invited him to my home for dinner. We had a good conversation about many topics as we ate. After we had finished dessert, I reached for my Bible."I would like to read something to you from the Bible," I said.

He reacted strongly. "I don't believe the Bible!" he declared. "I don't want to hear anything you read. I've read the Bible from cover to cover, and it's filled with contradictions and myths. I don't believe a word of it." I responded by saying, "If you don't mind, I'll read a few portions anyway." So I turned to the first chapter of the Gospel of John and read:

Before anything existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is himself God...Eternal life is in him, and this life gives light to all mankind. His life is the light that shines through the darkness - and the darkness can never extinguish it.

To all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God. All they needed to do was to trust him to save them. All those who believe this are reborn! - not a physical rebirth resulting from human passion or plan - but from the will of God.

And Christ became a human being and lived here on earth among us and was full of loving forgiveness and truth. And some of us have seen his glory - the glory of the only Son of the heavenly Father.

"Let me read that," he said eagerly. "I don't remember reading it." He went over the passage thoughtfully and handed the Bible back to me without comment.

Then I turned to Colossians 1, beginning with the 13th verse, and read:

For he (God) has rescued us out of the darkness and gloom of Satan's kingdom and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son, who bought our freedom with his blood and forgave us all our sins.

Christ is the exact likeness of the unseen God. He existed before God made anything at all, and, in fact, Christ himself is the Creator who made everything in heaven and earth, the things we can see and the things we can't...all were made by Christ for his own use and glory. He was before all else began and it is his power that holds everything together.

It was through what his Son did that God cleared a path for everything to come to him - all things in heaven and on earth for Christ's death on the cross has made peace with God for all by his blood.

Again, he asked if he could read that passage for himself. Then I turned to Hebrews 1 and read verses 1 through 3.

Long ago God spoke in many different ways to our fathers through the prophets... telling them little by little about his plans.

But now in these days he has spoken to us through his Son to whom he has given everything, and through whom he made the world and everything there is.

God's Son shines out with God's glory, and all that God's Son is and does marks him as God. He regulates the universe by the mighty power of his command. He is the one who died to cleanse us and clear our record of all sin, and then sat down in highest honor beside the great God of heaven.

By this time, the young man was very sober. His whole attitude of belligerence and antagonism had changed. So I read 1 John 2:22, 23:

Who is the greatest liar? The one who says that Jesus is not Christ. Such a person is antichrist, for he does not believe in God the Father and in his Son. For a person who doesn't believe in Christ, God's Son, can't have God the Father either. But he who has Christ, God's Son, has God the Father also.

When I finished reading, he was obviously moved. We chatted a bit. After a while he stood and prepared to leave. I asked if he would write in our guest book. He nodded.

After he wrote his name and address, he penned these words, "The night of decision."

Here was a young man who had come with fire in his eyes, full of resentment for anything Christian. However, through the simple reading of God's holy, inspired Word, the Holy Spirit brought this young man to the point of not only being able to intellectually accept what he heard, but to believe and receive it.

An Experience with a Hindu Scholar

Following one of my talks about the uniqueness of Jesus, a brilliant Indian Hindu scholar with a double doctorate - one in physics and one in chemistry - came to me angry and impatient.

"I resent you Christians," he said. "I resent the arrogance with which you say you have the only way to God. I believe Christianity is one way, but only one way. Hinduism is another. Buddhism, Shintoism and other religions are all ways to God."

As we talked and examined the Scripture together, he began to see that Christianity is uniquely different from other religions or philosophies. Christianity alone makes provision for man's basic need - the forgiveness of sin. He admitted that his diligent reading of the sacred Hindu writings and dutiful observance of the rites and rituals had never enabled him to find God personally. Finally, we got down on our knees together, and this young Hindu intellectual asked Jesus to forgive his sins and become his Savior.

To become a Christian you must squarely face the claims of Christ and believe intellectually that Jesus is God and died for your sins, was buried and rose again. You must believe He wants to come into your life to be your Savior and Lord.

Next Page: Commitment 2 - Emotional


Adapted from the Transferable Concept: How You Can Be Sure You Are a Christian, by Dr. Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Campus Crusade for Christ. All rights reserved.