Now that you have Believed
By David Cox
V2 ©2006 www.davidcox.com.mx/tracts
This tract may be freely photocopied.
A brief introduction to the Christian life for new believers.
First Steps for New Believers
(1) You should read and study the Bible daily.
(2) You should pray to God daily.
(3) You should be baptized in a good church.
(4) You should assemble in a good church.
(5) You should participate in the work of God.
(6) You should shun sinful habits.
(7) You should seek to serve God.
(8) You should honor God with your money by tithing.
Many new Christians begin to faint in the first steps of their Christian life. There are always hard times, but you should not give up. The dedication in your soul should be set to go ahead with God and with the things of God, and this is more important than anything else in your life. Put the priority of your life in God and the church. At times some people can hurt you very much, and at times it may even be a Christian brother or your own church. But you need to keep your vision set on Christ, not on men. Follow Christ no matter what the rest does.
Perspective: You are for God
We begin by putting a perspective over the Christian life. Many think that their salvation is like a fire escape, you never use it or think about it until there is an emergency, but it is always there. Salvation is something that touches our daily lives, and we can never forget about it and put it in a corner. Our relationship with God has to be something that is dynamic and alive. We are saved because we have this intimate relationship with God and because of that, those who do not want that probably are not saved.
1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
After all, God saved you, and now you are the possession of God. You do not belong to yourself, now you have obligations with your Savior and a relationship with Him. God saved you for so that you can glorify God, and announce his praises.
You are in the family of God
You are not saved because you stopped sinning or because of something you have done. You are saved because you accepted the solution or remedy that God has given for you sins, which is Jesus Christ who died in your place and suffered your punishment. You salvation does not depend on what you have done, but depends on what Jesus Christ has done for you. If you believe this, you will receive Jesus (John 1:12) and you have accepted the work of Jesus, without trying to insert some kind of work you have done to “buy” your salvation.
Now, God says that you are born again (John 3:3-6). In this spiritual birth God has adopted you to be part of the his family, so that you can become a son of God (“son” means that you are in the family, that you are like the father, in other words, that you now take the character of the family and that you identify with the family joining them in reunion.)
Once you are adopted into the family of God, you will always be part of it. God will not throw you out for any reason. You may do something that embarrasses the family, but that does not means that God will throw you out, but rather that God will correct and discipline you when you do something wrong. You have a relationship with God, and He will punish you as a beloved son (Proverbs 13:24; Hebrews 12:6-13).
The Spirit and Sin
Certainly as a new member of the family you understand that you have instant responsibilities; and this is something that takes time. When one is saved, he also does not understand the entire Bible. But God does a work. In this moment of salvation, God gives you a deposit or guarantee of this promise of God that He will save you in the final Day of Judgment. This is a guarantee for all eternity, and is really the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within your physical body. You received the Spirit of God in the moment you accepted Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:2-3, 14; 4:6; John 7:38).
Ephesians 1:13-14 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession que es las arras de nuestra herencia hasta la redención de la posesión adquirida
If you do not have the Holy Spirit, it is because you are not part of God’s family, and that is to say, you are not yet saved! The Spirit works in your conscience showing you what is wrong. He does this work by using the work of God that you have heard or read, so as to instruct and correct you in your road (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Because of this it is very important that you find a Bible and read it, study it, and meditates over it every day, and that you memorize it regularly. (We recommend a King James Bible and that you start in 1 John, then the Gospel of John, and then the book of Romans.) By the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will cleanse use daily of our sins (if we use it). We should pray daily to God. Make a prayer list. According to James 4:2 if we do not have what we want, it is because we do not ask God. By prayer, God can give us a victorious life, and we thank God for what He has done for us (this permits God to do more), and we worship our God.
But even doing this, you will sin. God already knows that you are going to fail and sin again on occasion. What should you do then? We should respond to the work of God in us. God says that when we sin, we should immediately confess this sin to God (1 John 1:8-10), ask forgiveness, and abandon it. God is faithful in forgiving us, but our attitude should always be that of seeking His pardon for our sins and to repent of them (leaving them off). If we do not do this, then because we are part of God’s family, God will chastise us as sons of God and because of God’s love.
God compares the person who professes to be saved and returns to sin as a dog that returns to his vomit, or a pit that returns to wallow in his own mire, or in his excrement (2 Peter 2:22). Once saved all should begin to be new, a new life, because you are a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). If not, perhaps you were not sincere when you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior.
You need to be baptized.
This does not save you, but is a testimony that you have already been saved by God. To be submerged in water means that you have died to your sins (which is that its influence does not dominate you), and to be raised up out of the water means that you have been born anew in Jesus Christ. Matthew 10:32-33 explains that the person who has fear of confessing Christ publicly is not saved. You must absolutely confess Christ publicly as your savior. Your faith can never be hidden and be real.
You need to join a good church
Decide to be a good Christian from the beginning and avoid grave problems because you halfway do things. In Hebrews 10:25 the Bible commands us that we ought to have the regular custom of congregating in a good church. You should congregate in that church Sunday morning and evening, and in their mid-week prayer service. Prepare yourself spiritually by arriving on time, without being sleeps, and pray and calm your spirit before the service. Carry a notebook and pen, and take notes of the sermons. Appreciate your church and your pastor 1 Corinthians 16:15.
There are two important concepts in evaluating a church: their actual conduct and their doctrine. Find a good church that preaches and teaches the gospel and puts a lot of attention and energy into evangelizing the unsaved, which has good sound doctrine, including discipline and separation from people and groups that are not of sound doctrine and conduct, and that their members have a good testimony, especially their leaders, preachers, and teachers. You should imitate the conduct and faith of that pastor (Hebrews 13:7) and if you cannot in good conscience do so, look for another church.
In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus explained to us that our salvation is realized by God in a community which is the church. We believe and show the evidences of our salvation by means of our love for our Christian brethren in our local church. 1 John 3:14 says We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that does loveth not his brother abideth in dead.
Your Friends and Companions
Once you are saved, you need to live a new life, and abandon the love of the things of the world (1 John 2:15). You should separate yourself from sin and this includes bad influences in your former life. You should decide to not frequent the places of sin, especially where you have gone to fall into sin before, such as bars. You should leave off bad habits such as drinking, smoking and dancing. The Bible tells us that a Christian should separate himself from these things of the world (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). You should pray for the salvation of your old friends but you should not “hang out” with these old friends that cause you to sin anew (such as old friends that invite you or tempt you to drink or take drugs). Seek out new friends that are good Christians, which can help you in your spiritual life.
Your service for God
God says that we are all priests in the New Testament so that we can do the work of God. God has different gifts that help the Christian minister before God (Ephesians 4:7). In Matthew 25:14-30 God identifies the unsaved person as that person who does nothing to serve God. It is very important that you seek and offer your services to God. God only uses clean vessels, so you should seek to live a clean (holy) life, and growth in your spiritual life so that God can use you.
Tithes and Offerings
Proverbs 3.9-10 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase. So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. (Luke 6:38) This promise of God is where many trip up in their Christian life. We should give a part of our income each week to the work of God. Moreover we should give love offerings besides that when God touches our hearts about something.