When I was about twelve years old, I asked Jesus to be my personal Savior. I made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. I walked down the aisle of a church during the altar call, and shook the preachers hand. I was baptized in water, and became a member of the church.
I thought I had done everything that God required, that I was a Christian and I was on my way to heaven. I loved going to church, listening to the sermons, and singing the songs. There was only one problem. I wasn’t born-again. I wasn’t any different than I was before. I was still self-centered or self-absorbed. Everything revolved around me and my hopes and dreams.
God was good to me. He gave me a beautiful wife and three lovely little girls and I wanted to be a good husband and father.
That’s when I found out what I was doing wrong. I had never been converted, or regenerated, by the Holy Spirit. I was a Christian in name only, because I had not experienced the new birth.
I did everything I knew to do. But I didn’t know that God requires us to repent of sin.
I was sitting in church when I decided to turn away from sin forever. I told the Lord that I was going to follow him for the rest of my life, no matter what. That I was going to do everything he wanted me to do. And that is what the Bible calls repentance.
I didn’t walk down the aisle of the church again. This was something between God and me. That decision I made thirty-six years ago changed my life forever. God gave me a new heart, and he put his Spirit in me just like the Bible said he would.
That’s how I went from being a Christian in name only to being a born-again believer. And if you’re a Christian in name only, “you’re not far from the Kingdom of God.” You’re close but you’re not there.
When you repent of sin and follow Jesus, he will change you from the inside out. He will equip you to do the things he requires of you. He will give you the faith, love, joy, peace, and self-control you need to live for him. You will see the promises of God fulfilled in your life, and God will show you his favor.