The purpose of this study is to present a clear and comprehensive picture of how people became Christians in the first-century church, as shown in scripture. With so many different doctrines regarding salvation floating around the religious world, this is a very important study. Please note that this is a long lesson and may need to be broken down into two parts, depending on the needs of the person being taught. Some parts may be already well understood and thus can be quickly reviewed. Other parts may not yet be fully embraced and thus may deserve full attention and explanation.

Today we are going to study how a person crosses over from darkness to light, or how they become a Christian. It might be a good idea to ask them to remind you exactly how and when they became a Christian if you do not remember that from a previous talk. Refer to the “Big Picture” diagram (Attachment J) introduced during the “Sin of Man” study.

Attachment J: The Big Picture

JOHN 8:12

  • Jesus died so he could bring light back into the world
  • The whole purpose of Jesus was to help us be in the right relationship with God
  • Does that mean that everyone is saved? No. But it does mean that we all have the opportunity.

How does a person get from darkness to light? How does a person receive the forgiveness of sins and become a true Christian?

Let’s look at several steps in that process.


ROMANS 10:14-17

  • First step to getting right with God is to hear the Word


ROMANS 10:17

The more you hear the Word, the more you will believe


  • It is impossible to have a relationship with God without faith
  • What does it really mean to believe?

  • Two types of belief: Intellectual acceptance (e.g. I believe 2+2=4)

    Passionate conviction (e.g. I believe in equal rights)

God wants more than just intellectual acceptance, He wants deep, heart belief; to believe in who He is, His word, His heart, His cause

When we really believe like that, it will affect our actions


ACTS 3:19-20

  • Repentance (metanoia in Greek) literally means to change your mind. It’s a complete change of thinking that is shown by your change in actions.

ACTS 26:19-21

  • This is what Paul preached everywhere-that they should repent, turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.

  • Why would he call them to prove it by their deeds?

LUKE 13:1-5

Without repentance, there can be no salvation


ROMANS 10:8-10

  • We must commit to the Lordship of Jesus in order to be saved

  • Not enough to just stop doing what is wrong, we must also commit to doing what is right.

1 JOHN 2:3-6

  • If we claim to know God, we must walk as Jesus did
  • This fits in with the Lordship of Jesus study and the verses we looked at regarding what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.


This is a very misunderstood concept and teaching. Let’s take a look at several of the primary verses in the New Testament that teach about baptism.

JOHN 3:1-7

Being born again is necessary to enter the kingdom of God. Here, water and the spirit are closely linked with being born again

MATTHEW 28:18-20

Jesus commanded that his followers be baptized

ACTS 2:36-39

  • First-time non-Christian audience is addressed after Jesus left the earth

  • Question posed-“what shall we do?” (they had already heard the word and believed and understood Jesus was Lord)
  • Both repentance and baptism are commanded; not just suggested
  • Forgiveness of sins and receiving the Spirit take place when a believer repents and is baptized

  • Repentance precedes baptism or is done simultaneously, but not after
  • Baptism literally means “immersion” or “dunking.”

ACTS 22:14-16

Paul himself was commanded to be baptized in this same manner

ROMANS 6:1-8

When baptized, one is actually sharing in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus


Baptism is the point a person “puts on Christ.”


 One is buried with Christ in baptism and raised through their faith. It is essential that there be faith at that point.

1 PETER 3:18-22

  • Noah was saved by water, as the rest of the sinful world was buried in water
  • That water of Noah symbolizes Christian baptism
  • Baptism saves you, by the resurrection of Jesus and your internal pledge to God


This is a good summary of the whole plan of God concerning salvation. It is important to take all these verses and steps into account and not pick and choose some verses over others. Everyone who hears the Word, believes in Jesus, repents of their sins, commits to the Lordship of Jesus and is baptized for the forgiveness of sins is truly saved and is a true Christian!