How do we become one of God’s people?

Bible Basics

by Bob Burridge ©2011, 2021
Lesson 6: How do we become one of God’s people?

So far in our basic studies we have seen that the Bible tells us what God wants us to know. It tells us about God who is the Creator of everything, and the Ruler over all that he made. We learn from the Bible that we do wrong things because Adam’s sin made us self-centered, immlral, and rude as his descendants. Only God can change our sinful hearts. This is why Jesus came. He came as our Savior to pay for the guilt of his people’s sins, and to credit them with his own goodness.

Now the question is: how do we become one of God’s people?

1) On our own we can’t trust in or really understand God’s promises. Our sin makes it so that we can’t do anything good.

In his letter to the Romans (3:10-12) the Apostle Paul quoted from the Old Testament. He said, “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.’ ” In verse 23 of that same chapter it says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

2) God rescues some by grace. Grace is when God loves us when we don’t deserve it ourselves.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (2:8-9) he said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

This means that it’s God’s grace, not our own goodness, that makes someone his child forever. When we trust in what Jesus did we know that God has changed us, that he made us able to do what we could never do on our own.

3) Faith is the trust God puts into our hearts by his grace. When we have this “saving faith” it means we are confident that Jesus paid for our sins and grants to us his goodness. It means that we should not trust in anything we do to become God’s children. Instead we trust completely in what God did, and we trust in that alone.

We become sorry for our sins and come repentantly in prayer humbly admitting that we are lost undeserving sinners. We thank God for his grace alone that makes us part of his family based on the work of Jesus who came and died to rescue us. This makes us want to worship God and to do what God says is right. We want to be good obedient children of God because we have come to want to show how much we love God for loving us.

4) When we trust in what Jesus did for us, God tells us that we are innocent of our sins. We are not innocent because we never did anything really bad enough to deserve eternal condemnaiton, nor that we did good things to become deserving of his love. We are innocent because Jesus paid for the guilt of his people by dying in their place. When God changes us by his grace, we discover that Jesus paid for our sins on the Cross.

What God does never fails. We can know that we are his people when we see that faith at work in our hearts, and when we are truly sorry that our sins have offended the God who loved us so much.

The Bible assures us of this in many places. In Romans 6:23 it says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Our salvation is a wonderful gift of grace. We cannot stop being loved by God once he has rescued us. We are not God’s children because we deserve it. We become his children because we trust that Jesus earned it for us when he lived and died in our place.

Lesson 7: What can we do to be stronger Christians?
Index of our lessons on Bible Basics
(Bible verses are quoted from the New King James Version of the Bible)

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About Bob Burridge

I've taught Science, Bible, Math, Computer Programming and served 25 years as Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Pinellas Park, Florida. I'm now Executive Director of the ministry of the Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies

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