Canadian Council of Churches - 75 Years

Rev Kevin Smith, Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec

Let me say at the outset that I am not aware of an official statement from Baptists on the issue of ‘Why should anyone be a Christian?’ So what I am writing reflects merely what I have heard from others along with what I have come to believe. This is extensive unofficial tradition.

One of the major reasons for becoming a Christian is to enjoy fellowship with God. 1 John 1 declares that fellowship with God is a distinct possibility for the Christian if we are prepared to be obedient to God. It flows out of atoning death of Christ for our sins which leads to purification. This fellowship is with our triune God. As such, it involves fellowship with God the Father (1 John 1:3), with God the Son (John 15:3-4; 1 Corinthians 1:9), and with God the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14; Philippians 2:1). 

The question that then may be asked is, "How can anyone cultivate this fellowship with God?"  The answer is that we can cultivate this relationship by desiring it (Psalm 42:1; 63:1); by believing in Jesus, God's Son (1 John 1:2-3); by meditating on God's word (Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:10-15; 2 Peter 1:4); by praying to God (Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16); by thinking wholesome thoughts (Philippians 4:8-9); by living a holy life (Psalm 15:1-5, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18); and by participating in the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 10:16, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). 

Another reason for becoming a Christian is so that we can experience peace with God. This peace is declared in both the Old and New Testaments (Numbers 6:26; Isaiah 26:3; Romans 5:1; Philippians 4:7-9; and Colossians 1:20). Jesus, God's Son epitomizes this peace. Isaiah 9:6 prophesies a coming Prince of Peace. Indeed, peace is proclaimed at His birth (Luke 2:14). It is promised to His disciples (John 14:27; 16:33). Peace is achieved on the cross (Isaiah 53:5; Colossians 1:20). Indeed, Jesus is our peace (Ephesians 2:14) and establishes peace within the church (Ephesians 2:15).      

A third reason for becoming a Christian is so that we can experience eternal life. We receive eternal life by believing in Jesus (John 3:15-16) and trusting in Him (John 14:1-3). Indeed, it is a gift from Jesus (John 5:40; 10:28). Various metaphors are used to describe this. We may drink of Jesus as the water of life (John 4:13-14), eat of Jesus as the bread of life, and eat of the tree of life (Revelation 2:7). We may receive eternal life by dying with Christ (2 Timothy 2:11) and by pleasing the Spirit (Galatians 6:8).

While eternal life can be experienced now (John 3:36 and 5:24), there is a sense in which it is still in the future. We have been promised it if we have received Christ (1 Timothy 4:8) and therefore have hope of it (Titus 1:2; 3:7). It is our inheritance (Matthew 19:29). Indeed, we will reap it (Galatians 6:8). We will rise again to receive it (John 5:28-29). Jesus will bring it to us (Jude 21) and we will receive it as a crown (1 Peter 5:4). As a result, we will reign in it (Romans 5:17).