The Evangelical Universalist Forum

What Bible verses give reasons for becoming a Christian?

Someone posted on FB that we should repent “to avoid Hell and go to Heaven”… I don’t think any of the NT authors phrase it that way but how do they phrase it? I’m having a mental blank & google isn’t helping (only telling me how to become a Christian, not why!) :blush:

e.g. John 3:16 so that you can have “eternal life”

Even better, what’s the most common reason given??

Three off the top of my head:

John 3:36 - He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 4:13,14: Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.

Matthew 11:28 - Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.


I’d go with Romans 7-8. Sin leads to death, but the law of sin and death (that is: when I want to do what is good, I find that sin is always close at hand and I don’t do the good that I want to do but the evil that I hate – that, I do ) and of course, the wages of sin is death. We are all slaves to the law of sin and death in this world. The good news is that Jesus came to free us from the law of sin and death by putting the sinful flesh to death, in Himself, on the cross. “Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall save me from this body of death?! I think my God, through Christ Jesus my Lord! There is therefore now no condemnation (and the condemnation is to death) to those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” IMO, this is the gospel, though for most people it will require a little more explanation than that.

For the person who isn’t disturbed by his bondage to sin, I’m not sure that there’s a lot we have to offer yet. In time when sin has caused enough pain, and the person has discovered his complete slavery to it, THEN he’s ready – then maybe he’ll have ears to hear. I don’t really think (and I think you probably agree) that becoming a Christian so you can escape hell and go to heaven when you die, was the original intent of Jesus.


Thanks Dan & Cindy! That’s very helpful.

"]]To allow you to love your God who became human in order to understand you better than your own very best friend;/]
]To permit you to have pleasure deep inside your soul about the security of your eternal future;/]
]To give you an intimate relationship with God the Father (in fact he becomes your Divine Daddy);/]
]To permit God the Spirit to overshadow you with his conviction and power;/]
]To give you a sense (reason) for living;/]
]To bestow upon you the inestimable joy of knowing that Christ the Lord has made you acceptable to God by purging all your wrong doings (known and unknown);/]
]To embrace you with the glory far far beyond all the Michael Jacksons and the Beibers ephemeral glories. You shall receive eternal glory and partake in the Divine Nature forever./]We could go on and on and on…
Similarly [tag]SLJ[/tag] wrote a great list of reasons on Even without ECT/P there are still reasons to be a Christian but unfortunately neither included Bible verses to back them up, so who knows where they got their ideas from :stuck_out_tongue: :wink:

I also came across Every Reason to Be a Christian by Byron Bledsoe - the chapter The Costs and Benefits of Being a Christian looks very promising & does include Bible verses…

Mary Fairchild"]6 Reasons to Convert to Christianity:

It’s been 29 years since I gave my life to Christ, and I can tell you, the Christian life is not an easy, ‘feel good’ road. It doesn’t come with a benefits package guaranteed to fix all of your problems, at least not this side of heaven. But I wouldn’t trade it now for any other path. The benefits far outweigh the challenges. But, the only real reason to become a Christian, or as some say, to convert to Christianity, is because you believe with all of your heart that God exists, that his Word—the Bible—is true, and that Jesus Christ is who he says he is:

Becoming a Christian won’t make your life easier. If you think so, I suggest you take a look at these common misconceptions about the Christian life. Most likely, you won’t experience sea-parting miracles every day. Yet the Bible does present several very convincing reasons to become a Christian. Here are six life-changing experiences worth considering as reasons to convert to Christianity.

Experience the Greatest of Loves:

There is no greater demonstration of devotion, no greater sacrifice of love, than to lay down your life for another.

The Christian faith is built upon this kind of love. Jesus gave his life for us:

In Romans 8:35-39 we see that once we’ve experienced Christ’s radical, unconditional love, nothing can separate us from it. And just as we freely receive Christ’s love, as his followers, we learn to love like him and spread this love to others.

Experience Freedom:

Similar to knowing God’s love, absolutely nothing compares to the freedom a child of God experiences when released from the heaviness, guilt and shame caused by sin.

At the moment of salvation, our sins are forgiven, or “washed away.” As we read God’s Word and allow his Holy Spirit to work in our hearts, we are increasingly set free from sin’s power.

And not only do we experience freedom through forgiveness of sin, and freedom from sin’s power over us, we also begin to learn how to forgive others. As we let go of anger, bitterness and resentment, the chains that held us captive are broken through our own acts of forgiveness. Simply put, John 8:36 expresses it this way,

Experience Lasting Joy & Peace:

The freedom we experience in Christ gives birth to lasting joy and abiding peace.

When we experience God’s love and forgiveness, Christ becomes the center of our joy. It doesn’t seem possible, but even in the midst of great trials, the joy of the Lord bubbles deep within us and his peace settles over us:

Experience Relationship:

God sent Jesus, his only Son, so that we could have relationship with him.

God wants to connect with us in intimate friendship. He is ever present in our lives, to comfort us, to strengthen us, to listen and to teach. He speaks to us through his Word, he leads us by his Spirit. Jesus wants to be our closest friend.

Experience Your True Potential & Purpose:

We were created by God and for God.

We were created for worship.

, Louie Giglio"]Worship is the activity of the human soul.The deepest cry of our hearts is to know and worship God. As we develop our relationship with God, he transforms us through his Holy Spirit into the person we were created to be. And as we are changed through his Word, we begin to exercise and develop the gifts God has placed within us. We discover our fullest potential and true spiritual fulfillment as we walk in the purposes and plans that God not only designed for us, but designed us for. No earthly accomplishment compares to this experience.

Experience Eternity with God:

One of my favorite verses in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has “set eternity in the hearts of men.” I believe this is the reason we experience an inner longing, or emptiness, until our spirits are made alive in Christ. Then, as God’s children, we receive eternal life as a gift (Romans 6:23). Eternity with God will far exceed any earthly expectation we can begin to imagine about heaven:

Remember the young man who asked Jesus what he had to do to inherit eternal life? It seems he had served himself up to this point, and now he wanted to make sure of eternal life—just as many today respond to the promise of getting a mansion in heaven when they die, if they only “accept Christ is their personal Saviour.”

How did Jesus respond to the young man’s questions? He said, "You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’”

Jesus knew that keeping these commandments was not the way to eternal life. But He also knew that the young man thought this was the way. However, he was not sure he was doing enough. However, I think he was rather happy that Jesus didn’t mention any more commandments than these.

And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.”

When Jesus heard that,He said to him, "Just one little thing more. Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me.”

As Jesus had said elsewhere, there’s a great cost to discipleship. “Unless you forsake all that you have and follow me, you CANNOT be my disciple.”

The young man valued his possessions more than he valued the Kingdom of God. In one of Jesus’ parables He spoke of a man who found a valuable treasure hidden in a field. The man sold all that he had and bought that field. He knew that the treasure in the field was worth far more than all of his possessions. When a person understands that being a subject of King Jesus in the Kingdom of God is worth far more than all that he values most, he is willing to forsake all and become a disciple of the Messiah, Jesus. The reason for his becoming a disciple is not what he can get out of it for himself, but his seeing the absolute value of the Kingdom of God. Of course, he will have eternal joy as a result of membership in that Kingdom. But obtaining that eternal joy is not his reason for becoming a disciple of the King. His reason is his recognition of the value of Jesus Himself and His Kingdom.

Although it’s hard to do (especially not constantly/consistently), I agree Paidion. However, people usually aren’t prepared to even consider that if they don’t know what the benefit of doing so is. The phrase “inherit eternal life” would probably have little meaning to my next door neighbour - he’d probably guess it’s something to do with the science research into reducing ageing. Even if I unpacked it a lot, he’d probably be very skeptical that I was “selling a dream”, promising something unseen. Why should he bother sacrificing everything now, rather than another day? Are we “selling” a distant hope or something that makes a difference now?

Hi Alex,

I think the points Cindy and Paidion have made are important.

Timing is critical. If the Holy Spirit hasn’t been working on a person, when they aren’t ready, then the best arguments fall on deaf ears. How to determine that is difficult, but if after an initial discussion they aren’t interested or receptive, then there’s no point in forcing the discussion. The initial conversation may plant a seed, however, that will bear fruit when the time is right.

Both I think. Without the distant hope there is no partaking of it’s difference and tasting of it’s power now. I think the life of the age to come is given to us in fractional measure, as an earnest. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels…And one day, when the sons of God are revealed, that knowledge which now shines in our hearts, will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. Until then, I believe this “breath of life” of the age to come is meant to ‘write’ God’s ways and laws on our hearts now, so that we by the Spirit of Christ in us may cease to do evil and learn to do good.

I don’t imagine this will persuade your neighbor of his dire need to come to Jesus for life, I’ve just become convinced that salvation from our sin ‘sickness’ now and the hope of the resurrection are two sides of one coin inside which we are currently. And I hope I didn’t take your question too far off it’s original scope :blush: , I know you asked it with respect to sacrificing now. Good intentions, I promise. :slight_smile:

I love y’all and much thanks for being here.

If anyone desires to come after me, let him utterly deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." Matthew 16:2

So many miss the main thrust of this verse. Yes it is a strong call to self-denial and cross-bearing with Christ, without either of which we cannot be His disciples. But the key thought here is, “If anyone desires to come after me…” Jesus makes a statement about His own worth that would be egotistical if He were no who He claims to be. The point is to pursue Christ so as to gain Him! Paul writes to the Philippians that he has suffered the loss of all things to be found in Christ, to know Him and gain Him. The persecution, suffering, and pain are all overwhelmed and overrided by our union with the Lord Jesus, our constant living in His presence, with Jesus within by the Holy Spirit. That is eternal life, to know the Father and Jesus Christ through the joining of our spirits with His Spirit. So why become a “Christian” (little Christ)? Because you desire Christ, because you desire know Him and be joined to Him in spirit, to experience His life and love and joy. You become a Christian because of who Christ is, and because what Christ has done :slight_smile:


I walked one day along a country road,
And there a stranger journeyed, too,
Bent low beneath the burden of His load:
It was a cross, a cross I knew.

“Take up thy cross and follow Me.”
I hear the blessed Savior call;
How can I make a lesser sacrifice,
When Jesus gave His all?

I cried, “Lord Jesus,” and He spoke my name;
I saw His hands all bruised and torn;
I stooped to kiss away the marks of shame,
The shame for me that He had borne.

“O let me bear Thy cross, dear Lord,” I cried,
And lo, a cross for me appeared,
The one forgotten I had cast aside,
The one, so long, that I had feared.

My cross I’ll carry till the crown appears,
The way I journey soon will end
Where God Himself shall wipe away all tears,
And friend hold fellowship with friend.

I’m sure there are better renditions than the following, but at least you can hear the tune (if you don’t know it):

When I was looking for music on the theme of Judas and response to the Gospel, I found some of the following hymns

The big issue I had with these hymns were the fact that there was no Jesus, no hope in them, just condemnation and fear. Now I think it is important to talk about the judgement and justice of God. But sometimes, with things like the hellfire and brimstone style of preaching (i.e. sinners in the hands of an angry God) is that I’m not sure how effective it actually is. There may be some who are scared by it and God may use to bring people to Christ, but I think there would be many who would not be moved by it and would shrug it off, particularly nowadays. It may be because I lean towards annihilationism/Conditional Immortality, that I see more people afraid of death or some aspect of it (be it the prospect of the unknown, or the shutting down of the body). Would the preaching of Jesus, who died and was resurrected to new everlasting life so that we could have hope that death does not have the final say be a good way to share the good news?

Some of my favorite verses include:

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:26).

I tend to view this freedom as a more accurate description of what Jesus meant by ‘everlasting life,’ although I do firmly believe that ‘everlasting life’ means Heaven, as well. But a person bound by their own shame and sin is neither free nor benefiting from everlasting life–which begins in the present. Christ tells us to repent, not so we can escape cosmic hellfire, but so we can begin living as God’s rightful children–unashamed at the past and at peace with the future–in the here-and-now.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).

In my mind, this verse has deep ties to the ‘freedom’ I mentioned above. There is something wonderfully refreshing about a religion that destroys hierarchy rather than reinforces it. And once again, this freedom comes through Christ alone.



I can only state that what really got me to start caring about Jesus was his message of ‘real love’ in the sermon of the mount.

It was an eye opener to me what real love really is about, it warmed me heart deeply. To forgive unconditionally, give the best to others, authetically care for enemies etc. There was no hatred, no emotional agony, no judgement, no jealousy, just honest caring.

I had really fallen in love with Jesus at that point and wanted to know what else he had to say and thats basically how I came to Christianity.

How wonderful. I remember reading Jesus’ words as a teenager and just being touched very strongly, that these words were truth and that Jesus was real. So for me, it was the gospels as a whole. :wink:

Hmm, I have grown an increasing aversion to proof texting, or just taking verses out without connecting them to the larger narrative, discussion or argument that is going on, particularly in a culture where the wider meaning and narrative isn’t known and grasped. It tends more than anything to confuse rather than clarify things, I would rather focus the person on the whole Gospel itself, the coming of the Kingdom of God and the new creation, defeat and death and renewal of humanity in and through the Incarnation (meaning not just virgin birth, but the entire life of the Lord Jesus, from birth, childhood, adulthood, ministry, teaching and bringing the Kingdom in acts of compassion, love, mercy, restoration and healing, showing who God is and what a true human is (which is what a human completed in the image and likeness of God should be), to the last supper, Cross, death and resurrection and the defeat and ransom of humanity from the power of death, confirming it’s destruction to come and immortality through the grace of God, and the completion of what it means to be human - Pilate’s 'behold the man, at the moment of the Crucifixion, to Mary Magdalene mistaking Jesus for the gardener - thus reminding us of Genesis 3 -, humanity is both restored and at last completed in Christ Jesus, the one who is the Image of the Invisible God, and the new life and renewal of the world has began, to which all nations are called, to the new Lord of the world whose authority is to be lived in love, service and self-sacrificial and self-emptying love of God, which is the power and rule of God in action, and use that as a witness to the world and those in power, to bring the new life into all situations and life.

If I had to pick some particular aspects to convey these ideas, it would be the Sermon of the Mount, in which I would focus on the term blessed might mean, which is translated from the word markarios, which in classical Greek makar was a word associated with the immortal gods, while the second syllable comes from kari meaning fate or death, having some possible relation to the Sanskrit word karma, of an action with consequences that determine your fate. Add kari the negative prefix ma, and you get makar and the adjective makarios, a word that means being deathless, no longer subject to fate. It is a condition both inaccessible and longed for by mortals, with advoiding death being one of the man project of mortal life, and fear of death the main fear of a great many people, and it was because of their immortality that the gods, the hoi makarioi, were regarded as the blessed ones, unlike human beings, they could do as they pleased without paying the price of death.

Thinking alone these lines, we can read blessed as deathless or immortal, or perhaps risen from the dead.


Risen from the dead are the poor in spirit…
Risen from the dead are they who mourn…
Risen from the dead are the meek…
Risen from the dead are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness…
Risen from the dead are the merciful…
Risen from the dead are the pure of heart…
Risen from the dead are the peacemakers…
Risen from the dead are the persecuted…

This, in this path indicates the turn towards the Life of God found in Christ, to partaking in the ransom from death and the participation in the divine nature itself through Jesus’ self-emptying and giving love, being risen up with Him out through and beyond the power of death into the very immortal Life of God Himself, and that through us this Life comes to all, and into all of creation itself (which as Paul reminds us is waiting, groaning of the sons of God to be revealed so it may share through humanity in the freedom from the futility and decay it was subject to).

Besides that, I would perhaps share Mark 10:32-41, a passage that gets to the heart of how the Kingdom of God comes, just how Jesus rules and what the life and the exercise of that rule that Christians live and are given to share and express looks like, particularly with the reminder that those who were at the Lord’s right and left when He did come into His Kingdom was the two thieves crucified at his right and left, where He was crowned and declared King, truly John and James had no idea what they were asking for then (and what humanity truly alive should look and function like):

'They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33 “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

“We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

And also the entire narrative of the Last Supper (probably including the Passion and Resurrection narratives as well) and focus on a few aspects, one that partaking in the Supper, the Eucharist and the life of the Messiah is to turn and live that life, in giving the last supper and establishing the new covenant Jesus then washes the disciples feet. We are blessed and join in His Life and love, in order to bring that Life, love and reconciliation to all those around us, at all levels, to live and exercise the power of God Himself in service and self-giving, self-empty love, which is the very immortal Life of God Himself. We are blessed to bless and be a blessing to all those around us, and to all creation, we are justified to justify, and bring true justice and light into the dark places, and to live the new commandment, to love one another as He has loved us, giving ourselves, even to death if need be, for those around us, knowing death has already been defeated and will be destroyed.

None of this is simple unfortunately, and requires far greater unpacking, but then like I said, the slogan style of just putting out one-liners and single verses is more damaging and dangerous I fear.

But perhaps the answer is much more simple, and yet also so much more harder, it is for us as Christians to truly grow and live and witness to this life and to bring and exercise the life and rule of the Christ in self-giving and self-serving love to all around, in the early centuries when there was no established new Testament, and many only had maybe one Gospel or epistle and thus with those were given the Gospel through the oral apostolic tradition, it was the life of self-less love and lack of fear of death that attracted people. The world had never seen anything quite like it before, people rushing into plague infected towns to nurse and save people who weren’t their kin or blood relatives, to whom they had no family ties nor obligations, no societal or cultural duties of hospitality and care, but disdained death and in love went there, and took in the poor and the despised. We can’t understand now just the effect this had on the cultural life back then, humility, care for the poor and compassion for those outside your kin network, these were not just rare, there were not considered virtues at all in the ancient world. Now they are, truly Christianity created a revolution that changed everything, and that from a crucified carpenter, whose followers disdained violence and embraced love, that perhaps more than any words will as it did be the witness we are supposed to bring.

Let us show rather then tell, as is the rule when making movies :wink:

Actually the whole bible is necessary because we are becoming the New Man in Christ.

The Old Testament shows the Old Man.

The Gospels show The Ideal Man, Jesus Christ.

The Rest of the New Testament outlines how the transformation occurs. Remember Paul is the pattern bridging the pattern to the Ideal Man.

Sometimes we get hung up in the pattern that is why we have to learn to be forgivers like Jesus.

The Guilt Trip Trap iis satanic so we need to learn to stop being so condemning and self condemning and Jesus teaches us that.

Universalists are probably the best at forgiving though…we won’t allow anyone to get trapped in hell doctrine which is really just a morass of unforgiveness.

It is also a blot on Jesus’ honor for him be portrayed as punitive when the truth is he is rehabilitative all the way.