Becoming a Christian is not an easy transition. For many in today’s culture, they are coming to faith from a secular background. They may not have been raised in the church or haven’t been in a long time. By the time they come to faith later in life, they are often confused about what their new faith means and how to be obedient to Jesus. For this reason, new believers need to be guided by the wisdom and encouragement of the local church, which is what Sam Emadi discusses in his new book the 9Marks Questions series, What Should I Do Now That I’m a Christian? (Crossway, 2020).
In the book, Emadi discusses eight steps to Christian obedience that are important for every new believer to walk through. These are not “eight simple steps to a better you” prosperity gospel. They are aspects of the Christian life that should be implemented throughout the discipleship journey, only as the disciple walking in obedience to Jesus. The first two steps for new believers are crucial to take within the first few months of making a profession of faith: get baptized and join a local church. Walking in obedience to Jesus starts here. From there, grow the other aspects of the Christian life such as prayer, Bible reading, giving, discipleship, and personal evangelism.
Sam is gracious in his approach, writing from a pastor’s heart. He reminds the reader that the Christian life is one that is a journey and there is not an easy path to holiness. Discipleship requires perseverance in God’s grace throughout one’s lifetime. Yet, it is a journey that must be taken with other believers. Obedience to Jesus begins with personal faith but is continued and encouraged with the help of fellow disciples along the way. The grace of God sustains faith as the believer perseveres because the Lord will finish the work that he has started (Philippians 1:6).
What Should I Do Now That I’m a Christian is an excellent resource for discipling new believers either in a class or one on one. Emadi is concise but gets his point across in a gracious non-legalistic way. I would recommend this book to church leaders who are looking for a way to communicate the importance of Christian discipleship in a practical way to their local congregation. It provides a clear path of discipleship that is approachable and encouraging.