From the perspective of explaining the Christian faith simply and clearly, here are three key elements that can be compared to the three colours of a set of traffic lights – red, amber, and green.
In short, being a Christian is a belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and what He has accomplished for us to be re-connected with God and a ‘Christ-ian’.
These link to a 10-part course on Christianity Explained, which goes into more detail on the Christian faith's specific beliefs and factors that you can find out more about here, and as mentioned in these three basic elements.
So here goes, the three essential points of the Christian faith through the analogy of a set of traffic lights:
1. Red Light - Stop and Realise the Disconnection Between Humans and God
It begins with the understanding that God, as an almighty creator, is also Holy, loving, and perfect. He is the ultimate source of goodness that we can instinctively sense.
"O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." - Psalm 107:1
When He began human life through Adam and Eve, the idea was for us to live in perfect communion with God and reflect His glory:
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” – Genesis 1:26a
However, we were given a free choice to follow and trust God for love to be genuine and not automated like a robot.
With the devil offering alternative and selfish ways, Adam and Eve, and then everyone ever since began to go against God.
This is what we call sin – something against God and His perfect ways – which ultimately leads us to death. This means that we can’t connect with God anymore like the way we were intended to, and our earthly life will simply end at some point.
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" - Romans 5:12
2. Orange Light - Wait and Receive a Right-Standing With God by Jesus Christ
In heaven's laws and God’s character, this ‘sin’ issue needs paying for and resolving.
Therefore, as God Himself, Jesus Christ came as a human being and died a perfect non-sinner to accomplish this.
"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;" - Ephesians 1:7
We then need to repent of our ways and admit that we are sinful humans in need of a divine Saviour to pay the price of this before a pure and perfect God:
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 4:17
Following this, we accept in who Jesus Christ is and that His sacrifice is enough to save us, leading to us receive this new life and righteousness of Christ:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” – John 5:24
3. The Green - Go and Radiate Christ’s Power as a New Creation
God actually places His Holy Spirit inside us when we became a ‘born again’ Christian, and an internal-change occurs after we truly believe. This then empowers us to live and love God as He originally made us to.
"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." - John 3:5
Being a Christian does not feel like an official religion because all other religions talk about what you need to do and behave like to get back into God’s good books, so to speak. As a Christian, we believe that all these efforts are worthless and that you simply need to believe and accept what Jesus Christ did on our behalf and His right-standing to cover us.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." - 2 Corinthians 5:17
When this genuinely happens, we have the desire and ability to follow His ways then and begin a new life ‘in Christ’:
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." - Romans 12:1