Born Again? Examine Yourself
Often people of varied church affiliations use the same terminology, but may mean something totally different by their terms. Multitudes around the world say they are "Born Again" and yet their life-style demonstrates that their definition is one contrary to biblical teaching. I write this today, with the deepest concern for those who walk in bondage to sin.
Jesus said "unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" [John 3:3] and "most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God". [John 3:5] We must be born again of water and of the Spirit of God to enter into God's kingdom in heaven. If we are not, we will not go to heaven.
Many people have experiences with Jesus and with the things of God, many even pray prayers to Jesus with tears, expecting Him to be the penalty for their sin, yet without their repentance there is no forgiveness of sin. [Luke 24:47] They go to church, "believe" in Jesus, and call themselves "born again". Many teach that if you pray a certain way or do certain things that you are "born again". Yet many lives remain untransformed by the Spirit of God. Many continue living after the flesh and the world. The Scripture says, "For to be fleshly minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace". The mind set on the flesh is hostile to and is at enmity with God. It is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [Romans 8:6-8] The Scripture says "therefore whoever is a friend of the world is the enemy of God." [James 4:4] Do you believe that the enemy of God will have a place in Heaven?
Jesus Christ has not said that the assurance of eternal life or going into heaven is to be based on a one time event in one's life. Jesus said we must be born again to a new life, a life controlled by the Spirit of God and the water of His Word. Many are born again to see God's kingdom. Many saw the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ and followed Him for a time, yet fell away from being His disciples. [John 6:60, 66]
Many today see parts of God's kingdom for a time, and they feel that they are eternally secure, yet walk in their own ways. There is eternal security in Jesus Christ, but not for the unbelieving, so called "believer". "Many will come to Him in that day and say 'Lord, Lord' (they believed that Jesus was their Lord) have we not done many wonders in Your Name?" (church goers) and then Jesus will declare to them, "I never KNEW you, depart from me, you who practice sin!" [Matthew 7:22-23]
Jesus Christ says we must be born again into a new life, one filled with the Spirit of God, a life where He KNOWS you! This means an intimate knowing between you and Jesus Christ the Son of God. We must KNOW Jesus as our best friend, as our Master and Lord, and as the director of our daily affairs. Jesus must know you as His obedient child. He must be your heart's desire. This means we will not continue seeking our own desires, but will seek His desires as bond slaves to Jesus. Knowing Jesus Christ in this manner, is eternal life! Jesus said, "and this is eternal life, that they may KNOW You, the only true God, and (KNOW) Jesus Christ whom You have sent." [John 17:3] This intimate knowing of Jesus Christ is NOT praying a sinners prayer, even though that can be the beginning of knowing Him intimately. Merely calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus to be saved or delivered does not mean eternal life, though calling upon the Lord can mean you will have eternal life. We must know Him just as a husband and wife know each other intimately. This kind of intimacy doesn't happen overnight. It doesn't happen by just calling one's name. Two must become married, move in with one another, and grow into a relationship. Only then do they KNOW one another.
To truly know someone you must live with them. Does Jesus Christ live in you? Is there intimacy between you and the Savior? Knowing Jesus is complete surrender and absolute dependency upon Him. Recently, my wife was witnessing to some church going relatives and asked them, "Is Jesus Christ the most important desire in your life?" She asked them, "Be honest, is He?" She told them, "This is a true Christian, someone who is always wanting to please Jesus". If we are to understand what knowing Jesus is and what Jesus was speaking of in Matthew chapter seven, we must first know His love for us. He proved His love for us by laying down His life for us. Therefore, we must love Him because He first loved us. Yet many will say "Lord, Lord" and go to hell forever. We must have an intimate walk with Jesus Christ! This is being born again!
Some churches teach that those who practice sin, those Jesus referred to in Matthew chapter seven, were never saved, others teach that they fell away. These doctrinal differences will not matter if you are not totally devoted to Jesus; the end is the same, a Christless eternity. Please, I beg of you reader, examine yourself as the Scripture says, Examine Yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove to your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, see if indeed Jesus Christ is in you, unless you indeed fail the test? [2 Corinthians 13:5] See if you are truly in the faith. Does Jesus Christ speak to you? Is He in you? If someone is living in you, wouldn't you be totally aware of His presence? Is your life totally devoted to Jesus Christ, or do you indeed fail the test?
Remember that no one who dies practicing sin goes to heaven. Do not be deceived by preachers with empty words. Anyone who practices fornication (sexual intercourse in thought or deed outside the marriage bond), idolatry (loving something more than God), adultery (sexual unfaithfulness in thought or deed of a married person), homosexuality (sodomy - sexual activity in thought or in deed with a member of the same sex in or out of a so called marriage agreement), stealing (taking something that does not belong to you), covetousness (desire enviously), drunkenness (drinking alcohol and being overcome by it), revilement (abusing verbally), extortion (obtaining something by force and by improper means), immorality (against what God calls right living), impurity (not being pure), sensuality (being devoted to pleasing the senses), sorcery (operating in witchcraft and abusing drugs), enmities (mutual hatred - hating someone who hates you), hatred (having hate), contention (contending, argumentative - given to arguing), jealousy (suspicious of a rival), strife (given to conflict), outburst of anger (violent anger - strong feelings of disapproval with meanness), disputes (argumentative - given to argue), dissension (in discord - disagreeable), factions (given to dissension and strife), selfish ambitions (self motive and eager desire for success or power), heresies (teachings or opinions contrary to the teachings of Jesus, the apostles and prophets), envy (resentful of another's advantage), murder (hating someone enough to put them to death in thought or deed, unlawful killing), carousing (boisterous, brawling, noisy and quarrelsome), lying (one who does not tell the truth, one who lies), abomination (anything revolting to God) shall NOT go into heaven. The Bible tells us explicitly not to be deceived about people who practice these sins. The Bible tells us that we can know for certainty that they will go to hell; that the wrath of God abides on all disobedience. We must all repent and turn totally away from all wickedness. If we do not obey God there is no hope of eternal life. [I Cor. 6:9-10, Gal. 5:19-21, Eph. 5:5, Col 3:5-6, and Rev. 21:18] [James 4:4-10] [Titus 2:11-12].
Remember, to obey Jesus is a walk of faith. Faith in Jesus results in a life which produces the fruit of the Holy Spirit. [Gal. 5:22-23] We do not work to be saved; we work because we are saved. We can only overcome sin by His grace, and God gives His grace to the humble. He will hear the heart cry of the humble and give them His grace which enables them to overcome any sin.
We must seek Jesus Christ as hidden treasure. If you knew that there was a chest of jewels, precious stones and gold, worth millions of dollars in a certain spot; you would dig and dig and dig there to find it. Is your relationship with Jesus Christ worth any less? We will find Jesus when we seek Him with ALL our heart. [Jer. 29:13] Jesus is hidden treasure, you must seek Him while He may be found. [Isa. 55:6-7]
Do you KNOW JESUS? Maybe you are a church goer and your church system calls knowing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord something different than "being born again." Be sure of this, either you know Him intimately, or you don't! If you know Jesus Christ and He is your Lord, you will obey Him out of a heart of love and devotion. Examine yourself, lest indeed you fail the test and windup in hell forever! Don't be one who says "Lord, Lord" and have Jesus say "I never KNEW YOU." Jesus Christ died to set you free from your sins and give you life abundantly, now, in this life and in the one to come. He loves you! Cry out to Jesus, and confess your sins with a true heart of repentance. He will forgive you and strengthen you to live a godly life. [I John 1:6-9]
(c) 1992 - Stephen Black
Stephen Black is an ordained minister and has been ministering to people leaving homosexuality since 1984. He has been on staff with First Stone Ministries since 1993, and can be reached at First Stone Ministries for pastoral-care discipleship and/or public speaking. stephen [@] firststone.org _________________________________________________________________________
I dedicate this article I wrote in 1992 to the perverse grace teachers empowering "gay Christianity" today - the former Exodus Leaders of 2012, and the Exodus board of directors 2012-2013, those in the GCN and ilk. It is not how you start this relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior, but how you finish this relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord that matters for eternity.
" Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences." 2 Cor. 5:9-11
May God grant those mercy and repentance to those who are stumbling blocks, causing many to falling away from a sincere faith in Christ in a pursuit of true holiness! May they find a path of true repentance and true faith in Jesus Christ as Lord before the end of their lives. 1 Cor. 9:24-27 & Matt. 7:13-28