Could this title be considered an oxymoron? Is it even possible for any person to say they believe but yet not be born again? The answer to this question is; yes. I often use these verses to make this point.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat: ( 14 ) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Matthew 7: 21
But everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven,
My heart, while very burdened for those that are outside the Church, lost and undone without Christ; Is most burdened for those that frequently go to our Churches, say they believe in Jesus Christ but are being deceived about what it truly takes to know him. When we read these two scriptures, we often assume that all the people that have joined a Church, especially the members of our Church, have chosen the (strait gate) but, if that is the case; why even mention (verse 21)?
In my studies, and desire to understand scripture, I see clearly the difference between these two terms: ( kingdom of heaven ) and ( kingdom of God ). Here, Jesus is speaking to his people, ( the Nation of Israel ). I only make this point because they assumed that just because each of them were born into the family or nation of Israel they were automatically pleasing to God. That statement was not true then and, just because you are a member of a Church now does not make you pleasing to God or even in his family.
Over the course of my walk with Christ; I’ve asked many people this question: are you saved? Have you been born again? In most cases their answer would be (I’ve been baptized, I’ve joined Church). At that answer, I’d reply, that’s not what I ask you.
Today, if you asked me if I am a Christian? My reply will always be this. I’ve been born again, washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. I’m solely dependent on him for my salvation.
My faith in Jesus Christ and his finished work on Calvary affords me the ability to boldly say: (I know I’m going to heaven when I die). Evidently, simply being a Christian doesn’t give one that ability. Because, in almost every case when I asked (Christians) if (they know) they’re going to heaven when they die? They always reply I hope so.
Contrary to what’s popular today, God, through the blood of his son, Jesus Christ does not offer (hope so) salvation. The only kind he has to offer is (know so). I understand that it is a growing process to get to that place. And it doesn’t mean that if you say (you hope) you don’t have salvation, that salvation is not yours. The things we say are simply words. Whether we say, (know so) or (hope so) is just words. The point is that salvation, the kind that God offers is (know so) we are just not taught to seek that knowledge and most people never study to know for themselves.
We lean only on the understanding that is offered or taught by our favorite local Church.
While I’m not a judge of any man’s salvation, I am very concerned about people that are unbelieving Christians. There are many people that say they are Christians simply because they have been baptized and have joined a Church somewhere.
Over the course of my walk with Christ; I have been to two homes of families to witness to the sons in that house. Both were young men that I had met while working on different jobs. Both of these two families were members of the same religion or Church denomination. In Both cases, when I began to ask the young men if they were born again, their mothers replied (yes, they are) before either young man could speak. Even though a religion or, Church denomination might teach that simply being born in a family that is a member of that particular religious organization and, no matter what your mom might say, it does not change the fact that each person must be born again.
With a heartfelt desire, I want my children to go to heaven when they die. However, no matter how much I might desire that, I cannot make that decision for them, neither can any Church. The term (unbelieving Christian) Is speaking to people with this mindset. Each individual must go through a process that is designed by God the Father. The act of being born again is not a question of how a Church or religious organization defines that act or, even a family member. I will concede that the fact that many Church members are not born again is because of the lack of truly allowing God, through his Spirit to do his work in the heart of family members or, Church members.
We often speak of (abortion) in a physical sense. (I believe) that Churches and religious organizations all across our country and, our world are committing (spiritual abortions) and don’t even realize it. Now, if you don’t like that term because it implies that birth has already began, how about (birth control)? That means we are doing things that actually stops spiritual birth from forming in the people that come to our Churches. Just how might we do that?
Before we get into this, I’d like to make a statement here. (I Believe) that filling our Churches with (unbelieving Christians) is by design. (I believe) that it comes from the top of our religious organizations, colleges and universities. It starts with the teaching and the control of what is being taught in our local Churches. In general, (I believe) that many pastors and Church leaders are ignorant to what is actually happening to even their own personal walk with Christ. Are they saved/ born again? Like I say, I’m not a judge but, that doesn’t mean I’m not concerned. The Bible tells us this:
2 Corinthians 2:11
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
I only show you that verse to ask: are you ignorant of his devices? And, has Satan got an advantage over you? When The Apostle Paul says (we) are not ignorant of his devices, to whom is he speaking? I ask that question because I believe that many Church leaders and members are ignorant of his devices, they just don’t realize where they stand with Christ.
If you ask the average husband and wife, what it takes to bring about physical birth; they can answer that question. The average pastor and Church member can answer it as well. But, what about be (born again)? What does it take to be born of the Spirit, born the second time in the same life you have? Can you answer that?
Jesus Christ looked at Nicodemus and said: (Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.)
MARVEL NOT THAT I SAID UNTO THEE, YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN.
Nicodemus was a teacher in Israel and (HE KNEW NOT THESE THINGS). Why would it marvel us that our spiritual leaders today don’t understand the new birth?
So, what does it take for you to be born the second time? One of the first things any person must come to an understanding of is this. In your flesh, no matter who you are or, what you think; God is not pleased with you.
As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: (11) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. (12) They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (13) Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: (14) Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: (15) Their feet are swift to shed blood: (16) Destruction and misery are in their ways: (17) And the way of peace have they not known: (18) There is no fear of God before their eyes.
This is every person that has ever been born. In our flesh we are completely worthless to a Holy and righteous God, just as we are. Although the law, and that, even of God; has its value; it cannot teach people to be Godly. Man alone, cannot be taught to be Godly. It has been tried and failed. So, what profit is the law of God?
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
No pastor, no Church leader, no university can teach you not to be a sinner. No parent can teach their children not to be a sinner. That is an impossible task. We all are sinners by nature. I agree, we all should seek to teach righteous living but, we must be willing to always point out that we are sinners and because of that undeniable fact, we must teach the importance of being born of God’s Spirit.
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
God the Father, is completely willing to justify us in our sin but, we must understand that we are unworthy sinners in need of what he offers. Look at the next verses:
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Christianty has become full of unbelievers in the sense that they have never seen a need to change anything in their lives to be called a believer. The Apostle Paul was a man that declared that he killed believers and also had them put in prison. In (Acts 9) we see the conversion of that same man. What if he never changed anything in his life? Would you mind explaining the difference in him and you, whatever your sin might be?
We must come to the end of ourselves, see ourselves for who and what we truly are and, then allow the Spirit of God to transform us into what he would have us be.
Being born again is a beginning. Just as you had a beginning in your first birth. It’s when you see yourself as a hopeless sinner and, completely unable to help yourself therefore, you call on Jesus and ask him to move into your heart and become your guide, your Savior. You confess your willingness to learn of him and conform to who he is.
Personally. I believe in eternal security. There are those that teach and believe that a person can lose their salvation after they are born-again. So, what is truth? Can a person lose their salvation? I’ve written something about this very recently. However, since we are speaking of unbelieving Christians, this might be a good place to once again show you some scripture to point out what it takes to be born-again.
I’d like to begin this by making this point. The pastor of any Church is like the captain of a ship. He is completely responsible for every person on that ship. He is the one that makes every final decision and, the only one that will face the consequences of the choices thereof. If we look, first of all in the book of Galatians we can see a picture of what often happens in Churches. In this book the Apostle Paul was the man that established this work. He started it on solid fundamental doctrine as laid out by God’s Holy Spirit.
After he departed, things changed. Look at:
I MARVEL THAT YE ARE SO SOON REMOVED FROM HIM THAT CALLED YOU INTO THE GRACE OF CHRIST UNTO ANOTHER GOSPEL: (7) WHICH IS NOT ANOTHER; BUT THERE ARE SOME THAT TROUBLE YOU, AND WOULD PERVERT THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.
It’s a couple of ways we can see that would cause this to happen. First of all. you can count on the fact that anywhere God’s Spirit is at work, the spirit of antichrist will be there as well. If you will notice, he says: (ye were so soon removed) speaking directly to the Church. I would say that the Apostle Paul, when he departed left a group of Elders in charge of that Church. We see in the Book of Acts that this was the way the business of a new formed Church was carried out. I always like to point out that the New Testament had not yet been written at this time.
What does that mean to a newly formed Church? That means that since there is no scripture to support truth ye; those men must be willing to allow God’s Spirit to speak to their hearts and yield to that Spirit. In the case of Galatia, they could rely on the things that they had heard from the Apostle Paul, trusting that what he taught was absolute truth and stand against any person that sought to teach anything different.
We can say, speaking of those two things being the man teaching and the whole congregation of people, somewhere there was a weak link. It’s very possible that one or more of the Elders that the Apostle Paul left in Charge was a plant from Satan, an antichrist seeking to tear down truth. He or they impressed upon the others and even the whole congregation that what the Apostle Paul had taught them was false therefore, upsetting the truth in the whole Church.
Here, if I asked you this one question, how will you answer it? The Apostle Paul said this: (another gospel). Then he says, (which is not another, but there be some that trouble you). How many true gospels are they? There cannot be but one true gospel. If we allow God’s Spirit to speak, that is the gospel we will hear!
Now, let’s look at this:
MY LITTLE CHILDREN, OF WHOM I TRAVAIL IN BIRTH AGAIN UNTIL CHRIST BE FORMED IN YOU.
Can Christ be formed in an individual if the true gospel is not taught? Actually, that solely depends on the individual. If the Spirit of God lives within your heart, then you can glean truth from any person that is teaching scripture and grow thereby. At the very same time, if a babe in Christ listens to false teaching they can easily follow the man teaching rather than understanding how to hear God’s Spirit. That can create the lack of spiritual growth and even handicap that individual for life! It also can set up the formation of a whole Church of unbelieving Christians.
Let’s consider the Church of Galatia. Let’s assume that every person there was born-again babes. After the departure of the Apostle Paul the Church began to teach false doctrine. The members of that Church remained babes in Christ as a rule because of the teaching they received. As time moved forward all those members died out or possibly left because they rejected the doctrine being taught. However, the Church was filled with people that called themselves Christian but, believed a false doctrine. That is what they taught their Children and all other people that came to that Church.
I used the term (false doctrine). The Apostle Paul used the term (another gospel). Personally. I believe that the term he used is far more effective. In many Churches Jesus Christ is often mentioned. We talk about him in Sunday School, in our Church services and so on but, the message we hear is not the same message that the Apostle Paul taught to the Church of Galatia. It’s (another gospel), just simply using the same name!
I also often make this statement. It’s very possible that the letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the (Church of Galatia), the Church never heard that letter. Although it was delivered to the Elders, they simply didn’t read it to the people. Let’s say you are a pastor; another pastor writes you a letter basically scolding you for teaching for teaching (another gospel) or write the letter addressed to your people, since you are the spokesman for those people, you get the letter. Once you read it, are you going to read it to your people?
It’s the same principal as (I STAND AT THE DOOR AND KNOCK) (Revelation 3:20). In that verse, Jesus Christ himself is seeking to get into the Church building but cannot!
I’d like to go back to the (Book of Acts), the early days of the Church to make a point here.
AND THEY WERE ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST, AND BEGAN TO SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES, AS THE SPIRIT GAVE THEM UTTERANCE.
The first point that I’d like to make here is this. Each of these people were individuals. We see that each of them was filled with thew Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues. However, it was all the same Spirit.
I’m going to make the argument here that every one of these believers, being filled with God’s Spirit said exactly the same thing. If you will notice, it says (as the spirit gave them utterance). As we look at this and study through this context, we see that there were:
AND THERE WERE DWELLING AT JERUSALEM JEWS, DEVOUT MEN, OUT OF EVERY NATION UNDER HEAVEN. (6) NOW WHEN THIS WAS NOISED ABROAD, THE MULTITUDE CAME TOGETHER, AND WERE CONFOUNDED, BECAUSE THAT EVERY MAN HEARD THEM SPEAK IN HIS OWN LANGUAGE.
Here, the Holy Ghost is revealing absolute truth to men that speak every language under heaven. He’s using the 120 believers to do so. If there were twenty people listening to the Apostle Peter as he spoke, all twenty of them spoke a different language, they all heard what the Apostle Peter said in his own language.
My point is that no matter what one of the 120 believers might have thought, it didn’t matter on this day because it wasn’t the individual that was speaking, it was the Holy Ghost of God. If you will continue to read, you will see that the Apostle Peter did become the keynote speaker, as he spoke every person understood all he had to say.
We must understand this: the very Holy Spirit of God has just revealed absolute truth to these individuals. The question now is, what are they, in their flesh going to do with that truth? Let’s change it a little. Let’s say you are a member of a Church that has exactly 120 members, you are being one of them. On this particular Sunday morning all 120 believers are attending Church. Your pastor stands to deliver the Sunday message. He, (your pastor) is on this day completely sold out to the will of God and speaks exactly the truth God lays on his heart. Each of you, as members hear this message. Now, what are you going to do with the message you just heard?
So, what actually happened on the (Day of Pentecost)? Let’s first see what has just come to pass. Jesus Christ, God, in a body of human flesh has just lived among men. Those men rejected him for all he said he was. They, by their own choice nailed him to a cross and watched until he died. After he died, they took him and laid him in a tomb. After three days he arose from that tomb and walked among the very same men that had placed him on the cross.
The Bible says in:
1 Corinthians 15:6
AFTER THAT, HE WAS SEEN OF ABOVE FIVE HUNDRED BRETHREN AT ONCE; OF WHOM THE GREATER PART REMAIN UNTO THISPRESENT, BUT SOME HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP.
Personally, I believe that the only people that actually seen Jesus Christ after his resurrection was those that believed.
On the day of Pentecost, God created a situation where his Holy Spirit spoke through the flesh of men and those men had absolutely no control over what was being said or done by that Spirit. We don’t have a record of what that Spirit said as those people spoke at that time. What we do know is that every person said the same thing and, every person heard the same message. Again, we can ask, what did they do with the message they heard?
You, as an individual, are you an (unbelieving Christian)? What was it that these people said? What did the multitude hear? Look at this:
Acts 2: 12-13
AND THEY WERE ALL AMAZED, AND WEREIN DOUBT, SAYING ONE TO ANOTHER, WHAT MEANETH THIS? (13) OTHERS MOCKING SAID, THESE MEN ARE FULL OF NEW WINE.
In the next few verses, we see where the Apostle Peter brings a message. The message he brings is a message that every person that is lost needs to come to and understanding of. That being that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary for the sins of the world, for your sin and mine. Although I wasn’t present on the day he was crucified, I was just as guilty of his crucifixion as any man there!. Every sinner needs to understand that fact first and foremost!
As far as what the Holy Ghost said to the multitude using the voice of these 120 believers, I don’t think it much difference that the average man speaking to the average congregation on any given Sunday morning. If your pastor is (sold out) to God’s Spirit, preaches a very powerful message to the people at Church on a Sunday morning, you, as an individual still have to be willing to hear that spirit! If not, then you are no different than those on the Day of Pentecost that thought those people were filled with new wine, mocking them!
In closing, I’d like to share part of my testimony to make a very powerful point. I am a (BELIEVING CHRISTIAN)! I’ve been born again, washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, completely trusting in His Righteousness for my eternal security!
As I make that point, the very moment that I became born again I had absolutely no knowledge of all that the pastor preached on that one Sunday morning. Now, consider this verse:
AND THEY SAID, BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED, AND THY HOUSE.
Here, the Philippian jailer that this verse is speaking of was at the very same place I was the moment I was born-again. Although we both had asked Jesus Christ to be our savoir, all that the Holy Ghost had said as the preacher was preaching, we had no idea, no understanding about any of what was to transpire in our lives.
This is the point. The very moment of a true born-again experience, the very Spirit of God instills something within the heart of the believer that creates a yearning to know and understand truth! To come to an understanding of how God works in the heart of every believer. On the Day of Pentecost, that experience was a beginning, even if the truth was rejected that day, it was still there for the taking for every person that had the yearning to understand.
When God first spoke to my heart, just a few Sundays before my salvation it stirred a yearning within me (TO KNOW)! The yearning (TO KNOW) hasn’t stopped until this day forty-five years later. That yearning has nothing to do with Church membership, baptism, any preacher, any opinion of any man, any doctrine that any person might teach. It has to do with a personal relationship with God’s Spirit that abides within my heart, a desire to (Know Him) and all that he is.
As we end this, I’ll show you one other group of verses that I believe sums up what I’m saying about unbelieving Christians, people that call themselves (Christian) but have never been born again.
AND HE SPAKE MANY THINGS UNTO THEM IN PARABLES, SAYING, BEHOLD, A SOWER WENT FORTH TO SOW; (4) AND WHEN HE SOWED, SOME SEEDS FEEL BY THE WAY SIDE, AND THE FOWLS CAME AND DEVOURED THEM UP: (5) SOME FELL UPON STONY PLACES, WHERE THEY HAD NOT MUCH EARTH: AND FORTHWITH THEY SPRANG UP, BECAUSE THEY HAD NO DEEPNESS OF EARTH: (6) AND WHEN THE SUN WAS UP, THEY SCORCHED; AND BECAUSE THEY HAD NO ROOT, THEY WITHERED AWAY. (7) AND SOME FELL AMONG THORNS, AND THE THORNS SPUNG UP, AND CHOKED THEM: (8) BUT OTHER FELL INTO GOOD GROUND, AND BROUGHT FORTH FRUIT, SOME AN HUNDREDFOLD, SOME SIXTYFOLD, SOME THIRTYFOLD. (9) WHO HATH EARS TO HEAR. LET HIM HEAR.
This is just a parable. We see that as the Sower sowed seed, they fell at different places. Each one of those places is a picture of (your heart). So, let’s look at these hearts. First of all. we see the fowls. You, as an individual just heard the true gospel of Jesus Christ. When you left Church, you met a few friends of yours and begin to share what you heard. Those friends told you that what you heard was a lie, you need to leave that alone. Therefore, you believed your friends and never went back. That seed that was sown into your heart was just devoured by (the fowls of the air)!
Now, I truly lie this second one and (I believe) that this one is more prevalent than we often think. (FELL ON STONY PLACES). I also this particular one can be compared to (FELL AMONG THORNS). Now, with this in mind, let’s find another verse to put with this one:
AND THE VESSEL THAT HE MADE OF CLAY WAS MARRED IN THE HAND OF THE POTTER: SO HE MADE IT AGAIN ANOTHER VESSEL, AS SEEMED GOOD TO THE POTTER TO MAKE IT.
As an individual, you can count on this absolute fact. Just as you are, the way you come to Christ, your vessel is marred, and it has to be completely remolded into God’s will. Ther are many people, most people that have very stony hearts. Very often, when we say we except Jesus Christ, we don’t realize what we say we are excepting. When we say that the sed fell on stony ground, you did hear that word, you know you need salvation. Now, the question is are you willing to conform, change who you are for his glory?
Far more often than we like to admit, this is what happens. We like to paint a picture of salvation but that’s all it is, a picture. We’ll change Churches, we’ll change pastors, we’ll even change scripture to be able to stay just as we are, and we’ll find a group of people that will except us Just as We Are! Even a Pastor!
There are hamburger chains that came up with a scientific way to make a hamburger. Every burger is basically the same with maybe a few exceptions. At the same time the flavor of the burger is very enticing to those that desire them. Many won’t even consider making their own burger with real ingredients.
Out Churches today has formed their very own version of this. (It’s scientific salvation)! The pastor is scientifically formed to suite each Church, the books they teach from are scientifically formed to teach the very same things. Do you realize that most Churches today will not even take a stand on what version of the Bible to use? Have it your way! You can use any version you like.
I normally never call any denominations by name. And even here I’m not trying to raise one above another but rather trying to make you see what has happened over the last few years. Do you realize that not many years ago that a Pentecostal believer would stand on the concept that a Baptist believer was wrong in their belief and also the Baptist believed the say way about the Pentecostal? The same way with Methodist, Catholic, Lutheran. There were even different divisions of Pentecostal believers and Baptist alike. While we still might see the different divisions of them all, there is never an argument between them!
The reason for that is simple. Many of them are filled with (unbelieving Christians). They are all alike and there is no noticeable difference in any of them! The stony hearts are all the same and the thorns have sprung up in each different denomination and choked out all of what use to be considered great conviction on the hearts of men and women.
The average Church today has become more about personal preference rather that the convicting power of God. And believe it or not most people that will say they believe will also stand before God with the same spiritual level of spiritual knowledge that they had the day they joined whatever Church they are a member of.
How about you? I always content that it’s all about the spiritual understanding of each individual. Do you know, will you confess before your Church that you know without a doubt that you’re going to heaven when you die? When and if the convicting power of God’s word fell on your heart did it fall on good soil and is it still growing and maturing until this day or, are you stuck in some denomination, still confused about what truth is?
I also wonder what Bible you choose to use, and why? One point I often make about the way we readily change scripture today is this. Not too many years ago we didn’t have very many choices as far as the word of God was concerned. Most people used the (King James Bible) I still do. However, If I had a doubt about whether what I was studying was truth or not, I won’t trust any man and his version of scripture, I’d try to go back to the original text in Hebrew and Greek to find the answers I needed.
Today we have the ability to do just that! Most people settle for a (Hope So) salvation because they never take the time to seek truth on their own. If you are a (unbelieving Christian) meaning you can’t say for sure that you have been born again, all you know is that you joined Church and was baptized, even confessed you believed in Jesus Christ but, you can’t say that you have ever truly been born again. don’t you think your eternal destiny is worth your time to seek to be truly born again?
This is not me speaking to you but, this is what scripture tells you to do:
2 Peter 1:10
WHEREFORE THE RATHER, BRETHREN, GIVE DIDIGENCE TO MAKE YOU CALLING AND ELECTION SURE: FOR IF YOU DO THESE THINGS, YE SHALL NEVER FAIL:
Let’s go back a couple of verses:
2 Peter 1:8-9
FOR IF THESE THINGS BE IN YOU, AND ABOUD, THEY MAKE YOU THAT YE SHALL NEITHER BE BARREN NOR UNFRUITFUL IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. (9) BUT THE THAT LACKETH THESE THINGS IS BLIND, AND CANNOT SEE AFAR OFF, AND HATH FORGOTTEN THAT HE WAS PURGED FROM HIS ALD SINS.
When we speak about (clay in the potter’s hand) this chapter, if you will allow God’s Spirit to speak to you, and mold each of the things mentioned in these verses within your heart then all denominations and religious beliefs will cease to be important to you. The true life of Christ will reign in your members!
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
2 Timothy 1:7