Tag Archive: born again


‘Also on the tenth [day] of this seventh month [there shall be] a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict* your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.  And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it [is] a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.

For whatsoever soul [it be] that shall not be afflicted* in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.

And whatsoever soul [it be] that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.

Ye shall do no manner of work: [it shall be] a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.  It [shall be] unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict* your souls: in the ninth [day] of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.’

(Leviticus 23:27-32)

*afflict oneself = to humble oneself

In the midst of the description of the Lord’s feasts, is the description of the Day of Atonement.  Interestingly, this day carried warnings that the other feast days didn’t:

‘For whatsoever soul [it be] that shall not be afflicted* in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.

And whatsoever soul [it be] that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.’  (Lev. 23:29-30)

This ties in with Paul taught:

‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.’  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The Day of Atonement foreshadows the salvation that comes to us, by Jesus Christ. As this passage shows, we are to come to God on bended knee–not proudly, with our head held high.  We do not come to God by being ‘good enough’.  Our own works could never save us. We have no right to come to Him, believing in our own goodness.  It is only when we are afflicted . . . humbled by the weight of our sins . . . that we are able to come to Him with the right attitude.

The idea that all we have to do is believe in Jesus and we’re saved, is missing the most important things:  humility and repentance!

The predominant theme among ‘Christian’ evangelism today: that we are good, and God was lonely and made us for companionship, and that He’s totally accepting of us just the way we are, is baloney!  God loves us, not because of any goodness we have, but because His goodness surpasses understanding.  Nevertheless, He requires that we approach Him with the right attitude.

As these verses foreshadow, all those who do not approach Him in humility and repentance will be cut off.  Likewise, he who trusts in his own works to justify him with God, will find himself cut off.

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I talk a lot about how the preTrib Rapture, Easy Grace, and Once Saved Always Saved doctrines are wrong.  I say that they preach ‘another gospel’ about ‘another Jesus’ and produce (so-called, self-professed) ‘Christians’ that are really more accurately called unconverted believers.  One such person recently (mockingly) asked me:

“So….how do you live exactly?? Do you know without a doubt where you would go if you died right now? or do you have some unconfessed sin in your life that wouldn’t allow you in heaven….like maybe anger that i detected in your last comment??If i believed the way you do along with catholics, coc, aog, and all the other RELIGIONS, i’d be repenting and trying to get saved every 5 min because i might say an idle word and Jesus could come or i could die the next second. No peace….”

First of all, unless one blasphemes the Holy Spirit, they are not going to ‘lose’ their salvation in 5 minutes.  ‘Lose your salvation’ is a term that this person uses, but I don’t like that term because it is misleading.  It gives the impression of a person setting something down and forgetting where they put it . . . or maybe that someone has taken it away.  It is a passive term that doesn’t convey any responsibility for what happened.  No one can separate us from God.  But we CAN separate ourselves from God.  Therefore, I believe it is more accurate to say that someone can FORFEIT their salvation.

God has given each of us free will, and that is not something that He takes away from us, once we become a Christian.  (Paul told of different people who had turned away from Christianity.  We ALWAYS have the option to stop living for God.)  Let me make it clear first, that if we are walking with Christ, his grace covers us from sins we commit without realizing.  His death covers all our sins, as long as we CONTINUE walking with Him.  But He doesn’t cover our sins if we turn away.  Now I’m not going to split hairs over what it means to turn away–how long a person can backslide without forfeiting their salvation.  That is a heart matter, and only God knows our hearts.  I DO know that we are warned in Scripture, many times, in many ways, to not turn away.

Free will is also why Satan works through deception.  He cannot SNATCH us out of God’s hand–no one can.  But if he can cause us to WALK AWAY of our own free will, and if we don’t turn back, then he has accomplished what he hoped for.  Make no mistake, God DOES allow our faith to be tested, to see if it is genuine.  Adam and Eve sinned, and the devil deceived them, but he was clever enough to be sure that the way he did it didn’t violate their free will, so they had to bear the blame.

Even though we have our own free will, when we become Christians we commit ourselves into God’s hands for safekeeping.  He will not let us slip away.  He will not cast us away because we commit a sin.  Once we become a Christian, His Spirit lives inside of us.  He will reason with us when we are struggling with sin.  He will give us the power to overcome it, and a way out of temptation.  He will warn us when we go wrong.  But if we don’t listen to His Spirit inside us, warning us, then we are guilty of willful sin.

When we sin willfully and don’t repent, God chastises us.  Every good father disciplines his children, God is no exception.  But if we remain stiffnecked and don’t repent, if we continue to ignore His discipline, eventually our heart becomes so hardened by sin that His Holy Spirit can no longer bring us to a place of remorse and repentance.  When we get to that point, our fate is sealed.  This is not something that happens in five minutes . . . maybe not even in five weeks, or five months.

Do I live in fear?  No.  In fact, it wasn’t until I realized that God loved me even when I was in the midst of my sin . . . and that He loved me enough that He would LET me walk away, if I really wanted to, that I really came to trust Him.  When I was still believing the false gospel and OSAS doctrine, I backslid more than once.  I can tell you from experience that I ALWAYS knew I was in danger.  It was THEN that I lived in fear, because the Holy Spirit clearly warned me of what was on the horizon

‘For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,   But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.’  (Hebrews 10:26-27)

With that misunderstanding hopefully out of the way, I will tell you what my life is like now . . .

I rarely think about, or speak about hell.  My personal belief is that trying to motivate people to love God by scaring them to death about hell only produces bad fruit.  God isn’t mocked.  He is looking for people who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth–not people who come to Him merely for a ‘get out of jail free card’.  But that’s another subject, perhaps for another post.

I walk in fellowship with God daily.  I pray all the time, about all sorts of things.  I feel strength, faith, and courage inside me, from the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Since I became a (fully converted) Christian, I am a new creation.  I have a new heart, and I have the mind of Christ.  I don’t spend my time being totally self-absorbed.  I don’t sin every five minutes.  (Incidentally, being angry is not a sin.  God is angry with the wicked every day.  Jesus was often angry with hypocrites.  Anger without cause is wrong.  Sinning because you’re angry isn’t excused.  But anger itself isn’t wrong.)

When I realize I have sinned (and it doesn’t take long, because the Holy Spirit lets me know), I repent.  I don’t repent because I’m scared of going to hell.  I repent because I hate sin.  I repent because I realize I’ve offended God.  I hate the break in fellowship that I feel, and knowing I’ve displeased Him.  Because I have a new heart, I don’t want to sin.  I hate the things God hates, and I love the things God loves.  I walk in peace–deep peace–daily, because I’m walking in the presence of God and know that we are in agreement.

Yes, I know without a doubt where I would go if I died now.  No, there’s no unconfessed, unforgiven sin in my life right now.  As I said before, when I sin, I know right away.  And when I know, I repent.  If the sin is a bad attitude or unforgiveness, sometimes I have to ask God to help me with it–and He does.  But I no longer try to hide my sins.  I know that God is my Father, who loves me–not some angry judge who’s waiting for me to mess up so He can reject me.  I know He wants to help me overcome my sins, and doesn’t condemn me for them when I confess and desire to turn away from them.

Although mainstream churchianity talks about  Christianity being a relationship, not a religion (and that is true), most mainstream ‘Christians’ don’t really know God.  They imagine they belong to a ‘God’ who doesn’t require much from them, and bends to their will.  The ‘God’ they suppose they have a relationship with, is a ‘God’ of their own making.  They reject the parts of the Bible that offend them.  They reject the parts of God’s character that they don’t understand, and they lack the fear of God.  They may believe SOME of what they know about Him, and they may desire the things that He provides, but most of them are unwilling to make the sacrifice that He requires. The biggest proof of all is that the image they are being conformed to (as evidenced by their actions and attitudes) is not the image of God.

No one comes to God standing on two feet with their pride and self-esteem intact.  Awe at the power, position, and holiness of God, and the realization of our sinfulness and unworthiness, drops us to our knees.  We come to Him broken and sorry.  We begin our walk with Him in humility, gratitude and repentance.  We continue it the same way.  Arrogance is not a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Neither is ‘self-esteem’.  Our worth is in Him, not in ourselves.  All our righteousness is as filthy rags.  That doesn’t just mean what we DO, but also who we ARE, in ourselves, without Him.  The strength and assurance I have now is not rooted in myself–it’s because I know who leads me by the hand.

Most of us know that marriage is a covenant.  We do not become married by being faithful . . . or by loving, honoring, and cherishing the other person.  To become married, we must enter into a covenant.

Likewise, becoming a Christian is entering into a covenant with God–a blood covenant.  We do not become a Christian by faithfully serving God, being devoted wholly to Him, or keeping His commandments.  We become a Christian by repenting and accepting Jesus’ blood, that was shed on our behalf.

But few would argue, that although we do not become married through faithfulness, or loving, honoring, and cherishing our spouse, that is how we remain married!  If we fail to do the things we have promised, we make the covenant of no effect.  The Scriptures make it clear that if we are not faithful to our spouse, unless they choose to forgive us and give us another chance, we have irretrievably broken the marriage covenant.

Likewise, although we do not become a Christian by faithfulness, and obedience to God’s commandments, that is how we remain in covenant with Him.  Although He hates divorce . . . although He is longsuffering and forgiving . . . if we break His covenant and fail to repent, we eventually reach the end of His grace.

Although a couple is not considered married until the covenant is entered through the proper ritual and before witnesses, from the time that a woman accepts the man’s proposal of marriage, the covenant is entered into, and its standards are expected to be upheld.  The engagement period is a probationary period, so to speak.

What wise person would proceed to marry someone who was unfaithful to them during the engagement period . . . or who became neglectful or abusive?  But, if they loved the other person very much, and had hopes that their behavior would change, they would postpone the marriage until they were certain that the other person had matured enough in character to be able to uphold the covenant.

If a wise and forgiving man loved a harlot very much, and wanted to have her as a loving, faithful wife, he would have a long engagement and would work with her (or have someone else work with her) to bring her to repentance, and to train her in the ways of faithfulness and love.

We are very much like that harlot, and the Lord is like a forgiving man who loves us very much.  But He is wise.  He knows that for us to have a marriage of love, faithfulness, and contentment, someone is going to have to work with us, to train us in the ways of righteousness and faithfulness.

While we are here on Earth, in these mortal bodies, we are engaged to our Lord.  When we become a Christian, we  have accepted His marriage proposal.  We know that He is longsuffering and forgiving . . . that He is committed to us . . . that He will do whatever He can do to mold us into a faithful, loving bride (but we have a role to play too).  But He is wise enough to know, that if we will not commit to being faithful and obedient to Him, there can not be an eternity of peace and love together.  If we prefer others to Him, we will not be content to be in covenant with Him alone for eternity.  If we do not share the same values . . . if we are not willing to be obedient to Him and accept His standards . . . then for us, an eternal covenant would be a prison.

The role of the Holy Spirit is to prepare us, during this engagement period.  He works in us daily, to bring us to repentance when we sin . . . to sanctify us  . . . to teach us to set ourselves apart in holiness for the Lord.  He works in us to teach us the ways of righteousness . . . to mold us, and to conform us to the image of God . . . that we might be a fitting bride for His Son.

‘ . . . even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.’  (Ephesians 5:25-27)

If we submit to the Holy Spirit, if we allow Him to work in us, He will see to it that we are ready . . . spotless and blameless . . . a beautiful bride who is prepared for her husband-to-be . . . when the wedding day arrives.

‘ . . . be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.’  (2 Peter 3:14)

People who believe that we are eternally saved the moment we profess our faith do not understand this essential process.  Although we are expected to uphold the covenant and live by obedience during our earthly ‘engagement’ period, we are not married yet.  To believe that we are now married to a perfect God, yet can live any way we please, is utter foolishness!  God is wise–He will not allow Himself to be unequally yoked!  Jesus is in no hurry.  There will be no wedding until the bride has been prepared!

If, rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us . . .  we begin resisting Him and fighting against Him . . . if we cease to uphold the covenant despite repeated pleading and warning from Him . . . we will eventually exceed the grace of God.  We will prove ourselves unfit to be His bride, and we will find ourselves on the outside, looking in, when the wedding takes place.

I listen to conservative talk radio, and it catches my attention when the host points out his record of being correct.  They’re right, they have been making accurate predictions–that’s why I listen to them!  I make predictions here too, and share my gut feelings about things.  But, I hesitate to say ‘I was right’ . . .

What are we really implying when we point to our record of accuracy?  Are we implying that because we were right in the past, we are special somehow?  Or that we will always continue to be right, and you should follow us? God forbid!  Can any of us really live up to that?

It profits me nothing, in this life, to be right about the things I am predicting.  They are things we’d rather not see come to pass.  I don’t write this blog for money or fame.  Being right about the  things I predict will probably paint a target on my chest.  Being popular would only make the target bigger!

The only thing I gain, if I am right, is credibility.  Credibility to tell you about the character of God, about what His Word says, about the deception that is everywhere you turn these days, about the sacrifice that Jesus made for those who will follow Him, and about how you can be one of His children too.