Posts Tagged ‘born again’

Letter to the Editor: I Was A Cultural “Christian” But Was Not Born Again

To Lighthouse Trails:

. . . having a form of godliness but denying the power there of.

I was a cultural Christian, and I was baptized in the Baptist church that I was raised in. I was not born again. Sadly, it was departing from the faith; however, God used my evil for good. I was convinced that I was a Christian until I was convicted of my sin by the Holy Spirit. No one was present in my living room except the two of us. I was driven to my knees in repentance and pleading for a Savior.

I could have just as easily kept attending and kept up the appearance of acting like a Christian. I fear for the millions in this boat who are represented in Matthew 7: 21-23.

This explains why so many self-identified Christians, even evangelicals, believe so many false doctrines.

This explains why so many churches embrace humanism in sheep’s clothing. They would rather do good deeds to be seen of men than witness and make disciples.

This explains the currently trending missional wave.

This explains the eagerness to embrace the contemplative movement. They do not have the Holy Spirit so they embrace the counterfeit spirit instead.

T. Miller

LTRP Note: If you are reading this account above and believe you too may only be a cultural Christian and not a born-again Christian, we would be happy to send you a free booklet on salvation. Please e-mail us at editors@lighthousetrails.com. Your name and address will remain confidential.

Related Article:

What Does It Mean to Repent and Be Saved? by Harry Ironside

 

Ironside: Are You Born Again or Merely Trying to Imitate Christ?

Ironside (1876-1951)

Ironside (1876-1951)

By Harry Ironside
It is important for us to have God’s Word. If you do not remember a thing I say, if you will only get what is written here into heart and mind, it will be well worth while. For after all, as David says: “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple,” and Paul tells us that we are cleansed by the washing of water by the Word. The Epistle to the Ephesians, as you doubtless well know, carries us up to the very highest peak of Christian privilege. It is the letter that pictures believers as having been raised up together and seated together in Christ in the heavenly places. You could not get any higher, as long as you are here on earth, than Ephesians carries you, but, on the other hand, this letter is just as intensely practical as it is deeply doctrinal.

The first three chapters are largely doctrinal, being mainly occupied with our place, our position, and our privileges in Christ. They contemplate us as members of that new creation of which our risen glorified Lord is the Head. But the last three chapters are perhaps as intensely practical as any portion of the Word of God. Unfortunately, very often in our study of this Epistle, we stop at the end of the third chapter. We delight to read of our privileges in Christ. We glory in the fact that we have been made accepted in the Beloved, that God has linked us up eternally with His Blessed Son, but we are inclined to forget that privileges such as these imply tremendous responsibilities. So if we delight in the first three chapters, we, should be glad to let the last three search us to the very depths of our being. You will notice in this Letter there is a great deal about the Christian’s walk. Seven times we have the word “walk,” and once the word “walked.” Twice the reference is to our walk in our unconverted days, the way we behaved before we were saved, and the other six references have to do with the walk of the new creation, that which should characterize us now as redeemed men and women.

Both appear in the 17th verse: “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.” That is the way we used to walk, when we were unsaved. We walked in the vanity of our minds, just chasing after the vain empty things of this world, and we never found any satisfaction. Yet men and women all around us are living like that. Solomon tried it to the full and then gave his verdict: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity and vexation of spirit,” or, as it might be rendered, “Emptiness of emptinesses, all is emptiness, and a chasing after the wind.” That is what the men of the world are doing. That is what we were once doing, we who are now saved; we walked after the vanity of our minds, until God, in infinite grace, awakened us and gave us a sight of His Beloved Son. What a wonderful event that was! What a marvelous thing, when we were brought to see something of our lost, ruined, undone condition, as poor, guilty sinners going on to judgment, and then God turned our eyes to the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, and trusting in Him, our souls were saved!

“I once was far away from God,
On ruin’s dark and fatal road,
And little dreamed I’d see the day
When I should tread the narrow way.
“But while from God I wandered far,
And with His holy will made war,
My Saviour met me far astray,
And beckoned me to come away.
“He said on Calvary’s Cross He died;
A sacrifice for sin was made.
And all because He loved me so,
Then how could I do else than go?”

So that ended one chapter in my life; that ended the times past, when I walked in the ways of the Gentiles. You know what that means, don’t you? Let me plead with you, whoever you may be, if you are out of Christ today, don’t think to find satisfaction in a world that has never satisfied anybody. It has disappointed everybody whoever sought satisfaction in it, during all these vast millenniums, and you can depend upon it, it is going to disappoint you. But oh, that even today, you might turn to One Who never disappoints, to our blessed Lord Jesus, and find in Him everlasting salvation! Then you may be able to sing:

“I tried the broken cisterns, Lord,
But ah! the waters failed!
E’en as I stooped to drink they’d fled,
And mocked me as I wailed.
“The pleasures lost I sadly mourned,
But never wept for Thee,
Till grace the sightless eyes received,
Thy loveliness to see.
!‘Now none but Christ can satisfy,
None other name for me;
There’s love, and life, and lasting joy,
Lord Jesus, found in Thee.”

The apostle Paul to the Ephesians is addressing people who have found Christ and been found of Him, and yet he has some very serious things to say to them, because the remarkable fact is that salvation does not necessarily imply that one enters immediately upon full holiness of life. Salvation is the start, it is the entrance into a new life, and then we shall know, if we follow on to know the Lord and to walk in His ways. So the command comes: “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk.” You are not to be like the world: you are not to go on in the way you once did, “in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness of their hearts.” We who have trusted Christ have received divine life, and with that there come new cravings and new longings, and, thank God, new possibilities! Our outward ways are expected to be different because of the light that we have received. He is our Lamp, and will lighten our darkness.

A great many people make the mistake of trying to live the life before they receive the life. The hardest thing I know is to try to live the Christian life when you do not have it to live. There must be a Christian life first, before you can exemplify and manifest it. To try to live a Christian life when you have never been born again is just as hopeless as for a chimpanzee to try and live a human life. I have seen some chimpanzees that could copy things people do in a remarkable way. At a Zoo in Philadelphia, they once said to me, “Come along and see a couple of your ancestors!” I went along; there were two trained chimpanzees who had learned to mimic human beings to a remarkable degree. They wore clothes, sat at a table, ate and drank, and in a clumsy way handled a knife and fork. When they got all through, they settled back, and put cigarettes in their mouths, and a keeper lit them, and they looked to me exactly like a lot of our own people do when smoking cigarettes. I never was in such difficulty in assuring myself that there is no truth in Evolution! But although they could do all those things, they did not know anything about real human life. They did not know anything of the principles controlling men and women. They were simply imitators.

Many people imitate Christians, and try to behave like them. They do not know anything of the power of the Christian life. They have never been born again. “Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of Cod.” Some people are seeking holiness of life when they need to be born again. They have joined the Church, they have observed certain ordinances. They hear people talk of a deeper, more wonderful life, and they say, “That is what I want: I must go on and get into this richer, more blessed life.” They try and try, and never get anywhere, because they have never begun right. They did not get in by the wicket gate. You remember in Bunyan’s immortal Allegory how Christian is going along a road, and a couple of fellows come jumping over the wall. “Who are you, and where do you come from?” he asked.

“We come from the town of Carnal Security,” they say to him. “We are going to the Celestial City.”

“Well, you didn’t get in where I did,” says Christian in surprise, “I got in at the wicket
gate.”

“Oh, that is the old-fashioned way!” they reply, “we have a short cut over the wall. After we are over the wall, what difference does it make? You are in the way and we are in the way, and we are all headed for the same place. You’ll see we will come out just as well as you.” But they didn’t have the seal on their forehead. They had never been to the Cross; they did not have the robe of righteousness. You remember one fell over the cliff, and the other was lost in the forest. They never made their way to the Celestial City.

A lot of people get over the wall and not in by the wicket gate; never born again, they go striving for holiness, purity, and higher life, but it will be all in vain until they confess their sins in the presence of God, and trust the Saviour for themselves. They must give up all hope of righteousness in themselves, of being able to do anything to retrieve their condition, casting themselves wholly on Divine mercy. Then they are in the way, and can grow in grace.

The apostle talks to people in the way; be careful, don’t allow the spirit of the world to control you. In the world, you find people in ignorance, blindness, past feeling. The word “feeling” (v. 19 – it is a peculiar thing) this is one of the only two places where it is found in the New Testament. A lot of Christians talk so much about feelings that you would think it was to be found in every third chapter. Certain heathen here are “past feeling.”

The other place is in the Epistle to the Hebrews. “We have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” The word “feel” only occurs once in the New Testament. Paul was talking to the Athenians and said that God is not far from any one of us, “if haply they might feel after Him and find Him,” as “An infant crying in the night, An infant crying for the light, With no language but a cry.”

What are our words? “Trust,” “believe,” “receive.” When we believe God, there follows the happy, joyous emotion; no question about that, as we walk in fellowship with Him. The thing we are to be concerned about is not feeling, but trusting. Someone said: “Believing is the root, and feeling is the fruit.” So when we believe first, the joy comes. These outsiders are “past feeling, and have given themselves over to lasciviousness to work all uncleanness with greediness,” but you who are saved, “ye have not so learned Christ.” You have been linked up with a Risen Christ at God’s right hand, and He is the Holy One, the High Priest holy and undefiled. He says, as it were, Do not dishonor Him by linking any kind of impurity with His Holy Name. “Ye have not so learned Christ. If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus.”

Why does he say “Christ” in the one place and “Jesus” in the other? You see, you and I became acquainted with Him in the glory. “God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified to be Lord and Christ,” and He is there, the Anointed One in the Glory. That is where we became acquainted with Him. We did not know Him down here on earth as Jesus. We never had that privilege. We know Him up there in His glory. He, the glorified One, undertakes to show you and me how we ought to live. He undertakes to show us the truth as to holy living. Do you know that He does? He points us back to the life Jesus lived on earth. There is the truth as to holy living, fully manifested. There is the truth in Jesus. The Risen Christ says: Go back now and see the path I took through this world, if you want to find out how you should walk in the world. I have left you an example, follow in My steps.

What a searching thing this is! I can hear all kinds of stirring sermons, perhaps, and they may deal seriously with sin and all the rest of it, but I can bow the head and let it roll over, and say, “I do hope those folk behind are taking it.” But bring me face to face with Jesus, solely Jesus. Occupy my mind with the life He lived when He walked in this scene, and I begin to shrivel up. I say “Oh, dear, is that what a man should be for God? Is that the divine ideal? Is that what I ought to be as a Christian?” I see the truth in Jesus, and while it does shrivel me up, and while it does humble me, it stirs within my soul an earnest desire to become increasingly like Him. I want to walk as He walked. I want to be before God as He was when He was in this scene. So the risen Christ is teaching us the truth in Jesus.

(An excerpt of Harry Ironside’s book, Changed by Beholding – in public domain)

NEW BOOKLET TRACT – REGENERATION: “Ye Must Be Born Again.” by Harry A. Ironside

Regeneration: “Ye Must Be Born Again.” by Harry A. Ironside is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Regeneration: “Ye Must Be Born Again,” click here

RegenerationBy Dr. Harry A. Ironside

For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving diverse lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3: 3-7)

In this passage, we see what we once were, before we were converted. Verse 3 describes the lives we then lived. Verse 4 tells of the marvelous way in which God our Savior has intervened. He has revealed Himself to us in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have been justified and made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Verse 5 tells us of the work that takes place within every converted soul. Altogether apart from human effort, God has saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.

It is the word “regeneration” upon which I want you to fix your attention. This word is found only twice in our English Bible, and the word is never found anywhere else but in these two instances—here and in Matthew 19, verse 28, where we read:

Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

The word “regeneration” means a second birth or a new creation. In Matthew, the Lord was speaking of the earth’s new birth, when the present distressing circumstances will pass away and new conditions will prevail, at the coming of the Son of man to reign in righteousness over all this lower creation. That will be the time when men shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruninghooks, and the nations shall learn war no more. Then every man will dwell in peace under his own vine and fig tree. It will be the time when Messiah will be King over all the earth, and rule the nations with the inflexible iron rod of righteousness. That will indeed be earth’s regeneration, a new creation, a new condition of things for this poor world.

But in the epistle to Titus, the only other place where we have the word “regeneration” in the Bible, the reference is to the work that takes place in an individual when he is born again through believing the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Look again at verse 3, where the apostle speaks of our past condition, we who are now regenerate. In those days we were deluded by the devil. Our hearts were filled with unholy desires. We gave ourselves to many things that were displeasing to God and hurtful to ourselves. “We were sometimes foolish,” says the apostle. In spite of the fact that we are now regenerate, we are sometimes foolish still. How easily we give way to temptations! How readily we allow ourselves to come under the power of worldly things! But characteristically, the days of our folly ended when we came to Christ. Before that, we were indeed foolish. We were wickedly disobedient, following our own natural, fleshly desires, living unabashed in our sinful ways, dishonoring God’s holy name. Many of the evil things to which we gave ourselves obtained power over us because of Satan’s deception. He, the arch deceiver, had taken us captive at his will. In those days of our deception, when we thought of the Christian life, it seemed to us anything but desirable. We imagined that Christians must necessarily live very gloomy, unhappy lives, and that the only people who thoroughly enjoyed life were those who lived for the world and its follies.

But now all this is changed. We have been brought to know Christ. This is true of many of you. You heard the voice of God calling you to repentance; you turned to Him, confessing your sin; you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ; you believed the Gospel, and you have now become His children through “the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

Born of Water
In the account of our Lord’s interview with Nicodemus, as related in the third chapter of John, we are told how he startled the Jewish doctor of the law by declaring that he must be born again, born of water and of the Spirit. Do not make the mistake of supposing that “born of water” means baptismal regeneration. There is no such thing taught in the Word of God. Water, throughout all of John’s writings particularly, and also in many other parts of the Bible, is the recognized symbol of the Word of God, and this passage in Titus makes it perfectly clear. The new birth is by the Word and the Spirit. This is the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.

In John 4, we find the Lord speaking to a poor, sinful woman at the well of Sychar. She was outside the pale of respectability. He knew all about her, about all her failures, but His heart went out to her, and He desired to make of that woman a new creature. He did not talk to her in the same way as He did to Nicodemus. He spoke to her of the unsatisfactory character of all that this world has to offer, and in contrast with that He presented the preciousness of eternal life, and He told her that eternal life would be hers when she received the water that He would give. You remember His words:

Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13)

Now, whatever water means here, it means exactly the same in chapter 3, for here we are told that eternal life is received when we drink of the water that Jesus gives, and in John 3 we are said to be born of water and of the Spirit. To be born again and to receive eternal life are really one and the same thing. When we were born naturally, we received natural life; when we were born from above, we received spiritual or eternal life.

The Water of Life
The figure that Jesus used is not a new one. That is why Nicodemus should have understood better than he did. In Psalm 119, verse 9, David says, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” Jeremiah chided the people of Israel in the name of the Lord, saying, “They have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Ezekiel tells how God will sprinkle clean water upon those who turn to Him, cleaning them from all their idolatry and their filthiness, and He will take away their stony hearts and give them hearts of flesh. This is what He does when people are born again.

Farther on in this Gospel, the Lord Jesus says, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink” (John 7:37). He offers the living waters to all who will receive it. In the book of the Revelation we read, “Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely (Revelation 22:17). The water of life is the glorious Gospel message that comes down from the throne of God and flows out into the deserts of this world, bringing life and healing wherever it goes. In the book of Proverbs we read, “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country” (Proverbs 25:25). That is exactly what the Gospel is. The very word means good news, the good news that Christ Jesus came down from Heaven to save all poor sinners who will put their trust in Him. This is the living water. Receive it, take it into your heart, and you will be born of water and of the Spirit.

And with this agree the words of the apostle James. He says in James, chapter one and verse 18, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” How are we begotten? By the Word, the Word of truth. Then the apostle Peter tells us the same thing. He says:

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the Gospel is preached unto you. (1 Peter 1:23-25)

There it is. James says we are begotten of the Word; Peter says we are born again by the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever. And so, believing the Word, we receive the living Word. It is the Word that the Spirit of God uses in order to produce the new life.

The Water Cleanses
When we are born again, we are cleansed from our old sins, so the thought of washing is also connected with the Word. Think again of the passage I quoted from the one hundred and nineteenth Psalm: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” As we walk in obedience to the Word of God, we are kept clean and free from the defiling things of this world. This, too, is what Ezekiel emphasized in chapter 36, verses 25 to 27:

Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

This should all have been clear to Nicodemus, but he failed to understand it. Then in Ephesians, chapter five and verses 25-26, we read:

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.

So it is by the Word that we are born again and by the Word we are washed. The old things that were once so dishonoring to God are washed out of our lives when we trust in Christ. We should never again be characterized by our former habits and behavior.

Do not forget that new birth is something more than just accepting certain doctrines. It is receiving Christ and believing the Gospel, as a result of which we are created anew in Christ Jesus, and we receive eternal life with all its new and godlike desires. God expects of you who have trusted Christ something different from what was found in your lives in the old days before you were saved. Old habits should disappear, and they will if you let the Spirit of God have His way in your life. Do not be discouraged because you find you do not become perfect immediately. No Christian is perfect, but we are all going on to perfection. Those of us who have been converted many years have to say with Paul:

Not as thou I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

When you are converted, the Holy Spirit of God begins His work of renewal, and it goes on all through life—the renewing of the mind. The Spirit of God uses the Word, as we meditate upon it, so that our hearts’ desires are changed, and more and more we come to understand His will. As we walk in obedience to that will, we grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We may see from this how important it is that we daily study the Word of God and spend time before Him in prayer, looking to Him to open up His truth and apply it to our own hearts and consciences. If we are consistent and persistent in thus seeking to know the mind of the Lord, our lives will be transformed as the Holy Spirit works in and through us, giving the Word as we need it for our food, and using it too as water for the cleansing of our ways.

Before the blessed Lord went home to Heaven, He promised that the Holy Spirit would come to carry on the work that He had begun, and when He took His place at the right hand of the Father, as Peter says, “He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 2:33). He was referring to the Holy Spirit, who was acting in such mighty power on the day of Pentecost. He is the blessed Comforter who has now come to indwell each believer, and as we yield ourselves to His guidance, we are enabled to live lives of victory and to enjoy fellowship with our Father in Heaven.

Do not be content, dear convert, in days to come, just to look back and say, “So many years ago on such and such an occasion I was born again.” Do not be forever thinking of that happy day when Jesus washed your sins away. It is all right to sing that beautiful hymn. I love to sing it, too, but I do not want to have to look back to all my happy days. Every day ought to be a happy day, and will be if we go on in fellowship with God. “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” As you let the Spirit of God have His way in your life you will be conscious of the renewing of the Holy Ghost changing your affections and desires, fixing your mind and heart on things above.
Calvary
In the darkness, blindly groping,
Cursed by sin, I wandered long,
Christ-rejecting, vainly hoping
Peace to find in paths of wrong;
Till, while hastening to destruction,
Seeking that which is but dross,
Passing by I saw on Calvary
Jesus dying on the Cross.

I will love Thee, Savior.
Drawing near in awe-struck wonder,
Scenes most fearful met my eye;
Lightning flashing, rolling thunder,
Scoffs and groans of agony;
Lifted high ‘twixt earth and Heaven,
As a Lamb for sinners slain,
I beheld One, marred and wounded,
Crowned with thorns and racked with pain.

While I gazed He cried in anguish,
“Why, oh God, dost Thou forsake?
Why must I in sorrow languish?
Why the cup of Judgment take?”
Quick my heart gave back the answer,
For my sins His blood He gave—
He His life could not deliver
If my soul from wrath He’d save.

Broken-hearted, yet triumphant,
Fast His life-blood ebbed away,
As He cried! “My work is finished!
Now the sinner’s debt I pay!”
As the Roman’s spear-point pierced Him
From His side a crimson stream
Issued forth to heal the nations—
Plunging in, I was made clean.

My sins were laid on Jesus,
When He died on Calvary.

To order copies of Regeneration: “Ye Must Be Born Again,” click here

This article by Harry A. Ironside is an excerpt from his book, Great Words of the Gospel. Dr. Ironside’s writings are in the public domain and may be used freely. Lighthouse Trails offers two of his articles in Booklet Tract form, and they may be purchased at a low cost from our webstore.

A Word About Salvation Versus the Contemplative Way

cross on wall backgroundBy Ray Yungen

Knowing Jesus Christ is not merely religion or spirituality but is rather a personal relationship with Him.

Romans 10:2 speaks of those who have a “zeal for God but not according to knowledge.” Many contemplative writers describe a spiritual despondency they suffer before turning to mystical prayer as a remedy, and consequently they have an acute sense of spiritual failure that propels them into the waiting arms of the silence. In contrast, the Gospel presents a plan that is uniquely initiated by God.

Scripture clearly states that salvation depends entirely on the grace of God: “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). Furthermore, Christ’s death on the Cross for our sins, fully solidifies in our minds a tangible expression of the unearned and undeserved nature of our salvation. When Jesus said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30), He proclaimed in three words that our salvation depends entirely on the finished work of Christ on the Cross.

Let me therefore caution you in following any teaching that suggests that Christ’s work was incomplete or unnecessary, or that there are other paths to God. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Christianity is uniquely different from all religions in that it does not contain the erroneous premise that man is basically good (or divine) and consequently can earn his way to Heaven.

If you have never found the peace of knowing Christ, I urge you to read the first five chapters of the book of Romans and allow the Holy Spirit to draw you to what is being said and offered. The only prerequisite is to recognize your inability as a sinner to save yourself. Then, in simple faith, tell God you are now trusting Christ, and Him alone, to be your Lord and Savior.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)

A First Nations Cree Talks About “Living Waters” – From Darkness to Light

By Nanci Des Gerlaise

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (Revelation 18:4)

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. (Ephesians 1:4)

Living water flows and brings life whereas muddy water is foul, dank, and stagnant, and it brings death. Jesus Christ came so that we can have lives washed anew with the living water of His Holy Spirit and the Word of God. The Bible teaches that sin influences every part of our being from birth because we are children of Adam. Before rebirth, we are spiritually dead. The Bible says that when we become born again, He translates us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of Light. Everything is made new, old things are passed away, and we become new creatures. In His mercy, He saves us and opens our spiritual eyes:

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;). (Ephesians 2:1-5)

Salvation means to be rescued from danger and taken to a safe place.

When the Bible talks about the forgiveness of sin, the turning point is called justification. This means that God forgives us—the guilty ones—and declares us innocent because of the great exchange of our sins for Christ’s atonement that happened on the Cross.

This exchange, or justification, happens instantaneously; we don’t grow into it. That’s why it’s connected to the term “born again.” It’s a change from one state—being “unborn”—to another state—being reborn. The Bible also teaches that as we die with Christ we are raised with Christ (see Romans 6:3–9).

Once we are born anew, we grow in Christ. We don’t grow in being forgiven; we are already forgiven. We don’t grow into being born again; we are born again. But we do grow more and more to be like Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, through the washing of the Word of God, and through God’s hand and direction in our lives’ circumstances—both in blessings and in trials:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28).

This process is called sanctification. It’s also called walking with the Lord or walking in the Spirit. This continues throughout a believer’s life, and it’s not a “happy-go-lucky” superficial Christianity. More often than we would like, it involves suffering, trials, temptations, and sacrifices. Nevertheless, we can experience all these with the risen Lord’s victory and presence in our lives. And He has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
It’s also very important to realize that this is not a state of sinlessness. One of the devil’s most effective snares for believers is the temptation to pretend. While we are children of God, we are also at the same time imperfect, fallible human beings. The Bible teaches that every human being has a sinful nature, but that for those who believe, the Lord Jesus’ death on the Cross has destroyed that “old man” under Adam—that old citizenship in the kingdom of darkness. Colossians says:

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. (Colossians 1:13)

However, even though our citizenship in Satan’s kingdom has ended, sin doesn’t disappear. After our re-birth, a sinful nature is still active—the literal term is “flesh.” The good news, however, is that now the believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and by walking in the Spirit, a believer needs no longer to be controlled by sin (Romans 8:5, Galatians 5:16).

A new Christian is like an immigrant who has entered a new land and is unfamiliar with its laws and customs. And standing nearby is the devil trying to convince that new babe in Christ that he or she never really left, twisting the Word of God and hurling flaming darts (see 1 Peter 5:8).
First Timothy warns us that there are “seducing spirits” and “doctrines of devils” (demons) that deceive and cause some to “depart from the faith” (1 Timothy 4:1).

But the beautiful difference is that now, not only is the mighty and glorious indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit at work within us, He has given us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3) and is working to transform and to prepare us to come into the full inheritance kept in Heaven for us (Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:26–27; 2 Corinthians 3:3; 1 Peter 1).

God is in the process of renewing the mind of a believer and making him aware of what is pleasing and displeasing to Him. A great deal of the New Testament talks about putting to death the evil deeds of the body by the Spirit (Galatians 5, Romans 6, 8, Colossians 3) as well as renouncing and fleeing from the works of darkness. Repentance is a process that really means turning around in the mind and going in the complete opposite direction. And only God’s Word, through the power and illumination of the Holy Spirit, can transform our minds (see Romans 12:2). This process of sanctification can be difficult indeed, especially for those who have been deceived by Satan specifically in this area of the occult, which is so powerful and increasing in such dominance these days.
This is why it is so important to discern the types of “spirituality” we practice. And that is why the Bible continuously warns the people of God against involvement in worldly and demonic spiritual practices. Christians must separate themselves entirely from any spiritual practice that involves trying to create mystical experiences, something that is clearly not approved of in the Bible. Ephesians warns us:

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15–16)

Creation or the Creator – Who Will You Serve?

By Roger Oakland
(author of Faith Undone and Let There Be Light)

Saul of Tarsus was traveling on the Road to Damascus in order to persecute those who followed Jesus Christ and His Word. While his plan was to confront those who believed in Christ, he was shown firsthand the grace of God and was saved by Jesus Christ. This born-again conversion typifies what happens to everyone who comes into the family of God.

Paul’s spiritual eyes were opened; he came out of the kingdom of darkness and was ushered into the kingdom of light. He was delivered from Satan’s kingdom and ushered into God’s Kingdom—a Kingdom that lasts for eternity.

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. (Colossians 1:13)

The apostle Paul’s conversion experience was very dynamic and is recorded in the book of Acts, chapter 17. My own conversion was not as dynamic, but it is just as real. While not written in the Word of God, the Bible provides the explanation for why and how my life was influenced by the Holy Spirit. Since February 12, 1978, my life has never been the same.

The Scriptures teach that when light is shone into the darkness, there is always a resistance from those who would rather remain in the darkness than have light expose their sin (John 3:19). Even though the wages of sin is death, and God has warned mankind of this, men, women, and children are driven by the flesh and therefore not led by the Spirit. Those living in spiritual darkness will accept an evolutionary agenda that will play a major role in the formation of the one-world religion that will set up the Antichrist.

The formation of the religion of the coming Antichrist became a reality to me in the early 1980s. As with other areas of the ministry God has given me, the Word of God opened my understanding regarding this topic. First, the teaching I received from my mentors G.S. McLean and Lorne Pritchard gave me the foundation to understand what the Bible teaches about this coming one-world religion. Second, I could see, based on the study of biblical history, that the Bible reveals there is nothing new under the sun, and history repeats itself.

In the early ’80s, a trend, obvious to only a few, was happening wherein Babylonianism was being revived and called new. This supposed new religion for a modern world is only the reintroduction of the same old lies that blinded millions of people in the past as evidenced by history and archaeology. In other words, the practices of pagans of the past are being introduced into the present in the name of something new. This New Age is not new. The deception can be understood in light of the Bible and the lie that Satan told Eve in the Garden of Eden—“ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5).

Many people worldwide, influenced by Darwinian evolution, are being deceived because they believe that God does not exist. Now I can see that the indoctrination of evolution has had another role to play in the latter part of the 20th century up to the present. Because society in general has rejected the overwhelming evidence for creation, they are now willing to worship and serve the creation rather than the Creator.

This, of course, is clearly outlined in Romans, chapter one. The outline for the last-days religion accompanied by the last- days delusion that will produce the perilous times and last-days immorality and depravity is clear. In fact, it is already here.

One day a number of years ago, I asked one of the staff of a local Bible school, “Do you think it would be possible for me to teach a class to the students here exposing the New Age movement?” You could see by his reaction that he had no idea what I was talking about. When I explained what the New Age movement was about, he seemed flabbergasted.

“This is a Bible school,” he exclaimed. “We don’t want students knowing about such things!”

I finally came to the sad conclusion that no one seemed to care. The house was on fire, and they didn’t want to hear about it because they did not like the message or the messenger. After all, it was a message that did not appeal to the sensual appetites of carnal man but rather challenged and exposed the hidden things of darkness.

The Eastern religious belief that man is evolving towards godhood and that we are all connected to one another and to all of creation should be apparent. This heresy promoted today by well-known proponents of the emerging church were ideas that were planted from Eastern mysticism in the early ’80s as the propaganda being sold to the world, but not the church.

Now that we are in the 21st century, these same ideas are mainstream in the emerging church. The preparation that has occurred is like the frog in the lukewarm water illustration where the frog is cooked to death without knowing it as the water in the pot is gradually brought to a boil.

From the New Age warning, the ministry God gave me headed in another direction. As I traveled, I could see that the world was being deceived in two main ways—there is no personal God because of evolution, and everything is God because of evolution.

While these two monstrous deceptions would be enough of a challenge for anyone or any organization to stand up against, another great delusion met me wherever I traveled worldwide—a delusion severely impacting the church. Christians who had once believed the Bible were now looking beyond the Bible for new revelation and experience.

Standing up against this tide of a New Age, experience-based form of Christianity proved to be devastating to my family and me. Many friends, acquaintances, and even pastors who once supported the ministry thought I had gone too far. As a result, they chastised me, called me a heretic and divisive, and finally abandoned me. One even “marked” me (Romans 16:17). What’s more, few have understood that my intention has always and only been that we, as believers, walk in humility, contriteness, and repentance. Repentance is like the rudder of a ship that keeps correcting for errors in compass bearings, steering clear of crags and shoals. It is the way I want to live my life, and I would think that others would want to live their lives like that too. It is a small price to pay for all that Jesus had done for us.

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:20-21)


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