Fall 2007 Magazine: If We Are Not Born Again, How Can We Reform?
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Contrary to the belief held by many Jews and Christians, God does not save us because we are members of a “chosen nation” or a particular religious sect. He saves us as individuals, as faithful believers and obedient servants of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Heredity and denominationalism have no merit in bringing anyone into His Father’s favor. We are all of one race: the sinful race condemned by our sins and bound to the pit of hellfire and eternal separation from God and His love.

But there is good news! The apostle Paul perseveringly and systematically declared, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8 NKJV).

Though you may belong to an enthusiastic and spiritual church, though you may be well known in your community for charitable deeds and morality, if you have not died to self and been born again, Christ cannot save you. Only though Christ’s grace and through His imparted faith can He save a penitent sinner.

Why, then, do some professed Christians believe that they can save themselves through their own effort and, eventually, allow Christ to take them to heaven resurrected? If this were so, what value was Christ’s sinless life and sacrificial death? Why did He come to this sin-infested planet to endure unabated abuse, shame, and death? Was it possible that He chose to make this infinite sacrifice because the Eternal Three considered this the only way to save humanity and show to the universe that God is holy, just, and merciful?

Once in Christ, those who genuinely believe in and truly love Him for what He has done for them will reveal His love in their daily lives. Once His enemies, religious pariahs, gross sinners, and proud elitists, having been changed into His image by beholding Him, are now His followers. Amazingly, Christ honors these brands plucked from the burning not only as His special representatives to this sin-filled world, but, later, as His redeemed, envoys to His vastly inhabited yet sinless universe.

And speaking of plucked, if we are connected to the True Vine, rich fruit will appear in our lives as the natural result of this saving relationship. Soon, others will see that a practical faith in Christ results in action. The true believer in and a laborer with Jesus will work the works of God. Ever and always, the true Christian knows that nothing can be done without the Holy Spirit. Christ promises, however, that, in and through His grace, His faithful can do all things (see Philippians 4:13).

Sadly, many Christians lose out in this life and in the life to come because they doubt Christ’s promises and reject the Father’s love for them. Why, then, don’t we address this issue directly by coming boldly to His throne of grace and ask God to work out His will in our life (see Hebrews 4:16)?

Are we too proud to say, “I am sorry” to God, our neighbors, our families, and ourselves? Why can we not, by living by faith, cling to the merits of Christ’s sinless life and be cleansed and saved by His blood, resurrection, ascension, and high priestly ministry? Does our foolish hubris separate us from His saving grace? Do we choose to allow others, ministers and laity alike, to misrepresent Christ, to prevent us from seeing God’s true character and, thus, from receiving eternal salvation?

Though the salvation process remains an individual work, many unenlightened souls turn to their priests and ministers to save them. Do they not know that one cannot be saved by another’s faith and experience? Every soul must be saved by the righteousness developed by and given to them by Christ.

Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls only by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD…Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall deliver but their own souls by their righteousness (Ezekiel 14:14,20).

Although nominal Christians attempt to manufacture or try to obtain this righteousness in other ways, they utterly fail. They try so hard to blatantly violate His teachings, when His Word so clearly states that He freely furnishes the penitent with His righteousness. Sin has permeated the Church. Why don’t we prayerfully explore this thought?

When we come as penitent sinners to Christ, He takes our load of sin, and, in return, gives us His righteousness. God now receives, pardons, and justifies the repentant, believing souls, and treats us as though we were righteous. He loves us as He loves His Son. In this way, the most sinister sinner may claim all that God provided in His plan of salvation through Christ’s merits: perfect obedience and works.

Having the Saviour’s attributes, we are transformed from penitent sinner to a child of God. We may then go forth to tell the world about our living, loving Saviour. And, having experienced the results of sin and having been relieved from its accompanying guilt, we may enthusiastically go forth to win others to the truth.

We as erring souls must take these steps in coming to the Lord:
(1) Repentance,
(2) Confession,
(3) Reformation,
(4) Restitution.

Then, prepared by the Holy Spirit, we forgiven sinners can lead others to Christ by teaching and directing them in the way of salvation. Without hesitating, without fear, we can humbly present Christ as One who left His heavenly throne, One who clothed His divinity with humanity that He might save a planet in rebellion and claim those who choose to follow Him.

If we tell others that we believe in Jesus, would they not expect our “new” faith to manifest itself in works of righteousness through His Spirit (see Titus 3:5)? Are works really necessary? How do works of faith relate to the fruits of the Spirit (see Revelation 20:13; Galatians 5:22; and Ephesians 5:9)?

If we say we believe in Jesus, how do we believe in Him? Do we believe that He saves us now and for eternity (see Matthew 11:28 and Hebrews 7:25)? Are we in Christ and He in us?

Do we believe that we can appropriate His righteousness to ourselves or that we can throw ourselves at Christ’s feet in true repentance, knowing, without a doubt, that He will give His righteousness to us?

When professed but nominal Christians say that they need only believe in Christ, they dismiss the fact that faith without works is dead. They don’t understand that actively fighting the good fight of faith is necessary or that we need to cling tightly to Christ and eternal life. If we were to take their mistaken notion further, no longer would we need to daily, moment by moment, deny self, take up the cross, and follow closely in His footsteps—to “die to self” daily.

If you truly repentant, you must come to Jesus, just as you are, and confess your sins without delay (see Isaiah 1:16-20). Then, you must believe the validity of Christ’s word, and, believing His promise, ask, that you may receive forgiveness. At this critical moment, you cannot remain reluctant, for it is a matter of eternal life and eternal death (see John 3:15; Romans 6:23; and 1 John 5:10-12).

When sincere desire prompts anyone to pray, rest assured they will not pray in vain. The Lord will execute His Word and will give the Holy Spirit to lead them to repentance. With prayer, the repentant sinner will, of necessity and love, mingle faith and not only believe in, but obey the precepts of His law. This trusting child of God will vehemently renounce all habits and associations that draw the mind away from Christ.

However, there is danger in saying, “I am saved.” Though, to a degree this is true, we could better phrase it, “Christ is saving me. When He comes for me, He will at last save me!” Even so, Christ’s transforming grace is sufficient to redeem and to save us. Nevertheless, we need remember that only as we believe, establish, and execute the principles of His Gospel in our lives can He claim us as His sons and daughters.

And, while contemporary humanity “survives” by living a life of distrust, attrition, and apathy, many among the religious counterpart are living the same way. Accordingly, half-converted ministers and laity alike require little from those who participate in church fellowship, those who do not mind Christ’s pardon, but refuse to separate themselves from their sins and restore what they have taken from others. Thus, the line of distinction between the Church and the world has not only declined, it has also become blurred. Consequently, our only safety is to believe that which is truth because it is true, not because it harmonizes with our preconceived opinions.

Moreover, putting our trust in feelings, impressions, or miracles is unsafe, for these are unreliable guides. God’s law, the law of liberty, is the only correct standard of holiness. It is by this law that Christ judges our character. And, unlike human laws, His law never changes. Like His love, His law is eternal. That is not to say that papal religionists have not tried to change it to satisfy their vice, to excuse their sin, and to assert their authority. Nevertheless, the law of liberty and love, Christ’s holy Ten Commandments, is what God measures each soul against (see John 5:22 and James 2:12).

Furthermore, if we refuse to allow Christ into our lives, we will reap the wages for our sins: the “second death,” annihilation (see Revelation 20:14). However, those who accept Him as their Lord, Master, and Saviour will receive their gift: eternal life (see John 3:16-21).

Nicodemus, the once proud coward, eventually learned what Christ meant when He told him, “You must be born again!” Taking Christ at His word, exercising the saving faith that comes only from Him, Nicodemus was not only justified by Christ, but also sanctified and transformed through faith. And, unlike many professed Christians who want Christ to save them in their sins, having seen what sin did to his Saviour, others, Nicodemus chose to stop sinning.

Knowing that thought precedes action and that we are sinners, why don’t we ask Christ to forgive our sins and to renew our hearts and minds with a new and vibrant spirit—His?
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Media Deceptions
Spiritual Deceptions
A Basis for Conflict
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Soft Rock Evidence for Rapid Washout
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The oppression of Protestants is widespread and consistent throughout history.
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Inspiration for these articles comes from Gideon and Hilda Hagstoz' Heroes of the Reformation
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