We have many false converts in the Church today. People who have said a Sinner’s Prayer or had a warm fuzzy during a service and so think that they are now Born Again and on their way to Heaven.
Jesus, in His first sermon, states: “Repent and believe, for the Kingdom…” (Mark 1:15) Here’s the key to salvation – repentance and trust. The Bible states that without repentance there is no salvation. So, a warm fuzzy feeling or repeating certin words after someone will not save a person’s soul from Hell.
A person needs to recognize that they have broken the Moral Law of a holy God (Romans 3:23). They have broken one or more of the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20). That sin is the transgression of the Law (1 John 3:4) and that this sin separates a person from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). Then they need to come to know deep in their heart that the punishment for that sin is death (Romans 6:23).That’s the bad news. But, God loves us so must that He sent His Son Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin – death on the cross. His death and the shedding of His blood paid the price or penalty for our sin. The book of Hebrews states that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).
Then, as we come to realize what our sin has done and what it has cost God to redeem or purchase us back to Himself – with godly sorrow we will repent of our sins (2 Corinthians 7:8-10). We will change the way we think which results in a change of life-style. This is what “to repent” means. We ask the Lord to forgive us all of our sins and to come into our life and take over control so that we are “under new management” and really ‘under new ownership’. This brings about true conversion.
As I travel about from church to church preaching and ministering I see so many people who think they are okay with God. They have been taught that they are okay with God. Their have their “fire insurance” in hand. But, there is no fruit in their lives. They have not changed the way they think, talk, or act. They are the same ten years after their “salvation prayer” as they were before they ever said it. They apparently are not “rooted and grounded in [God’s] love” as Paul wrote we should be when truly converted. So, I am led to think – “no fruit – no root”.
1 John is a wonderful letter that outlines 6 major changes in a person’s life by which we can determine if they are truly saved or not. Six fruits we should be able to see and touch in a person’s life if they truly have had an encounter with the living God. It does one good to read through the 5 chapters of 1 John and examine your salvation. In fact, 2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us we should do just that. “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
Tomorrow I will list the 6 signs of being Born Again and comment on them a bit.