Posts Tagged ‘born again’

Many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed. Acts 19:19-20

The Look of Repentance

If you were not aware, repentance has a look. That is to say if an ‘affected’ person is observed for a period of time, their ‘repentant condition’ would yield tangible evidence. Since repentance (by definition) is in part, ‘the relinquishment of any practice, from conviction that, offends God,’ it’s safe to say the absence of those practices would be impacting (and obvious) to the onlooker.

Has your look changed?

Consider the Bible passage above. We see a new group of born-again believers, who having been convicted by the Holy Spirit, destroyed the components of their sinful ways (one cannot easily return to that which he garagedemolished). Take note: there was no garage sale, no giving away, just total destruction. You could say in one sense it was a picture of baptism; the ritual washing whereby a Christian publicly demonstrates their new birth with and in Christ Jesus. The exercise begs the question: “Have you done similarly or are you still clinging to the relics of your illicit past?”

Have you done similarly or are you still clinging to the relics of your illicit past?”


At this point some might cry, “Foul,” that this is just another legalistic trip from the fundamental, Christian, right-wing fanatics. To these I would say you probably don’t understand Godly sorrow as it pertains to sin, repentance, and salvation (not to mention the practice of gleaning from wise counsel and/or the concept of iron-sharpening-iron). The Apostle Paul addresses the first issue in 2 Corinthians 7:9-11.

Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Paul points out the purpose and subsequent byproduct of Godly sorrow: repentance that leads to salvation. If you are a born-again Christian and have never experienced this brokenness, then there is a good chance you have not fully turned away from your sin. There also remains the likelihood that you have adopted excuses, false doctrines, and misguided people to justify the behavior and regalia to which you still hold fast. While I won’t question your salvation (that’s between you and Jesus), as an admonition I question if you are fully submitted to Christ’s will, His plan, and the sanctification process. It could very well be that in your attempt to fool others, you may only be fooling yourself.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;  And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24  


Sanctification speaks to two things primarily: separation unto God (holiness) and submission to the changes Jesus desires to make in us towards perfection. If you understand sanctification and comprehend ‘Godly sorrow’ through personal experience, then you will not see ‘repentant change’ as legalism, but rather as liberty afforded by God.

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

The good news is that sanctification is a life-long process; it lasts from the moment we’re saved until the moment we cross over to Heaven. At the time of our rebirth there should have been some sure signs of repentance — if we truly turned towards Jesus to follow Him, we turned away from something sinful. As we continue to walk with Him in submission, daily asking Him to search our hearts for things we’re blind to, He is faithful to reveal them, and like those redeemed magicians in Ephesus, we can heap up those things for destruction.

Are you going to Heaven?

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The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. Romans 8:16-17

Are You a Child of God?

Sadly, the term ‘child of God,’ (or children of God), is far too often misappropriated. While it is true we are all of His making, we are not all His children. God’s word is explicit: all people childare God’s creation (‘For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth…All things were created through Him and for Him.’), but only those who are born again are children of God. That’s not to say God doesn’t love everybody. John 3:16 reminds us that God loves everyone and desires that all become His children. But know this: the ‘child of God’ designation is reserved for a very unique group of people.

Some will disagree.

To them I lovingly say that this isn’t my opinion; it’s the Bible, so we should examine what God has to say on the matter.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13

This passage is pretty cut and dry: only born again believers have the right to be called children of God and subsequently are joint heirs with Christ Jesus. In fact it was Jesus who said,

“Truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ John 3:5-7

Born Again?

The phrase ‘born again’ literally means ‘born from above,’ signifying that it is something we cannot do ourselves; it’s 100% Divine. Our re-birth is in reality an act of God that we receive by faith; believing that God’s word (His Bible) is true and that God sent Jesus (our Lord and Savior) to die for our sins. Therefore (and because God has already declared it), we believe we are new creations in Christ, that Jesus did the work that we were unable to, and that it was all according to His Grace and His mercy. A born-again person is a saved person, and a saved person is a child of God.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9


If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons (Hebrews 12:7a)

This verse reminds us that children of God (both sons and daughters) are willingly stusubmitted to their Father; it is a choice freely made. But don’t let the word ‘chasten’ frighten you away. While it’s true that chasten does mean to correct by punishment, that’s only part of the equation. The word used here [in the Greek] is paideiva,’ and it covers the entire scope of training and education, relating to holy cultivation of both mind and morals, employing direct commands, admonitions, reproof, and yes, occasionally punishment for the purpose of correcting mistakes and curbing passions.  In this regard children of God understand that whatever God does to us, is a benefit for us.

“If you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Hebrews 12:8-10

God’s Words, Not Mine

But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Hebrews 1:8 

Bastard is not a term I would have used, as it seems a bit unkind, but God uses it to drive home the point. Plainly said, if you’re not a born again Christian, you are illegitimate and cannot be considered His son or daughter, and therefore, you have no Heavenly inheritance. I’m not bringing it up in order to mock or belittle you, but rather to offer you a change and invite you into the family of God. As His child, I have His permission to do that. All that is required of you is that you believe (you don’t have to understand).

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

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“If you would prepare your heart, And stretch out your hands toward Him; If iniquity were in your hand, and you put it far away, And would not let wickedness dwell in your tents; Then surely you could lift up your face without spot; Yes, you could be steadfast, and not fear; Because you would forget your misery, And remember it as waters that have passed away, And your life would be brighter than noonday. Job 11:13-17

As soon as I saw the pile on the floor I knew what I had neglected to do. It was obvious. Point of fact it was the odor wafting up the staircase that first alerted me. As I hunched over to remove the mound, it dawned on me that I had just been convicted by three of my senses. Little did I know I would soon be clapperclawed by a fourth.

“You forgot to let the dog out last night,” she said as I grappled with it .

My first thought was ironic, humorous and profane, and wisely I kept it shuttered behind my crooked teeth. Good thing, because it was also inaccurate, for there it was.

Nevertheless, my dear wife had proffered to me data the likes of which I was already intimately acquainted. Her remark was frivolous, unnecessary, unkind, superfluous, and just plain ol’ nasty. In that regard, my wife and Zophar have a lot in common (don’t tell her I said that, I’m just trying to make a point here).

There sits Job; scrapping at his leaching sores with a pot shard, bearing insufferable physical pain and mental anguish, as his good friend Zophar vilifies him, reminding him that he’s a sinner.

Thank you Captain Obvious

Job needed one thing and got something else entirely. Zophar blew it. He was there to affect sympathy, not enumerate the Law. Especially since it was not Job’s transgressions that brought about his condition—satan was to blame and God was allowing it for His divine purposes. Remember what God said about Job?

“Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” Job 1:8

Job was already a repented man and he didn’t need Zophar bashing him over the head with Bible facts. Job’s friends were guilty of taking the obvious truths of God’s word and verbally assaulting another believer with them (sadly, it is an abuse we’re often guilty of as well). The reality is that neither Job nor Zophar (or Eliphaz or Bildad for that matter) knew what was going on.

So Where’s God?

At this point we too may be asking the very same question Job asked, “Why God? Where are you in all this mess?” We even know how the story ends and we might still ask that question.

God Won’t Give You Anything You Can’t Handle

Baloney! Have you ever said that? Well stop saying it because it is not Biblical. Here’s the truth:

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Here are the keys words we need to cling to from this verse: Faithful-God-will-make-the-way-of-escape. Who makes the way? God does. Who is able? God is able. That’s foundational if we are to understand why God seemingly stands by and let’s His children suffer unnecessarily. God is faithful even when we are faithless (2 Timothy 2:13) and asserting that God stands by as the Body suffers is an outrageous notion. By proxy we are the ones who have stood by while He suffered.

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16

Satan is the Destroyer, Not God

Job’s story reveals two very important things about satan. First, he incredibly has access to Heaven. I don’t understand it and I don’t like it, but that’s the way it is. Second, satan can do nothing unless God allows it. That naturally begs the questions, “Why does God allow it?”

Here’s the Answer

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4

We are being perfected! God has a plan so magnificent that we will not be able to grasp its gloriousness until we’re with Him in Heaven. As for now we are as the yielding stone, hewn and finished at the quarry in anticipation of becoming a part of a superior dwelling.

…You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5

This is a Test

For those who are in Christ we have the assurance that this is all a preparatory test—from re-birth to last breath, everything we endure is purposed to refine us. The very good news is that every Born Again believer ultimately passes.

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. Wherever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for calamity, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed. Nevertheless, the Lord raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them. Judges 2:14-15

But Didn’t God Just Say to Israel….

“I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you.’” Judges 2:1b

God has not, nor will He ever rescind His promise to Israel and I firmly denounce anyone, Christian or otherwise, who suggests God is somehow through with the Jew. The Lord has unmistakably declared here, and many other places in the Bible, that He will never go back on His word. However, God is also clearly asserting that there are severe consequences for those who choose to sin. That Godly principle applies to both the Jew and the born-again Christian.

As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly. Proverbs 26:11

As an illustration we find a faithless Israel (in the first Book of Judges) disobeying the Lord. God told them to drive-out the Canaanites, but instead (on several occasions) allowed them to remain in the land as long as they paid taxes. In other words, rather than obey God, they saw an opportunity to profit from their circumstances; “Why fight, when we can make money,” they probably thought. As a result [God said] that these enemies would be a perpetual thorn in their side. Look around Israel today and we see just how true God’s word is.

The application for the Christian is exactly the same. We are saved—that is God’s promise to us, but in our disobedience; i.e., our choosing to sin, we heap consequences upon ourselves. Unless we repent, these consequences will plague us until the day we die. Yes, by the righteous blood of Christ our sin has been washed cleaned and we are forgiven, but our consequences will linger.

Nevertheless, the Lord raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them. Judges 2:16

Sin angers God; not because the activity is bad [necessarily], but because sin is bad for us. Our Father loves us and wants us not to suffer needlessly. However, having said that, God allows the consequences of sin to fester in that in them we might be brought to a place of humility; a place where we might say, “Enough is enough,” and return fully to the Lord of mercy and Grace.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Ever Heard This Lie?

“God will never give you anything you can’t handle”

Many read the 1 Corinthians verse and erroneously come up with that unfortunate paraphrase. That is not what the passage implies—God does not ever put us in a position where we must rely on our own strength. A more accurate summary of the verse would be that, “God will never give us anything that He can’t handle.” In other words, we find our way into a mess, a trial, or a temptation, and it is God who will always make the way of escape. If the Christian chooses not to escape (like we see Israel doing in the second Book of Judges), then we wallow in our despair not being of much good to the Lord or anyone else.

I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, so that through them I may test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the Lord, to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not. Judges 2:21-22

As far as Israel is concerned, the Promised Land will always be theirs—nothing they do or don’t do can revoke God’s directive. The same can be said for a Christian’s salvation—short of one hundred percent rejection of Jesus Christ on every level (blasphemy of the Holy Spirit), our salvation is intact. If however we opt to sin in our salvation, we can know with certainty (as Israel is our witness) that our sin will find us out and we will be perpetually plagued with the consequences of those sins—God will use the enemy to bring us to a place of repentance. It almost goes without saying that if we don’t want these kinds of trials in our lives, then we should not sin.

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None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness: I am the Lord…And you shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion. ’Do not defile yourselves with any of these things…’ Leviticus 18:6, 21-24

Sin Precedence

I don’t give precedence to one sin over another. God in His Word teaches that any singular sin a person commits, as it relates to causing separation from Him, is the same. I agree with that. Why am I raising the issue? Because today (in my Bible study) a few particular sins are singled-out and I do not want anyone to suppose I believe they deserve some kind of top-billing as the all-time worse sins a person can commit. They are in fact just sin.

They Are Sin

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

God said so (not me) and because I have some prudence, I agree with what He says—Call me crazy, I happen to agree with what God says in His entire Bible. When an individual refuses to accept the foundational premise that God’s Word is infallible, a door has been opened for that person to substitute that which he or she does not like with that which he or she does. I find it ironic that ninety-nine percent of the time (unsubstantiated embellishment) the parts of the Bible that are most often proxied are those things that define sin. When this occurs, the Bible is no longer God’s sacred Word, but an erroneous and artificial text of fallen man.

You might be a pervert if…

You habitually act in a perverse manner. In like fashion, you are a liar if you consistently lie and a murderer if you murder. The good news is that God loves perverts, liars, and murders; He loves all sinners—and so should we! We can see how a problem develops when the sinner determines his sin is no longer a sin. Once that happens—once we have deemed ourselves squeaky-clean, suddenly there is no need for salvation; we do not see ourselves estranged from God because of sin.

But I Was Born That Way

Have you ever heard someone use this excuse? Let me go on record and say I agree with you; you were born that way. We all were born that way, because we were all born sinners. The thing I will never agree with is that being born defective is an excuse to practice a deviate behavior. The serial rapist likely proclaims that he was born that way as well, but no one in his or her right mind would allow him to exploit that as an excuse, would we?

We Are a Fortunate Lot

Do not marvel that I said to you, ’You must be born again.’ John 3:7

Praise the Lord, we get a do-over. We may have been born one way, but God in His abounding love, mercy, and grace allows us all, by our choice, to be born again. The only thing a sinner need do is acknowledge that the sin they participate in is a sin. Every race has a start-line and for the Christian the event starts with recognizing who they are.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us… Hebrews 12:1


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