10 March, 2016

Are You Saved, Or Do You Have Religion?

“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

This is a key verse when it comes to our salvation. The modern message has been “Just give your heart to Jesus, it’s that easy,” while the biblical gospel says the opposite. Jesus warned us to “strive” to enter the strait gate. The Greek word used for strive is “agonizomai” from which we derive the word “agonize.” It’s not easy to be born again. Like childbirth for baby and mother, it’s a difficult process of “mourning” and “heaviness.” Somehow, we've omitted that from our preaching and teaching today and as a result, we have many people who call themselves "saved" but the reality is that they are not "Born Again." The Bible is very clear in addressing the unsaved, as it says, “Cleanse your hands you sinners. Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.”  Remember how King David prayed in Psalm 51? This sort of prayer was not born out of a superficial sorrow, but genuine grief and agony as he cried out to the Lord for forgiveness. He did not just invite the Lord into his heart, he asked him to give him a new heart, a pure heart and to renew a right spirit and for God to make him faithful again. Today,  IF we speak of the blood of Jesus at all, we speak of it covering our sin, but David prayed, "wash me completely... cleanse me". This speaks of removing the sin, not just covering it. This error in our teaching and preaching today allows for people to continue to sin over and over with the understanding that their sins are "covered" rather than repentance, or turning away from our sin.

I've thought a lot over the past few days of my own conversion experience. This was something that was not done on an impulse, but something I gave much thought over, mulling the consequences of this decision. I knew that to make such a decision meant my life was about to take on a radical change. I knew that whichever decision I made, there were consequences to that decision. I wrestled with that decision and yes, agonized over it. When I surrendered, not just my heart, but my life to Christ, it was in effect, a changing teams. I often illustrate the conversion experience in this manner. Imagine that you are a baseball player and you play for the Giants, but now you are a free agent and you accept the bid from the Marlins. You sign a contract and you are now a member of the Miami Marlins. You wear their uniform, train with them and play for them. It would not be acceptable for you to tell your manager, "I think I'll go play for the Giants for a few days... but I'll be back."  You could sit in the opposing teams dugout with them during the game when they came to town. They are your former team, and now you are expected to stay with your own team.  But in Christianity, we act like we can put on whatever uniform we want to on any given day and float back and forth on a whim. The reason is that we have not had a change of heart. Many are "wearing the uniform" of their new team, but their heart is still with their old team living for self and the world. This is evidence that a "conversion" has not taken place, which means that salvation has not taken place. This is the great deception that Satan has perpetrated upon the church in these last days. People have a head experience, but not a heart experience, and that is why they can continue living in sin and little, if anything has changed in their life, other than the fact that they now go to church occasionally. There has been no repentance. 

Every time I speak like this, the critics emerge and point fingers and tell me how judgmental I am being and that I'm being legalistic. Don't take my word for it, examine God's Word to see what it says. The Scriptures admonish us to make sure we are genuinely saved. Again 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death."  Jesus told his followers in Luke 13:3 that without repentance they would perish.  Very simply... Biblically speaking that if you are saved, there with be repentance... there will be a change in the way that you live and who you live for. If there is not repentance, you are not saved. Period. Have you done that? Have you repented... turned and walked away from sin.. or are you a stranger to biblical repentance? This is far too serious to play games with. This is where our eternal destination is determined. This is something we need all be sure, or certain of... no guess work. 
If there has not been a change of heart which has lead to a change in the manner in which you live... then you have nothing more than religion, not salvation.

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