When I come across brothers and sisters in Christ who have a similar testimony as me, I rejoice in the fact that God removed the scales from their eyes like He did mine, but I am made all the more aware that there are still so many people out there who cling to a false assurance of salvation. Carnal Christianity, as it is called, is a cancerous epidemic in the visible church today. It gives rise to a false security, which oftentimes comes in the form of trusting in a prayer someone once prayed at the altar, or perhaps even “rededicating” one’s life to Christ. The reality is, however, such decisionism – determining out of one’s flesh that they are “gonna get it right this time” or trusting in the once-said prayer prayed 20 years ago as the assurance of salvation – will only lead to death because the evidence of salvation is nowhere to be found in the life of this professing Christian. Please allow me to explain why that is the case.
|Are you living a LIE?|
The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16). We are not born again because of something we do, no, we are born again because God supernaturally transforms us. He does not make our old life better, no, He actually makes us a new creation. It is therefore futile and unbiblical to believe that man can simply just change the way he thinks, or as someone like Rick Warren teaches, to undergo behavior modification (Pelagianism). That is why so many people, though they profess to believe in God or Jesus, profess to know Him but they deny Him with their works (Titus 1:16) and walk as enemies of the cross because they have their minds set on earthly things (Philippians 3:18-19). Scripture, on the other hand, tells us the grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously, and godly lives today (Titus 2:11-14). In other words, being conformed to Jesus Christ is not an option for the believer, it is a necessary consequence. And it is not because of some methodical man-made plan, but because of the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit to those who have been regenerated, or born again.
My dear friends, as I trust many of you know but some may have not come to grips with these biblical facts, there is no such thing as a continuously carnal Christian! Yes, Christians do sin, but the difference between the Christian who struggles or wrestles with their sin and their flesh and the carnal Christian – that is, the non-Christian or Christian in name only – is that the Christian is a slave to the righteousness of Christ whereas the non-Christian is a slave to their sin. The one is a slave to God, while the other is a slave to the god of this world. The one is a slave to obedience, while the other is a slave to disobedience. The one follows their Master every day, not just superficially on Sundays like carnal Christians who follow the devil Monday through Saturday. The one is a child of God, while the other is a child of wrath. The one has in store for him the riches of the Kingdom of God as a co-heir with Christ, while the other has stored up for him the fury of God’s wrath for His unrepentant heart. While the one has crucified his flesh with its passions and desires, the one still continues to love the world, manifesting the works of the flesh and the pride of life, revealing that the love of God is not in him.
Do you see the difference? Merely believing the facts about Jesus does not save you. An emotional experience that urged you to “make a decision” for Christ or “ask Jesus into your heart” on a Sunday morning does not save you. Yes, there are no doubt born again believers who have done both of these things and are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption, but they are not saved because of what they did. They are saved in spite of what they did because salvation is the work of God alone by His grace alone. However, it must be made clear, if one made such a decision, and their life reflects one that is in rebellion against God, that “decision” or superficial prayer did absolutely nothing but give you a false assurance of salvation.
This is what the Word of God says:
Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. – 1 John 3:9
Can it be any more clear? Now, perhaps this might need to be hashed out a bit to avoid any confusion as to sinless perfection, the heretical doctrine that teaches that Christians do not sin. Let us then look at the words of the great 19th-century preacher, J.C. Ryle:
A person who has been born again, or regenerated, does not habitually commit sin. He no longer sins with his heart and will and whole inclination. There was probably a time when he did not think about whether his actions were sinful or not, and he did not always feel grieved after doing evil. There was no quarrel between him and sin; they were friends. But the true Christian hates sin, flees from it, fights against it, considers it his greatest plague, resents the burden of its presence, mourns when he falls under its influence, and longs to be completely delivered from it. Sin no longer pleases him, nor is it even a matter of indifference to him; it has become a horrible thing which he hates. However, he cannot eliminate its presence within him.
If he said that he had no sin, he would be lying (I John 1:8). But he can say that he hates sin and that the great desire of his soul is not to commit sin at all. He cannot prevent bad thoughts from entering his mind, or shortcomings, omissions, and defects from appealing in both his words and his actions. He knows that “in many things we offend all” (James 3:2). But he can truly say, in the sight of God, that these things cause him grief and sorrow and that his whole nature does not consent to them. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?
That is the question, professing Christian – are you born again? Are you solely and completely sold out to God? Have you forsaken everything as the Lord Jesus Christ commanded in Luke 14:33? Have you denied your will, control, and lusts of the flesh, taking up your cross as you slay the misdeeds of the body, and continuing to follow after the Lord Jesus Christ as He commands in Luke 9:23? Or, professing Christian, does your life give evidence that you continue to fulfill the pleasures of your flesh? Do you continue to ride the fence trusting that, although you know you’re not living right, one day you will submit to Christ? That God is full of infinite chances and will allow you to continue to trample on the blood of His Son as if you hated Him?
The fact is, dear carnal Christian, you hate God. You are His enemy. Your lip service is only making your destination to hell more comfortable. Unless you cry out to God out of the brokenness of your soul for having offending His holiness and disregarding the grace He freely offers you, you will die in your sins. Jesus said in Luke 9:24-25,
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?
Is your sin worth it, carnal Christian? Is your sin worth an eternity in hell? This is what Jesus commands in Matthew 5:29-30:
If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
Please don’t go to hell, dear carnal Christian! Repent from your sins and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ! For if you continue procrastinating, if you continue seeking the pleasures of life and the abominations of the flesh (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), the eternal destruction of your body and soul will be the pleasing aroma of a Holy, Holy, Holy God, and He will be glorified in the fury of His wrath against you. Do not be deceived. Do not justify your lifestyle. He knows your every thought and your secret sins, and demands for you to obey the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Out of Christ flows living water, my friend. Jesus did not command you to invite Him to come into your heart – He commanded you to follow Him! His yoke is easy and His burden is light and He will give you rest for your soul (Matthew 11:28-30). Take refuge in the grace of Almighty God. Run to Him with nothing in your hands. Turn your back on this world and the things of it. Neither your friends nor your sin is worth an eternity without the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, repent from your sins, and be saved!
Now, returning to the opening paragraph of this post, I’d like to direct you to the following video. My new friend, Jay Wingard, posted this on his wonderful blog, Reformed Thoughts, and I want to share with you. Both Jay and Ryan Richie (from video) have seemingly identical testimonies to my testimony. As false converts for 20+ years, we trusted in a prayer, was deceived by the incomplete doctrine of “once saved always saved”, and fooled into believing that there are two types of Christians – holy Christians and carnal Christians. Such false assurance permitted us to live the worldly lifestyle, and it’s only by the grace and mercy of God that we now stand covered by the blood of Jesus Christ and eternally sealed by the Spirit through repentant faith. I pray Ryan’s testimony, in addition to this post, will cause you to examine yourself to see if you are truly born again (2 Corinthians 13:5).
I’m always available to talk about your situation. All you have to do is ask.