Posts Tagged ‘True and False Conversion’

When I first became a Christian, one of the things that we were taught is that we had to be careful how we lived because if the rapture came while we were sinning, we would be left behind or if I died suddenly before repenting, then I would be lost. Many a Christian lived in bondage and in fear of sinning while Jesus returned. Then after a while, I began to think logically. Even though we are christians, we all still sin everyday. If I went by the logic that I was taught, that would mean that a lot of people would die in their sins and not be taken with Jesus when he returns because at any given point in a day, many christians would be sinning because of our fallen nature meaning that everything would have been in vain. Or they have a sinful thought (which one of us haven’t) and then some tragic happens before they had time to repent, for example, 9/11, they would be lost in the same way that an unbeliever would be lost. There would be no guarantee of our salvation and it would basically be a gamble. It made no sense and made the cross of Christ a bit useless and ineffective. My salvation would be based on what I do and not what he has done. That was until I fully understood what Christ actually achieved.

Christ’s death on the cross and his atonement for our sins was not just limited to the past and the present but also stretches into the future

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit………..For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:1,5)

I now understand that once I have repented and put my trust in Christ for my salvation, ALL of my sins have been forgiven. Past present and future. I do not have to live in fear that when Christ comes or when I die, I might be ‘caught in the act’ of sinning in one form or another. I can live with the freedom knowing that even if I have sinned ‘before I have repented’, I will not be condemned and I will not forfeit my inheritance in Christ. Note though that this applies to those that ‘walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit’. In other words those who have had a true and not false conversion and have truly repented.

Now…….

I can hear many people saying ‘Well that’s OK then. If my future sins are forgiven, then I can live how I want’. If those are your thoughts and you’re thinking is how much you can sin and ‘get away with it’, then there is good chance that you are not truly born again and could be self-deceived. Because a true believer hates his sins and has NO desire to continue sinning. This is just one of the ways you can know if you are a true christian.

I always like to see it as me and Christ swapping jackets. Christ takes my ‘sinful’ jacket in exchange for His ‘righteous’ jacket. Christ in my jacket was punished at the cross and when I stand before God, He only sees the righteous jacket and therefore I am not punished because all my sins have been accounted for and taken on by Christ. WHAT A GREAT DEAL!!

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor 5:21)

For more on this topic and a further explanation, click here

If you would like to know how you can have your sins forgiven, click here

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Christian, please feel free to share this link with your family, friends and enemies

Related post:

Have you truly repented?

So you think that you’re a christian? Powerful testimonies from former false converts

How to make your child a false convert and the testimony of one such convert

Just say this prayer?

How to botch an altar call

Evangelistic Malpractice

True and False Conversion

Lets stop being so quick to call everyone a christian

How do you know that you are saved (that you are a Christian?)

The Judgment of Deception – Are You Deceived?

Posted: August 31, 2010 in False Doctrine, False Teachers
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As I have stated in my previous post, one of the frustrations that I have is when I speak to people who call themselves christians but their fruits reveal that they are actually a false convert or simply just self deceived. This could be for a number of reasons such as praying the ‘sinners prayer‘.

One of the two components of salvation is repentance (the other being faith).

In simple terms, true repentance means turning away from your sins with the knowledge that those very sins have offended God. To see a picture of true repentance, read Psalms 51.

Repentance is NOT just acknowledging that you have done wrong but you have no real intention of changing.

Repentance is NOT trying to justify it by saying ‘We’re all human. God knows my heart’ or ‘God is not through with me yet’

Repentance is NOT being sorry for what you have done because you have been caught and are going to be punished

Repentance is NOT just about changing your behaviour but having a changed heart

If there is no true repentance, then there can be no true salvation.

RC Sproul explains below what true repentance is

HAVE YOU REPENTED?

Courtesy of Grace To You

Is baptism necessary for salvation? No. Let’s examine what the Scriptures teach on this issue:

First, it is quite clear from such passages as Acts 15 and Romans 4 that no external act is necessary for salvation. Salvation is by divine grace through faith alone (Romans 3:22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30; 4:5; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 3:9, etc.).

If water baptism were necessary for salvation, we would expect to find it stressed whenever the gospel is presented in Scripture. That is not the case, however. Peter mentioned baptism in his sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38). However, in his sermon from Solomon’s portico in the Temple (Acts 3:12-26), Peter makes no reference to baptism, but links forgiveness of sin to repentance (3:19). If baptism is necessary for the forgiveness of sin, why didn’t Peter say so in Acts 3?

Paul never made water baptism any part of his gospel presentations. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul gives a concise summary of the gospel message he preached. There is no mention of baptism. In 1 Corinthians 1:17, Paul states that “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel,” thus clearly differentiating the gospel from baptism.

Those passages are difficult to understand if water baptism is necessary for salvation. If baptism were part of the gospel itself, necessary for salvation, what good would it have done Paul to preach the gospel, but not baptize? No one would have been saved. Paul clearly understood water baptism to be separate from the gospel, and hence in no way efficacious for salvation.

Perhaps the most convincing refutation of the view that baptism is necessary for salvation are those who were saved apart from baptism. The penitent woman (Luke 7:37-50), the paralytic man (Matthew 9:2), the publican (Luke 18:13-14), and the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43) all experienced forgiveness of sins apart from baptism. For that matter, we have no record of the apostles’ being baptized, yet Jesus pronounced them clean of their sins (John 15:3–note that the Word of God, not baptism, is what cleansed them).

The Bible also gives us an example of people who were saved before being baptized. In Acts 10:44-48, Cornelius and those with him were converted through Peter’s message. That they were saved before being baptized is evident from their reception of the Holy Spirit (v. 44) and the gifts of the Spirit (v. 46) before their baptism. Indeed, it is the fact that they had received the Holy Spirit (and hence were saved) that led Peter to baptize them (cf. v. 47).

The New Testament does not teach that baptism is necessary for salvation.One of the basic principles of biblical interpretation is the analogia scriptura, the analogy of Scripture–we must compare Scripture with Scripture in order to understand its full and proper sense. Since the Bible doesn’t contradict itself, any interpretation of a specific passage that contradicts the general teaching of the Bible is to be rejected.

Since the general teaching of the Bible is, as we have seen, that baptism and other forms of ritual are not necessary for salvation, no individual passage could teach otherwise. Thus we must look for interpretations of those passages that will be in harmony with the general teaching of Scripture.

With that in mind, let’s look briefly at some passages that appear to teach that baptism is required for salvation.

In Acts 2:38, Peter appears to link forgiveness of sins to baptism. But there are several plausible interpretations of this verse that do not connect forgiveness of sin with baptism. It is possible to translate the Greek preposition eis–“because of,” or “on the basis of,” instead of “for.” It is used in that sense in Matthew 3:11; 12:41; and Luke 11:32.

It is also possible to take the clause “and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” as parenthetical. Support for that interpretation comes from that fact that “repent” and “your” are plural, while “be baptized” is singular, thus setting it off from the rest of the sentence. If that interpretation is correct, the verse would read “Repent (and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ) for the forgiveness of your sins.” Forgiveness is thus connected with repentance, not baptism, in keeping with the consistent teaching of the New Testament (cf. Luke 24:47; John 3:18; Acts 5:31; 10:43; 13:38; 26:18; Ephesians 5:26).

A third possibility exists, as Wallace explains in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics:

It is possible that to a first-century Jewish audience (as well as to Peter), the idea of baptism might incorporate both the spiritual reality and the physical symbol. In other words, when one spoke of baptism, he usually meant both ideas–the reality and the ritual. Peter is shown to make the strong connection between these two in chapters 10 and 11. In 11:15-16 he recounts the conversion of Cornelius and friends, pointing out that at the point of their conversion they were baptized by the Holy Spirit. After he had seen this, he declared, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit…” (10:47).

The point seems to be that if they have had the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit via spiritual baptism, there ought to be a public testimony/acknowledgment via water baptism as well. This may not only explain Acts 2:38 (viz., that Peter spoke of both reality and picture, though only the reality removes sins), but also why the NT speaks of only baptized believers (as far as we can tell): Water baptism is not a cause of salvation, but a picture; and as such it serves both as a public acknowledgment (by those present) and a public confession (by the convert) that one has been Spirit-baptized.

Mark 16:16, a verse often quoted to prove baptism is necessary for salvation, is actually a proof of the opposite. Notice that the basis for condemnation in that verse is not the failure to be baptized, but only the failure to believe. Baptism is mentioned in the first part of the verse because it was the outward symbol that always accompanied the inward belief.

I might also mention that many textual scholars think it unlikely that vv. 9-20 are an authentic part of Mark’s gospel. We can’t discuss here all the textual evidence that has caused many New Testament scholars to reject the passage. But you can find a thorough discussion in Bruce Metzger, et al., A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, pp. 122-128, and William Hendriksen, The Gospel of Mark, pp. 682-687.

Water baptism does not seem to be what Peter has in view in 1 Peter 3:21. The English word “baptism” is simply a transliteration of the Greek word baptizo, which means “to immerse.” Baptizo does not always refer to water baptism in the New Testament (cf. Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; 7:4; 10:38-39; Luke 3:16; 11:38; 12:50; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16; 1 Corinthians 10:2; 12:13).

So Peter is not talking about immersion in water, as the phrase “not the removal of dirt from the flesh” indicates. He is referring to immersion in Christ’s death and resurrection through “an appeal to God for a good conscience,” or repentance. Again, it is not the outward act that saves, but the internal reality of the Spirit’s regenerating work (cf. Titus 3:4-8).

I also do not believe water baptism is in view in Romans 6 or Galatians 3. I see in those passages a reference to the baptism in the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13). For a detailed exposition of those passages, I refer you to my commentaries on Galatians and Romans, or the transcripts my sermons on Galatians 3 and Romans 6.

In Acts 22:16, Paul recounts the words of Ananias to him following his experience on the Damascus road: “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” It is best to connect the phrase “wash away your sins” with “calling on His name.” If we connect it with “be baptized,” the Greek participle epikalesamenos (“calling”) would have no antecedent. Paul’s sins were washed away not by baptism, but by calling on His name.

Water baptism is certainly important, and required of every believer. However, the New Testament does not teach that baptism is necessary for salvation.

Related Posts:

What hinders you from being baptized?

The problem that I have with baptism testimonies

As a father, one thing that I aim to do is not only change my childrens behaviour but also to change their hearts so that they understand WHY they should or should not do certain things.

stoneheart_smIf I am honest, there are many believers who change their behaviour because it is the ‘christian thing to do’ but their hearts have not been changed. This is one of the things that is evident in the life of the false convert. If we aim to just change believers behaviours, then no doubt, when they are not in the public eye, they will do and say those things that they ought not to and as scripture says ‘they will be known by their fruit’.

I have already spoken previously about a person in my church who fits this category perfectly and the fruit is shown in his facebook status updates continuously even up to now. God says that he will give us a new heart. It also says that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks so if you want to have a good indication if a person has a changed heart, listen to what they say. Let us continually examine ourselves to make sure that not only is our behaviour changed but our hearts also. The only way to do this is to get more and more into God’s word and as you do so and get a better understanding, your love for Christ will grow and you will want to obey Christ. I dont go partying to lust after girls anymore. Not that I cant but because I have no desire for those things anymore because the things that I once craved have no grip on me anymore. I pray you (and myself) will continually examine ourselves

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3)