9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
John 10 v 9-10
I have often wondered if my initial conversion to Christianity was ever authentic. When I look back at my life and see the errors of my ways, I’m in awe of God’s grace and mercy towards me. As I ponder on the truths I’ve come to know and am striving to walk in, I realise how much of a deceived and deluded being I was fumbling my way through the dark. I now see that the grace of God was at work in every stage of my life without my knowledge and acknowledgement.
Many of us have believed in the name of Jesus Christ because we were born into Christian families or because had an encounter with his love. Whichever way we came to faith what is missing in the lives of many believers is the fruit of Christ and the fear of God which empowers us to obey to His commands/words.
Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1 v 11
Why is that in today’s society many give their lives to Jesus Christ, however, their lives produce no tangible evidence of this conversion from sin to holiness and death to life? Many of us have prayed the sinner’s prayer and accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts as our Lord and Saviour yet still live in fornication, commit adultery, lie, gossip, defraud others etc… We have a little of the world in us and a bit of Christ in us which means we still face the issues we were struggling with when we first came to the faith. The only difference is we’ve become experts at hiding our struggles under the pretence of ‘grace’. We’ve become a people having a form of godliness while denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3 v 5). So in effect, we have received Jesus Christ into our lives but our lives are not reflecting Christ in any way. Apostle Paul in the Book of 2 Corinthians said:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5 v 17
Does it mean the word of God a lie? Why are we not experiencing the newness of life stated in the above verse or the abundant life Jesus Christ talks about in John 10 v 10?
Surely the word of God is true so the anomaly is coming from us.
As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
God’s word should be the plumb-line for our lives and not our own perceived standards marked by the people surrounding us. Bible says iron sharpens iron so new believers must have like-minded people around them to encourage them on their new journey or they will never grow in the faith. Many have backslid due to this.
If we are not experiencing the transformational power of God in our lives as Christians then what are we doing wrong? Jesus said:
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Mark 16 v 17-18
The early Christians were moving mightly in the power of God so what sets us apart from them? Is that what Jesus said in the above text no longer applies to us or are we not as hungry for God as they were? We were told of the Bereans as being
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Acts 17 v 11
How many of us truly search the Bible daily against the preaching of our pastors or have personal Bible studies? I believe the Bereans not only studied the Bible but ensured their lives reflected their newfound beliefs. And as such could not be deceived by anyone wearing a dog collar.
We are encouraged by the apostle Paul to study to show ourselves approved and I believe if we did, many of us will come to the knowledge of who we are in Christ and thus avoid a lot of the delays and weaknesses we’ve faced in our Christian growth and life in general.
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
1Peter 2 v 9
The more we study the Bible the more our understanding becomes enlightened because the entrance of His word brings light. The Psalmist said
105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119 v 105
By the word of God we are reproved, corrected and by obedience to the word we are perfected in our daily lives.
The trick of the enemy of our souls is to to make the Bible the most boring book in the world for Christians so they stay away from it. If he doesn’t succeed in this, he makes us too busy to read the word and the less we feed on the word of God the more spiritually weak we become and susceptible to deception.
If we are to rely solely on what is preached from the pulpits these days, many of us will be non-effective Christians. In this day and age, we have many leaders who are more of motivational preachers than preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They teach us how to succeed here on earth but not how to please God, follow His commands and have eternal life. We learn how to receive the anointing of God and blessings yet are not taught to flee from our sins as God does not give His precious things to swines.
Isn’t it interesting that we rarely hear about John 9 v 31 which clearly states
31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
I have read the book of John on a few occasions but can’t say I recall this verse until I recently heard a preacher quoting it. If we are not reading the word of God, how are we to know we are living in sin or know what God detests and classifies as sin? For example, fornication is a sin before God however many ‘Christians’ are practising it and still praying to God to bless them. According to the above Bible verse, God will not hear such a person’s prayer unless they repent of their ways and ask God for forgiveness.
If so far you are a believer and this post is convicting and is causing you to wonder whether you are truly saved or have gone through the door which is Jesus Christ, then I would like to bring your mind to certain things that I think will assist you in answering this question.
From scripture and my personal experience, I believe hearing the undiluted word of God is a start. Without this, the Holy Spirit cannot convict a person of sin, righteousness and judgement. John the Baptist started his ministry by preaching a message that is seldom preached behind our pulpits today- the message of Repentance:
1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 3 v 1-2
Jesus Christ after being baptised by John the Baptist also began His ministry by preaching the same message:
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 4 v 17
We see that repentance is essential but what is repentance? According to Wikipedia, repentance is the activity of reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs, which is accompanied by a commitment to change for the better.
From this definition, it’s safe to say that without repentance, we cannot truly follow Jesus Christ. As we have to forgo our old way of life and embrace His.
But how can we truly repent if we are not hearing the undiluted gospel of Christ? During the time of John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, the Apostles an even the Puritans, we see that they did not hold back from the truth but preached the undiluted word of God. They did not look at the faces of men but ensured that the messages they preached were not compromised even to their own demise.
19 But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done,
20 Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.
Luke 3 v 19-20
What kind of gospel are you hearing today? Is it the ancient gospel of the Kingdom of God, Repentance, Restitution, Holiness and Sanctification? Or are your ears being tickled with the motivational messages of Prosperity and hyper Grace?
The only way we can repent is by hearing the truth of God’s word and allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, righteousness and judgement. The truth is we have all sinned and provoked God to wrath. Due to this, our portion was an eternity away from Him in total darkness and Hellfire but because of His love for us, He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins so we might have eternal life. But in order to receive this eternal life, we must believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, repent and confess our sins.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death
2 Corinthians 7 v 10
Once the Holy Spirit convicts us or our sins and we acknowledge that we are indeed sinners, we must confess our sins to God by pleading for forgiveness :
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1 v 9
If from a genuine heart we have confessed our sins to the God, and invite Him into our hearts and lives as Lord and Saviour then we should have the confidence that He has heard us since we know that he only hears the prayers of sinners who have repented of their sins…
Based on today’s post, would you say you have repented of your sins? if so what are the evidence of your repentance?
Here are a few things to consider:
- Has there been a change in you and your lifestyle since you decided to follow Christ?
- Are you still comfortable in the environments you used to enjoy pre-Christ? For example – going to clubs or places that don’t glorify God
- Are you living in habitual sin? For example, still smoking, stealing, swearing etc…
- Do you still move in the same circle of unbelieving friends?
I hope this article blesses you and I hope we can continue on this topic next week by the grace of God.
*All scriptures were taken from the King James Version of the Bible