Friday, February 01, 2008

Confusion of Conversion???

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new - II Corinthians 5:17

WHOSOEVER believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? - I John 5:1-5

Why do so many folks today make professions of faith, attend our fundamental, Bible-believing churches for a short season, and then flee because they are either unable or unwilling to tolerate Scriptural truth, even in the area of very basic doctrine? Why must pastors struggle to keep those who profess to know Christ as their Savior in church? Why do so many who profess to know Christ take so long to take the first step of obedience as a Christian by submitting themselves to believer’s baptism? Why do so many local church assemblies today lack the supernatural power of God, and lack faithful church members who know God, seek God, and walk with God in true holiness and sanctification? Why is it today that it seems pastors must expend copious amounts of time and energy just maintaining folks as opposed to discipling them to spiritual maturity? What in the world is going on?

Dan Puckett made some disturbing observations in an article he wrote in Revival Link entitled, Jesus is Still the Answer!. He declared, "It was said of the early Christians in the New Testament book of Acts, chapter 17, verse 6, 'These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also' . . . . Today, the sad commentary is that the world has turned the church upside down. There remains no Christian distinctive. Social ills are as rampant in the church as outside the church. Divorce, abortion, child abuse, pornography, adultery, fornication, and almost any other ill you can name is epidemic in the professing church . . . ." Though many would deny that this is true of our churches today, close examination would reveal otherwise in many cases.

I believe much of the problem can be laid at the feet of wrong doctrine. I speak in particular of a wrong approach towards the doctrine of salvation. It is my belief that the presentation of the Gospel has been so weakened and watered-down in recent decades, what we are seeing produced today is not a vast number of people who have been truly born-again, but a constituency of those who are now church members who have been "stillborn." They have not been truly converted, therefore they have no overcoming power over sin and sinful living. They may be baptized, become church members, learn the language of Christianity, even work in the church, but at some point they begin to fall away, and end up going back to the vomit (II Peter 2:20-22). The other possibility is that they continue on building a facade whilst living a secret life of sin behind the scenes.

One writer has placed the problem we face today in our churches at the feet of what he calls "decisionism." He describes "decisionism" this way: "Decisionism is the belief that a person is saved by coming forward, raising the hand, saying a prayer, believing a doctrine, making a Lordship commitment, or some other external, human act, which is taken as the equivalent to, and proof of, the miracle of inward conversion; it is the belief that a person is saved through the agency of a merely external decision; the belief that performing one of these human actions shows that a person is saved."

On the other hand, our writer says that true conversion is an entirely different process. Of conversion he says: "Conversion is the result of that work of the Holy Spirit which draws a lost sinner to Jesus Christ for justification and regeneration, and changes the sinner's standing before God from lost to saved, imparting divine life to the depraved soul, thus producing a new direction in the life of the convert. The objective side of salvation is justification. The subjective side of salvation is regeneration. The result is conversion."

One Bible commentator said this: "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. It is vain for a man to profess affinity to Christ according to the flesh, while he is unchanged in his heart and life, and dead in trespasses and sins; for he that is in Christ, that is, a genuine Christian, having Christ dwelling in his heart by faith, is a new creature; his old state is changed: he was a child of Satan, he is now a child of God; he was a slave to sin, and his works were death; he is now made free from sin, and has his fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. He was before full of pride and wrath; he is now meek and humble. He formerly had his portion in this life, and lived for this world alone; he now hath GOD for his portion, and he looks not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are eternal. Therefore, old things are passed away. Behold, all things are become new. This man is not only mended, but he is new made; he is a new creature . . . a new creation, a little world in himself; formerly all was in chaotic disorder; now, there is a new creation, which God himself owns as his workmanship, and which he can look on and pronounce very good."

Beloved, we are sending the wrong message when we tell folks who are the powerless slaves to sin their chosen habitual behavior is an "addiction" rather than a sinful offense against God that needs to be repented of. Yes, I know there are certain behaviors that lead to physiological addiction, but that is then a medical problem the result of a chosen pattern of behavior. The answer is not a mix of Freudian philosophy, pop-psychology and Christian lingo. The answer is, and always has been, Christ. The answer is coming to God without one plea, with a broken and contrite heart that hides nothing, and seeks to cover nothing - without one excuse or "cop-out." We live in a day where many have developed a hatred for orthodox Christianity, and a hatred for biblical truth. As a result, many have turned to programs and methods that are part-and-parcel to a humanistic approach to the problems of lost people, as well as those who profess to know Christ but have no evidence of His overcoming power. Sadly, many good men, and many good churches have been caught up in these things with good intentions, and with a real desire to help hurting people and those destroyed by sinful choices in life. But, we all need to beware, be wise, and be warned that all that glitters is not gold, and be sure to examine our approach to the sinner and the sinful ways of man. We have an awesome responsibility in the way we handle the Word of God, and especially in the way we present the Gospel. Let us, above all else, be thorough as we talk to folks about their need of Christ. Eternal souls are in the balance, and we must take great care to be thorough in our dealings with lost men and women.

Excerpts from an article by Evangelist Paul Mershon in "Revival Thoughts"

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bro Jim thanks for sharing this post. This is the need of the hour the writer hit right on the head people are so concern about numbers that People have their converts not the Lord's converts.

Bro Tim

9:15 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Bro. Tim,

That is a correct statement; with our many bibles (all claiming to be the Word of God) and many denominations of today, it is no wonder why so many are confused about salvation, thus deceived and merely professing Christ, not possessing Christ!!!

1 Cor 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion....

2 Cor 11:3-4 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

7:53 AM  

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