IS BEING “SAVED” THE SAME AS BEING “BORN AGAIN?”
(By: Norm Rasmussen)
When Christianity first started, being “saved” was synonymous with being “born again”, but we’ve reached a place in Christianity some 2,000+ years later where I believe it is DANGEROUS to say they are now necessarily one and the same anymore. They CAN be … but always AREN’T, unfortunately ... anymore.
WHY? Because we have too many CINO’s (C.I.N.O.’s) these days, and the numbers are growing from every indication. If you don’t know what a C.I.N.O. is, it’s an acronym for: Christian In Name Only.
A typical CINO will tell you that they have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Many will be able to tell you the moment it happened. Many will tell you they prayed “The sinner’s prayer” upon invitation. They asked Jesus to come into their heart; asked forgiveness for their sins; told Him they were sorry for them, and invited Him to be both Savior and Lord of their life. (AWESOME START, BY THE WAY … IN MY OPINION!)
Yet as time went by, certain sin(s) became optional. As a matter of fact, certain sins not only became optional to them -- they often seemed beneficial, or at the very least: Convenient.
Let’s zero in on the hot-button topic that it is: Same-sex relationships. Homosexuality is clearly a sin against God and a sin against the person who is practicing it for anyone who wants to do a serious Bible study with an open mind. Yet once someone close to us - like a family member – lets it be known they are a practicing homosexual (or lesbian) … it becomes rather amazing how quickly so many Christians in the family who know that person are bleeding off into DECEPTIVE HYPER GRACE rather quickly in many cases. Meaning WHAT? Meaning … “Well – I’m not the judge of a person. God is. And maybe … just maybe … God has special grace for this person if they remain same-sex oriented until they die. I’m going to accept them for who they are and not let it become a divisive issue.”
There’s a fine line between judging and compromising. True Christians are to judge themselves and ask the Lord to speak clearly to them if there is something hindering their relationship with God. (See: 1 Corinthians 11:31-32) God tells them to. Are same-sex “Christians” EXEMPT from the process?
Let’s do a radical 90 degree turn right here before going further. Satan’s primary reason why Satan is pushing the same-sex agenda is to make people BELIEVE the Holy Bible doesn’t mean what it says, pure and simple, and/or that it can't be trusted. When our mind becomes fogged over to the degree where we can no longer agree on what sin is or isn’t … Satan has made HUGE INROADS in discrediting the ONLY trustworthy standard God has given humanity to know what pleases Him and what doesn’t, and Satan wants “Christians” coming to that place where a person can pick and choose from the Bible personally what sin is and isn’t, when the Bible clearly states it IS.
Yet I believe same-sex relationships is only one of the ways Satan is obscuring God’s CLEAR INTENT of what He wants the human race to understand. Fornication is a sin to God, pure and simple, as is adultery. For those who may not know – fornication is having sexual relations outside of a God-sanctioned marriage. It’s a single person having sexual relationship with either another single person or maybe a married person. A God sanctioned marriage is between a certified-at-birth male and a certified-at-birth female. (Boy is it getting complicated when we have to use such descriptions of a TRUE man or woman!). You can call it “shacking” – sometimes just “one night stands” with the guy or gal you met at the bar or a party, and spent the night with them having sexual intimacy, or whatever name they call it in one’s circles. Christians more and more are living together having sexual relationship with their mate, yet not legally married. God clearly says that is SIN, written clearly in His Word, the Holy Bible.
So is that OKAY? Having sexual relationship with another person outside of marriage? Obviously to hardcore CINO’s, more and more it is. CINO’s have the keen ability to justify their actions, if it’s what they feel they need. Oh yeah … they’ll tell God they are sorry for those actions from time to time, but more than not keep on engaging in the very same sin when temptation rises with little guilt (FEAR) in their relationship with the Lord.
This is what God says about what is being addressed here: Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
I believe God has given humanity the above scriptures (there are other ones as well) to clearly show us what sin to Him is and what isn’t, first and foremost. Secondly, I believe He’s warning us to STOP DOING these sins if we are making them a part of our “normal” regular lifestyle. There is grace and mercy for every true Christian who succumbs to temptation and engages in one or more of these sins for a short duration, but they won’t continue to PRACTICE them indefinitely because the conviction of the Holy Spirit won’t let them have any true peace or joy if they do. There is forgiveness for all sins we commit, but if we CONTINUE in one or more sins with no concern in how it may be grieving God, God also warns us that He may well turn us over to the hardness of our heart (See: Romans 1:18-32) and let Satan essentially become our Lord without our even realizing it, sadly. And once that happens, repentance that God will accept can become much more difficult to realize.
I believe it’s only right to say we have an increasing population full of soft-core CINO’s and hard-core CINO’s. I admit I once was a soft-core Christian CINO many years ago. I’ve engaged in sexual sin with female Christians after I became born again and will tell you I CLEARLY understand how easy it was to justify my actions to myself. Not God justifying them -- I was justifying them to myself. BIG DIFFERENCE. Yet by the grace of God, I was always aware I was sinning. I KNEW God wasn’t pleased that I kept giving into that same sin when opportunity presented itself. So I hoped His mercy extended into eternity when He thought about my sinning. I share this about my younger life in the Lord because I know how painful it can be to try to please God in accordance with His clearly revealed Word, yet have deep yearnings for emotional and sexual intimacy with another person because a God blessed marriage (which ISN’T “same-sex marriage”) is not yet in place.
But let’s get back to the title of this writing, least we get off too far on rabbit trails. A hard-core CINO is deceived about one or more sins they allow themselves to commit. A soft-core CINO can have moments of weakness regarding sin they commit, but have a genuine closeness with God that allows the Holy Spirit room to bring conviction in them about their sin, and they demonstrate their willingness to Him that they want to change because they know how much it grieves God. They desire to walk in full repentance and long for victory over that sin/s.
Satan has so distorted words these days that so many Christians don’t even KNOW what real repentance MEANS anymore. It means to CHANGE what you are doing wrong against God (and maybe others). It isn’t just saying you are sorry to God for doing the wrong, asking His forgiveness, and then going on one’s merry way and keep on engaging in that sin as desire and opportunity presents itself – INDEFINITELY. Repent means to change the way one thinks and think the way GOD thinks, and then change one’s actions with the help of God to put to DEATH the sin they keep repeating when temptation taps them on the shoulder.
Remember: True Christians have the Holy Spirit to break strongholds of sin in their lives. Non-Christians don’t have Him. (Though they certain CAN have Him if they invite Jesus to come and live inside them, allowing Him to be LORD of their lives. There's a big difference between asking Him to be one's Savior and then letting Him be LORD of their lives. True Christians delight in letting Him become Lord of everything in their lives. It's a privilege to them).
CINO’s who do not evolve into full-blown BORN AGAIN believers are playing games with themselves. The game is called “Spiritual Russian Roulette”. It is putting one spiritual bullet in the chamber of the six-shot pistol, spinning the chamber, putting the barrel to one’s head, and pulling the trigger -- hoping it’s a blank chamber. This is the game hard-core CINO’s are playing with their lives and WHERE they may end up spending eternity, and that isn’t HEAVEN.
God has mercy for each of us when it comes to our disobedience to Him. For some true Christians, God will allow them to stay engaged in one or more sins for years before bringing them into painful discipline (or in other words, some kind of judgment). Others, His patience seems to run short. NONE of us know when His patience is about to run out with US when we remain engaged in one or more sins against Him and His Holy Word, if we’ll be honest with ourselves.
The wisest thing I can suggest is that we ask God frequently if we’re truly born again to HIS standards, or are we just Christians In Name Only who want “a fire insurance policy” to hopefully stay out of hell, yet desires a Lord and Savior who “Surely God understands my need to sin when I want to.”
Want to really KNOW whether what you are doing is sin God hates or not? What does the Bible clearly say about the matter? Doesn’t matter to you? You’re in DEEP trouble with God as to where you’re going to spend eternity, my friend – don’t kid yourself, if that’s your answer. Don’t continue to deceive yourself. God’s Word is the soul source God has given humanity to know how to please Him. It’s our training manual in understanding how we are to live our lives according to God's righteous standards. It’s our spiritual warfare manual against the evil powers of darkness. It’s our spiritual food to sustain our soul and spirit. It’s Jesus Christ in print form - the Word in print! (See: John Chapter 1) Satan knows this, which is WHY he works so hard to discredit its PRICELESS VALUE – PRICELESS WORTH every way He can. When a lost person far back in the wilderness battling a bitter-cold blizzard has no compass to point them to SAFETY, chances increase greatly they are going to die in that wilderness. When we have no MORAL compass from God, we are at even GREATER danger in being rescued from destruction.
Satan more and more will let a person believe the Holy Bible is God's moral compass for humanity alright -- "But just don't BELIEVE it means what it says."
True Christians – truly born again Christians that John 3 talks about – WANT to put to death sin in their life, as Hebrews 12:1 says they are to do. Hardcore CINO’s want their right to sin if convenient and have their heart’s so hardened to the convicting influence of the Holy Spirit regarding that sin that they have no clue Satan has them fully brainwashed to the way God sees the matter, and God will judge the matter, one way or another.
Remember: Jesus painfully died to save sinners. He didn’t die to bless sin.
Neither does He bless people who continues to practice sin and could really care less what the Holy Bible has to say about it.These are those He was speaking about when He stated in Matthew 7:21-23: “Depart from Me you workers of lawlessness, I never knew you.”
Need a understandable translation to the above scripture passage? “Get out of My presence! Those I know want to please Me and demonstrate it by honoring My Word of Truth; not take advantage of Me at the expense of dishonoring my written Truth – My New Covenant Word to humanity!” (New Testament Bible, in other words. [Don't assume I'm discrediting the Old Covenant. Yet God determined their was a need for a NEW covenant, hence the New Testament - the New Covenant with mankind].)
Whether you have a girlfriend or boyfriend you deeply love, or a spouse you love even more deeply … there is NOTHING that enrages you any quicker than when a loved one starts giving their affections to another, is there? God is no different. Practicing on-going sin to God is giving one’s affections to the originator of sin: His name is Satan.
I feel to end this out by covering this writing with a TON of grace. Each of us battle sin issues in this life, and God the Father sent Jesus Christ to come and rescue us from our sin condition. I liken Jesus to my rescuer who can throw me a life preserver if I'm out to sea about ready to drown. I'm calling out His name for help, because I'm taking in too much water. Wonderfully - He appears above, not far away, with a life preserver and a rope in His hand. I can NOT imagine the Jesus who has saved my soul saying something to the affect: "Uhhhhhhhh ... you've sinned one too many times Norm. I'm not sure I want to throw you this life preserver. Let's talk about this awhile."
I do not want anyone leaving with the impression THIS is the Jesus who came from heaven to earth to rescue the lost souls of mankind. I believe His compassion and love for us is MUCH greater than that.
I also believe that God has GREAT mercy for those who will call sin SIN and will admit to Him they are guilty of sinning against Him when they are. It's those who refuse to call sin SIN when it is clearly evident in the New Covenant Word that I think are on thin ice with Him, mainly because of 1 John 1:9-10:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
The thief on the cross who Jesus had compassion on more than likely had areas of sin in his life ... yet now it was too late to work at getting free from them. That didn't seem to matter to Jesus though, did it? That's the Jesus I'll give my life for!
Here is another writing on this topic that I highly endorse: BORN-AGAIN vs SAVED
Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW! Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake.
To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity, to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help you understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.
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Remember: All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-20 is our assurance)