Archive for November, 2012

The New Birth

Pastor John,

I find what you say about the New Birth very interesting. I want truth as it is the only thing that makes a difference in lives and takes us to the will and purpose of God. I teach my students that we must each always remain a student, a disciple ready and eager to cast off error and traditionalism and learn the ways of God.

I have long been very uncomfortable about the modern church approach to salvation. Filling our a card or repeating a prayer is simply deception and produces only bragging rights for preachers. This is what I have concluded to date: John 3:16 is a promise that I consider entry level Christianity. This will get you to Heaven. I grew up in a Southern Baptist church where we were all “old sinners saved by grace” and that described our walk and behavior as well. Now as a good Baptist boy I had absolute confidence in my eternal address. Jesus said so.

However as life progressed and I studied and sought the Lord more and more I began to see that that was only the door. Most Christians it seems are parked in the Door and have never moved from there. In my understanding this is where lost people receive Jesus as Savior. Entry level. To make Him Lord (Ro 10:9-10) as well as Savior takes the believer to a new level. Overcomer, adoption as sons etc. are obviously levels to be sought.

Your thoughts?

[a pastor]

Dear Brother,

I am thankful for your correspondence, and my prayer is that Jesus will use it for our mutual benefit.

For the time being, I will confine my comments to John 3:16, since that is the verse you mentioned. As you know, Paul explained to us that “the Spirit is life” (Rom. 8:10), and Jesus said that the reason God sent him was so that we mortals might “have life, and have it more abundantly”. But it was not for us to have more of our human kind of life that Jesus came; it was to make it possible for us to receive God’s kind of life, that is, His Spirit. The human spirit is corrupt and condemned to death, but God’s Spirit, His life, is holy and eternal. That is the kind of life Jesus was talking about in John 3:16. In other words, the Son of God paid the price for us to receive the Father’s kind of life, His Spirit, so that Jesus might have “many brethren.” John referred to this is John 7:37-39:37.

On the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink!
38. He who believes in me, as the Scripture said, from deep within him will flow rivers of living water.”
39. He spoke this concerning the Spirit, which those who believed on him were going to receive, for the Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

To receive the holy Spirit is to receive eternal life; without the Spirit of God men are spiritually dead. Both Jesus and Paul said so.
That is why Paul wrote, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:9).
The only issue, then, is whether or not a person receives the Spirit before he receives the baptism of the Spirit (with the evidence of speaking in tongues, or “stammering lips”).
Perhaps that will be our next conversation.

Your servant,
Pastor John


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