Friday, 22 April 2011

'New Birth' without Repentance?

Sphere: Related Content “19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” Acts 3:19 (KJV)


There are many things that keep me scared in the church today. As I listen to several preachers and teachers around us both from the pulpit and other media outlets, and then reading the preaching and teachings of the Apostles and several church fathers, I see a world of difference. One wonders why we are having different results from what they experienced. We live in a generation where sin is rarely mentioned and everybody is taught how to appropriate the blessings of God and live comfortable here on earth but no emphasis is made on how to live a life of victory over sin and self, which determines one’s eternal future. Nobody is saying that a Christian should not work hard and live comfortable here on earth as much as God allows him, but comfort should not be pursued at the expense of eternity. An ungodly life with all the wealth and comfort that this world can offer is wasted and doomed as long as the Kingdom of God is concerned. A life that is lived for pleasure and self has no hope and cannot end up in the bossom of the Lord no matter the positions and power it commanded on earth. Just being religious cannot make a soul experience "a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord".

The Apostles did not frequently use the word ‘born again’. Reading through the epistles, I have not seen anywhere where someone was asked “Are you born again?” But were people getting born again? Sure! Were people’s lives being changed? Sure! Were Christians living in victory over sin and self? Absolutely yes! Now, what is the difference between their preaching and ours today? What was the content of their message that we have abandoned today? I want to share just one of them.

The Apostles vigorously preached against sin and asked people to repent and be converted. As I just opened the Concordance and typed in the word ‘repent’, it came out to be a word that is widely spread through both the Old Testament and the New Testament. (See Acts 2: 38; 3:19; 8:2; 17:30; 26:20). I have asked myself several times, “Is it possible to get born again without repentance?” The answer is NO! But unfortunately, the kind of gospel we preach today seems to tell people that it’s possible to be ‘born again’, experience all the blessings of God without repentance. We invite people to give their lives to Jesus we have not told them Who He is or what He has done to save them. We only present Him as if He is a tool to be used to achieve our dreams. So after preaching about ‘reigning in life’, ‘how to dominate over others’ and ‘how to destroy all our enemies and win in the war over poverty etc’, we then tell them that they cannot experience the blessings except they get ‘born again’. They would walk the aisle and ‘give’ their lives to the Jesus they do not know. They only know Him as the One to help them achieve all the things mentioned to them. Hence you find Christians who confess being ‘born again’ doing all kinds of terrible things in their workplaces so as to make money. You meet Christians who are as hardened as a rock in the Churches who the Word of God does not shake. They speak the language, do the activities and pray all the prayers but their lives are not different from their average countrymen.

As if that is not enough, some pastors make them feel that all they care for is their money and some are even given positions of authority. By doing this, their hearts are deceived that all is well. They are puffed up and they close every door to humbling themselves in repentance to God. Some of them resort to doing everything possible to just make sure they defend and please the pastors thinking that doing so ultimately grants them favour before God. What a great deception! The pastors allow it so because it feeds their relevance and pays their bills.

Indeed, we are in deep trouble and I’m deeply scared! Sin is still sending many to Hell and nobody seems to be shouting on top of his voice for people to hear, “repent and be converted”.

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HAPPY EASTER!
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