Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Do you know where you stand?

1. You may have figured this out that many “born again” Christians have not been born again. How do we know? There are two basic reasons:

• They do not show the evidence of life in Christ
• They are later truly born again and the evidence then immediately is apparent.

2. You may also have realized that there are Christians, real ones, who live like unbelievers. How can we tell the difference between the believer and the unbeliever? It is difficult, but here is the basic evidence.

• The unbeliever can enjoy his sin.
• The believer cannot enjoy his sin. Even if not caught by the culture, he is always caught by God and disciplined by God!

And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:5-11

3. You may also have realized that there are real unbelievers pretending to be Christians. These are hypocrites

With these three problems in the Christian culture, we dare not compare our life and conduct with any of the three. Compare yourself with God’s norm.

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12

Here are a few encouraging scriptures.

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Hebrews 7:25

In KJV “completely” is “uttermost.” God does not save part way. He is not a partial savior for a partial sinner.

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. John 5:24

Notice “hears” “believes” and “has” are all presence tense verbs. Eternal life is NOW. “Will not be” is future tense. “He has crossed over” is past tense. Eternal life begins in an instant and guarantees the future because of what happened when belief happened.

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30

Jesus Christ is our wisdom, that is:
• Our righteousness
• Our holiness
• Our redemption
Jesus Christ does not save us in pieces or driblets.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
1 John 2:1, 3-6

Obedience is expected.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. Ephesians 5:3-7

Isn’t that clear?

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. Ephesians 5:8-14a

More clarity.

You may be in one of the three situations described at the beginning of this post.

If you do not know, do the following:

• Read 1 John chapters 1-5 every day for five days. Pay attention. You will find out what you are.
• Ask God to show you individual sins in your life. Confess them. If joy is restored you were a Christian at the time you were committing them. If joy does not return or if you can’t think of many you are not a Christian.
• If you already know that you are a hypocrite or if you found out that you are not saved by doing the above assignments, then confess your state of sinfulness and confess Jesus Christ is Lord.

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10

Thank God!


Anonymous said...

This is so well said, and I wanted to share it with a loved one. However, I can't get it to print. Do you have this printed somewhere, and if so, where can I buy it? All of your posts have helped me so much in learning how to think clearly through issues. Thank you so much!

James I Wilson said...

Yes, I have this as a Word document. I would be happy to send it to you freely if send me your e-mail. You can contact me at jimwilson@moscow.com.