Do you ever wonder how to tell if you have been born again, saved, or renewed by the Holy Spirit?
Well, I found the lists below in a John MacArthur study Bible a while back, and I thought I would share them with you.
Do a self-assessment (2 Cor. 13:5), if you’re concerned. If you’re NOT concerned, yet you fit more in the bottom half of the list, I’m concerned for you! It might be good for you to check out the tab “Eternal Life” at the top of this blog. Seriously!
Again, this is not original on my part, but I thought it was worth sharing. If nothing else it can shine some light on areas needing improvement.
Prepared to seek God. 2 Chr 19:3; Ezra 7:10; Ps 10:17
Fixed on God. Ps 57:7
Joyful in God. 1 Sam 2:1
Perfect with God. Ps 101:2
Upright. Ps 97:11
Clean. Ps 73:1
Pure. Matt. 5:8
Tender. 1 Sam 24:5
Single and sincere. Acts 2:46; Heb 10:22
Honest and good. Luke 8:15
Broken, contrite. Ps. 34:18; 51:17
Obedient. Ps 119:112; Rom 6:17
Filled with the law of God. Jer. 32:40
Meditative. Ps 4:4
Circumcised. Rom 2:29
Void of fear. Ps 27:3
Desirous of God. Ps 84:2
Enlarged. Ps 119:32; 2 Cor 6:11
Faithful to God. Neh 9:8
Confident in God. Ps 112:7
Sympathizing. Jer 4:19; Lam 3:51
Prayerful. 1 Sam 1:13; Ps 27:8
Inclined to obedience. Ps 119:112
Wholly devoted to God. Ps 9:1; 119:10,69,145
Zealous. 2 Chr 17:6; Jer 20:9
Wise. Prov 10:8; 14:33; 23:15
A treasury of good. Matt 12:35
Hateful to God. Prov 6:16, 18; 11:20
Full of evil. Ecc 9:3
Full of evil imaginations. Gen 6:5; 8:21; Prov 6:18
Full of evil thoughts. Jer 4:14
Fully set to do evil. Ecc 8:11
Desperately wicked. Jer 17:9
Far from God. Is 29:13; matt 15:8
Not perfect with God. I Kings 15:3; Acts 8:21; Prov 6:18
Not prepared to seek God. 2 Chron 12:14
A treasury of evil. Matt 12:35; Mark 7:21
Darkened. Rom 1:21
Prone to error. Ps 95:10
Prone to depart from God. Deut 29:18; Jer 17:5
Impenitent. Rom 2:5
Unbelieving. Heb 3:12
Blind. Eph 4:18
Uncircumcised. Lev 26:41; Acts 7:51
Of little worth. Prov 10:20
Deceitful. Jer 17:9
Deceived. Is 44:20; James 1:26
Divided. Hos 10:2
Double. 1 Chr 12:33; Ps 12:2
Hard. Mark 10:5; Rom 2:5
Haughty. Prov 18:12; Jer 48:29
Influenced by the devil. John 13:2
Carnal. Rom 8:7
Covetous. Jer 22:17; 2 Pet 2:14
Despiteful. Ezek 25:15
Ensnaring. Eccl 7:26
Foolish. Prov 12:23; 22:15
Deceitful. Prov 17:20
Fretful against the Lord. Prov 19:3
Idolatrous. Ezek 14:3,4
Mad. Eccl 9:3
Mischievious. Ps 28:3; 140:2
Proud. Ps 101:4; Prov 6:14
Stiff. Ezek 2:4
Stony. Ezek 11:19; 36:26
Arrogant. Isa 10:12
Stubborn. Isa 46:12
Elated by sensual indulgence. Hos 13:3
Elated by prosperity. 2 Chr 26:16; Dan 5:20
Studies destruction. Prov 24:2
Often judiciously stupefied. Is 6:10; Acts 28:26,27
Often judiciously hardened. Ex 4:21; Joshua 11:20
John MacArthur Study Bible, © 1997
In order to put things in perspective, we must start with the beginning. And when I say beginning, I mean THE beginning. Please consider the following verses, for they are critical:
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
It should be obvious, according to the above verses, that not only did God create the universe, but that the Word which He spoke was none other than Jesus Christ. The doctrine that Jesus is the “express image” of God the Father, even God Himself (Hebrews 1:3), is at the core of orthodox Christianity.
Jesus was not just a good man or prophet, and neither were the words of God at creation just words spoken in faith.
Did you get that last part? That’s the part I want to address.
There is a teaching still being taught that essentially says: “If you have faith in your words, as God had faith when He spoke the worlds into being, you can also create a miracle, your own reality. You can be like God, if you have the faith of God.”
Excuse me? God had faith? Really? If so, in what?
Well, if you’re like Kenneth Copeland, you’ll believe God had faith in His own words when He “spoke to the Spirit” on the day He created man…
“[We] can see that man’s body was formed from dust, but he became a living spirit when God spoke to Himself and breathed life into his physical body. … In short, we must always remember that unlike any other creature, man was both formed from dust and created with words of faith.” (Source)
Or then there’s this:
“God used words when He created the heaven and the earth….Each time God spoke, He released His faith — the creative power to bring His words to pass.”
Kenneth Copeland, The Power of the Tongue (Fort Worth: KCP Publications, 1980), 4.
First, stop and think about this! Do you realize that God is the Giver and Author of faith (Hebrews 12:1-2), not One who puts His faith in something or someone? There is something fundamentally wrong with the idea that Omnipotence would have any reason to have faith, for the very definition of faith requires a sense of dependence on a power outside yourself.
When God speaks, things happen; not because of His faith, but because He’s God!
Secondly, ask yourself: “If God had faith in His Word, then would that make Him the first Christian?” How silly does that sound? But in reality, if we are to believe that God had faith in His words, which brought about creation, then would it not stand to reason, – if John 1:1 is correct – that God the Father put His faith in Jesus? Was not Jesus the Word by which all things were created?
Then, there is the worst part…
Do you remember how Satan tempted eve in the garden of Eden? Remember how he tried to convince her that by eating the fruit, she could “be as gods?” How similar, then, is the promise, “If you have faith in your words, as God had faith in His words, you can create like God did?”
If you think I’m making this stuff up, my friends, consider the following statements by one of the foremost teachers of this false doctrine (and you can find more on YouTube):
“You have the same creative faith and ability on the inside of you that God used when he created the heavens and the earth.”
Kenneth Copeland, ‘Inner Image of the Covenant,’ side 2.
“On the cross, Jesus won the right for believers to be born again back into the god-class. Adam was created, not subordinate to God, but as a god; he lost it, and in Christ we are taken back to the god-class.” ~ Kenneth Copeland (AZQuotes.com)
“I say this with all respect so that it don’t upset you too bad, but I say it anyway. When I read in the Bible where he [Jesus] says, ‘I Am,’ I just smile and say, ‘Yes, I Am, too!'” ~ Kenneth Copeland (AZQuotes.com)
It may anger some of you, my readers, but please don’t be offended. Do as Paul told Timothy, “take heed unto thyself, and to [thy] doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:16).
Please understand, to claim one has the power to create, as God created, is heresy! Faith in our words, outside of faith in God, especially in order to bring about our will, as opposed to, or in spite of God’s will, is nothing less than witchcraft.
Even more, it is the doctrine of Eden reborn: “you shall be as gods.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing: CNN reported that Trump would not apologize after being acquitted. I literally laughed out loud and asked, “Why would he?!”
Seriously, if you think I’m joking, here’s a screen shot I took of the headline…
Say what you want, but if I was one who was accused of something I swore I didn’t do, why would I stand in front of the world after I was acquitted and say I’m sorry for doing what I previously swore I didn’t do? If they wanted to paint Trump as insane, that would have been a good time to do it, because that would have been crazy!
But as soon as I heard about this story and the stupidity of it all, I couldn’t help but think of what Satan does to you and me: he accuses, then he reminds.
The name “Satan” means “accuser.” That’s what he does all the time; he accuses us of all kinds of things, maybe even things we’ve done. Thankfully, one day he will be “cast down” and won’t be able to keep up the accusations.
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. – Revelation 12:10
But Satan not only accuses us before the Judge, he tries to make us feel guilty for things for which we’ve already been forgiven. He wakes us up in the middle of the night, or puts something in our paths that will trigger a flashback of some sin we did, and then he revels in making us feel guilty and dirty all over again.
“You call yourself a Christian?” he’ll ask. “Then why did you do that?” “What makes you think God would really forgive you? How do you even know you’ve been forgiven?” And then, like what you did was just yesterday, you feel sick, nasty, and afraid God might not love you as much as He promised.
Before long we find ourselves begging God to forgive us for something long forgiven, questioning His Word, or else we feel too ashamed to even believe we can be forgiven, then wind up doubting our salvation.
Folks, if Trump doesn’t think he did anything wrong, why on earth would anyone expect him to get in front of the cameras of his accusers and apologize?
But for you and I, what a joy it is – or should be – to know full well that what we have been accused of, we were guilty! Yet, through faith in Jesus Christ and His substitutionary atonement, we are not only forgiven, but we are JUSTIFIED (acquitted) by grace!
So, if the Devil’s CNN ever questions you about some sin you may have committed in the past, some sin that might get God to change His mind about acquitting you, remind them that whatever they are trying, it won’t work:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, – Romans 8:1 CSB
You’ve been acquitted!
In preparation for an upcoming sermon from Jeremiah 38, I went back to the following verse for focus and direction:
2 Timothy 3:16 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine (teaching, instruction), for reproof (a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested, conviction), for correction (a straightening up again), for instruction in righteousness (how to live right before God). [emphasis mine]
Whenever you are stumped, whenever you find yourself wondering “what is this passage telling me?”, understand that God does not lie, and ALL Scripture, properly exegeted, should be able to offer the following 4 things:
1. Doctrine. Simply put, there is something teachable from every passage of Scripture, even though sometimes the lesson might be difficult to determine.
2. Reproof. On what do you base your convictions? The Bible is what you use as the standard against which all things are tested. It is also what you fall back on when “proof” is what you need.
3. Correction. Too often the Bible is used as a tool with which to beat people over the head. As a “recovering legalist,” you might imagine that is not what I’m about. No, the word correction in this verse is a word that means “restoration to an upright or a right state; correction, improvement” (Strong’s). Some verses may be good for use as a “rod of correction,” but not all. However, ALL Scripture is profitable for instruction in putting someone upright. In other words, there is hope in every passage.
4. Instruction in Righteousness. Jeremiah 38 is a tragic story, but there are strong lessons to learn. There are lessons of bravery and compassion; lessons of hope in the midst of the most dire circumstances; and most of all, the lesson that we should listen to and obey God rather than rebel against His commands. Instruction in righteousness means, if nothing else, that all Scripture can teach us how to live right with God in a world that hates Him.
Whether you are preparing a sermon or just doing your daily Bible reading, use 2 Timothy 3:16 as a guide to help you understand what God is saying. With the help of the Holy Spirit learn, develop strong conviction, be encouraged and directed, and find guidance for the path ahead.
Sufficient is His Word.
Every once in a while I feel the need to do a little teaching. Keep in mind, many who read this blog do not go to a church, never hear a real pastor preach, nor even read a Bible. This might be the only path through which they choose to accept Biblical truth.
I just finished recording the audio for an upcoming radio broadcast. The text from which I preached was primarily the following:
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. … Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. – 1Ti 4:13, 16 KJV
One of the greatest challenges for the preacher is to make sure his doctrine is biblical, not based on human desires, such as the desire to only hear what we want to hear. I am reminded of the what Paul told Timothy in his second letter…
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. – 2Ti 4:3-4 KJV
How many people have literally “heaped to themselves” stacks of books, CD’s, cassette tapes, magazines, study guides, and DVD’s from televangelists, conference speakers, and popular authors who preach what scratches the itching ear? People want to hear what makes them feel good, more encouraged, and can lead to a more prosperous, fulfilled life. Therefore, hearing the Word of God is irrelevant, especially if it doesn’t scratch the itch
The challenge, then, is for the sincere man of God to give priority to what is true doctrine, not the doctrine of men. This takes serious study, a willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit, and an understanding that what is of the Lord might not be popular, or desired.
That’s when it’s important to be “instant in season and out of season.” God knows what we need to be spiritually healthy, so “taking heed” to our doctrine must also include the commitment to serve what what’s needed, not simply what we crave.
Many of you are Calvinists. I’m not.
Unfortunately, many think that there are no good arguments supporting a traditionalist view. Honestly, even many in my own denomination (SBC) have belittled and mocked the intelligence of those like myself for having not yet been enlightened by the “doctrines of grace.”
Let me put it this way, I know pastors who are more Calvinistic than John Calvin’s signature. These guys can get borderline contentious if you even suggest that Romans 9 and Ephesians 1 might not mean what they think it means (“inconceivable!”). To disagree with their interpretations is akin to attacking their tulip garden with a weed eater – they don’t like it.
However, I have attached video which offers a robust and biblical argument against the doctrine of reprobation as argued from Romans 9. I am not posting this to start a debate or argument. My purpose is to offer you another perspective of which you may not have heard.
Believe it or not, there are intelligent Bible scholars out there whose names don’t end with Piper, Keller, or Dever 😉 The only thing is that you must be willing to listen.
Just food for thought.
For further reading, below is a link to the article by Dr. Eric Hankins that is the subject of this video. It was originally published in the Journal of Baptist Theology & Ministry.
Sure, I don’t mind tackling controversial topics every now and then.
And when it comes to worship music, I’m a little more willing than normal to dive into the controversial pond.
Because Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus:
“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them … For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…” (2 Timothy 4:3a; 1 Timothy 4:16a)
“[Hold] fast the faithful word as [you] hath been taught, that [you] may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” (Titus 1:9)
“[Speak] thou the things which become sound doctrine:” (Titus 2:1)
And Jude wrote:
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 1:3)
Therefore, I couldn’t help but laugh and say “AMEN!” when I watched the video below.
Folks, I love music of all kinds, but when it comes to worship music – the kind we sing in the “congregation” – the words should be weighty with meaning and do more than make us feel good; they should contain sound doctrine and be able to exhort and convince.
So, I think I can say that I agree with “Clint Eastwood” on this, but I especially like the way he says it.
Yet, I’ll try to avoid telling our Music Director, “Go ahead, punk, play Oceans.”
This morning I came across a quote I posted to Facebook several years ago. Being Sunday morning, and being that I am a Baptist pastor, this is a great quote from a theologian with Chattanooga roots, Dr. Timothy George. And to think, we actually attended the same school 🙂
“The Baptist tradition finds a place within this narrative as a distinctive reform movement within the wider evangelical renewal, a reform within the reform, so to say. Baptists are indeed heirs of the Reformation, but they are not, nor have they ever been, mere clones of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, the Anabaptists, or anyone else. For Baptists, the great doctrines of the Reformation were refracted through the prism of persecution and dissent which informed their intense advocacy of religious freedom and, especially in the American setting, the separation of church and state (which does not equal the divorce of religion from public life). With all true Christians, Baptists profess loyalty to Jesus Christ the Lord, the eternal Son of the heavenly Father who “for us and our salvation” became man. He died for our sins on a cross, rose triumphantly over death, ascended to the Father, and one day will come again in power and glory. In the meantime, he still reigns, rules, and redeems through the Holy Spirit.” – Timothy George
The Body of Christ (the Church) has many members, each distinct in its own way. I just felt these distinctions were worth noting.
As most of you know, I have been making use of guest posts for the last several weeks in order to free up some time during preparation for a move. For the most part, all of the posts submitted by guest authors have been well-written pieces with acceptable content (content that doesn’t conflict with my personal beliefs).
However, just the other day I received a guest post from a blogger friend who has a different take on a particular teaching. His view is that the gift of speaking in tongues (languages unknown to the speaker), as mentioned in the books of Acts and 1 Corinthians, is still applicable and important for verifying the validity of one’s personal faith.
But here’s the thing: I don’t believe that. Shocker?
So, I had a discussion with the contributor of the post and stated that if I published his work without any clarification, there might be some confusion and unwanted repercussions. Essentially, to publish his post without a caveat would be a big gamble on my part.
Therefore, I have decided to try something… a guest post open discussion on the topic of speaking in tongues.
Let us have a discussion on the topic of glossalalia (i.e., “speaking in tongues”) within the church. If you have a particular view, why not share it? The only thing I will not permit is attacking each other.
The first post on the topic is going to be the one submitted by David Fuller: “Tongues and the Church Today.” David is not a cessasionist (cessationist = one who believes the gift of tongues has ceased), consequently he will be arguing that the gift of tongues is still alive and well, even under-used.
The next post will come from me, and that post will be a treatment of 1 Corinthians 14:4, the verse where Paul talks about self-edification. That post will be argued from the perspective of a near cessasionist (nearly 100%, but not quite…more like 98%). I’ve yet to write it, but it will be done soon.
After that, I would love to publish more posts from other bloggers willing to enter the discussion. All I ask is that you focus on good scholarship to support your understanding, not attacks on those with different beliefs. The posts will publish as regularly as you submit them.
You might be wondering, “Why do this?” I mean, why bring up a topic with so much potential for hurting feelings or exposing differences and inconsistencies within the Church? Well, the answer is pretty simple.
So, before I publish the first post in this open-ended series, let me issue a challenge to you all (or y’all, if you’re here in the South). When you submit your views on the subject/doctrine of speaking in tongues, remember to exhibit grace.
For example, if you don’t believe the gift of tongues is still in effect, that’s fine, but try to find a way to say something positive about those with whom you disagree. The goal of this series of posts is not to offend, but to build up and encourage each other as we seek to better understand Scripture.
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. – Philippians 2:1-2