From Lenny's Meditations, July 23, 2001
Let's go first by what Jesus said, "You must be born again to see the kingdom of God; You must be born again to enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:3;5). Secondly, let's go to the passage in the gospel of John where it says, "But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, NOT of blood NOR of the will of the flesh NOR of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12,13, RSV). You have to be born of God. He has to do it. There are many other scriptures. Mark 16:16 says, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." In an other place, it says, "because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Rom. 10:9, RSV).
Another scripture talks about confession: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9, RSV). Born again and being saved is the same thing. He that believes that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is a son of God (1 Jn. 4:2). He that believes that Christ is the son of God is born of God (1 Jn. 5:1). "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God" ( I John 4:15, RSV). "Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God" (1 John 4:7, RSV). "Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 3:21, RSV).
All these verses are used as proof texts about different ways to enter the kingdom or the family of God, because there are so many different members in the body of Christ and they all don't think the same; they all don't feel the same; they all don't act the same, nor walk the same path; so they think that God has different ways of entering the body. Now, you can say to me that if you don't ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins then you cannot be saved, and I can counter that by saying that you men have not had an experience where you have been crucified with Christ. I know that because you continually carry the consciousness of your sins. If you do not see yourselves crucified with Christ I could say that you are not born again or saved. Another church will say that if you have not spoken in tongues or experienced any other of the gifts of the Spirit flowing in your life, you are not saved or born again. I have heard that there are about 30,000 different Christian denominations, so there are at least 30,000 different parts of the body of Christ. Now do they all believe the same? Of course not, because they are different. The foot is not going to believe the same as the eye and the eye is not going to believe the same as the hand, and the hand is not going to believe the same as the heart and we can go on and on and on (I Cor. 12:15).
The path that God has given you has one command only: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (John 13:34, RSV. See also Jn. 15:12,17). Peter said this, "Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brethren, love one another earnestly from the heart" (1 Peter 1:22, RSV).
Man's instructions or commands are many and foolish. I'm talking about religion. When you are born of God, you are born of God, but if you try to get saved or born again by the will of the flesh, or by the will of man, then you are into man's religion. Man's religion has tried and failed to bring many into the kingdom of God. It is impossible. You must be born of God. Self effort does not bring you into the kingdom of God, nor keep you in the kingdom of God. It has nothing to do with the kingdom of God. It is of the flesh. You must be born again, "but when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:4,5, RSV). God clearly says, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you" (John 15:16, RSV). And on the cross, Jesus chose everyone in the whole world. He said, "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32). And He could have said, "And no religion is going to be able to stop me from doing that."
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850
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"More on the New Creation," by Lenny
"Alive in God," by Lenny
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and last edited on 06/06/10.