The spirit must be reborn and the soul converted

New Birth vs. Conversion

By RSpanos

The spirit must be reborn and the soul converted

Most Christians believe that the new birth and conversion mean the same thing. Confusion regarding the difference in these terms can generate mistaken theological paradigms.

The Bible says it is necessary to be born again (John 3:3). It is logical that new birth includes the initial aspect of conversion. What is new birth? It is the new birth of the human spirit. The Holy Spirit re-creates the spirit and begins to live in it. It is a regeneration of the spiritual life. We call it salvation. The spirit is born again instantaneously. All you have to do is believe in Jesus and make a decision to follow him. This faith comes supernaturally from repentance through the message of the gospel. It is easy to be born again. buterfly

But there is another word: conversion. Conversion has a completely different meaning. Conversion is the continual process of regeneration of the soul. This takes time and it has its costs.

Therefore, being born again is an instantaneous regeneration of the spirit, and conversion is a continual process of deliverance and regeneration of the soul. Salvation is free, but to become a disciple costs everything.

You can be saved and not be converted. Why is this? The answer is because conversion takes place in the soul and salvation takes place in the spirit. You can be saved, have the Holy Spirit within you, live in God’s presence, be a new creature in Christ and still not be converted in your soul; your thinking, feelings and will.

What is your soul? You are a triune being: a body, soul and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23). Your spirit is you; the real you that God created. Your soul is basically your mind, your will and your emotions. Your body is your house. Jesus can save your spirit in an instant, but your soul requires much more time to be converted.what-is-conversion_472_314_80

Nothing is more dangerous than one who has been saved but not converted. You know that you are born again but you still think with your old mind, your old habits still dominate you, and many of your old opinions, sins, desires and ways of life continue to be struggles for you.

All negative convictions still remain. Evil thoughts still frequent your mind. Corruption, bitterness, and hate continue to remain in you. You still fight with some uncontrollable desires. But you are saved. You may not know how long the Holy Spirit will contend with your fleshly attitudes, but you must know that you have been born again and thus you are God’s child and your spirit is eternally saved.

Now it is up to you to cooperate with God so that your soul (mind, will and emotion) may be converted and this involves the lifelong process that we call “sanctification”

 

Is the Holy Spirit real to you in your life or is He just a theological nuance?

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit…” John 20:21, 22 NKJV. RICHARDCIARAN_GALLERY_AUGUST_2009_Page_03_Image_0001_fs

Jesus’ words help to set in context two different works of the person of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. First we are made aware on Easter night, the disciples do, in fact, “receive the Holy Spirit” as “the Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2). Jesus’ word is direct and unequivocal: “Receive”; and in doing so, the disciples are “born again” (John 3:3) by the Holy Spirit’s regenerating work in them (Rom. 8:11-17).

This passage parallels the breath of the Father on Adam in the first creation, as Jesus breathes on them and the “new creation” is begun (2 Cor. 5:17). Second , however, on Pentecost the work of God’s Spirit as the Spirit of power (Isa. 11:2, “might”) is to enable Jesus’ disciples for ministry—witness and service —to fulfill their mission to the world.

In verse 22 “Breathed”: Makes a clear allusion to Genesis 2:7. Now Jesus breathed life into His own. Many interpret the statement “Receive the Holy Spirit” as symbolic and as anticipating Pentecost. Others interpret the Greek to mean immediacy in the sense of “receive right now,” and view the day of the Lord’s Resurrection as marking the transition from the terms of the Old Covenant to those of the New Covenant.

The old creation began with the breath of God; now the new creation began with the breath of God the Son.

 

 

Speak the truth in love, stop being passive.

Westminster Theological Seminary President: Christians Need to Stand Up in Public Square, Politics to ‘Reclaim Judeo-Christian Heritage’

BY SAMUEL SMITH , CP REPORTER

February 28, 2015|8:38 am

Speaking at Westminster Theological Seminary’s second-ever “Real State of the Union” conference last Saturday, three Christian scholars stressed to attendees that it is time for Christians to faithfully stand up in the public square and reclaim America’s Judeo-Christian heritage from what has become a prominently secular society.

“I am calling on all believers to have a recommitment to the truth of Christ to speak the truth and love, to be who we are and to engage in justice by being committed to justice and seeing to it by speaking in the public square,” Westminster Theological Seminary President Peter Lillback said. “We are not forcing ourselves into a place that we don’t belong. This public square was created by this Judeo-Christian heritage that we are speaking about.”

I’ve had a complaint for a while that far too many Christians have become intimidated into
being passive.   That’s not what we’re supposed to be and it isn’t what’s required of us.   Islam poses a great threat and passivity won’t cut it.   love and passivity

Christian Post …Lillback set the tone for the day-long conference, which was held at First Presbyterian Church in Bonita Springs, Florida, with an event-opening speech providing a rundown of how America has transformed from a country that was discovered and founded on Christian values to a society that now largely mocks and ridicules Christians who act in accordance to their religious beliefs.

“We are now in a day that was much like what first century Christians faced in a pluralistic world that was antagonistic to their Christian values,” Lillback told The Christian Post. “We aren’t even beginning to pay the price that our forefathers did for their faith.”

“Yes, we will be persecuted. Yes, we will be criticized. Yes, we will be assaulted. But Jesus said, ‘Be glad and rejoice for that is what they did to the prophets before you,'” Lillback continued.

Providing an example of how the government is now treats Christians and their faith, Lillback highlighted the military chaplain who was “condemned” in December for talking about his faith during a suicide prevention class.

Lillback explained that although many secularists today claim that religion has no role in government or the public sector, America’s Founding Fathers actually intended for the country to be one where politicians and public officials are free to make decisions based on their faith.

Lillback points out that the Founding Fathers specifically included four references to God in the Declaration of Independence and opines that they are indications that more trust needs to be put into God when it comes to leading and governing a nation that is supposed to be free of tyranny.

“So its been observed that the four references to God actually reflect the very form of government that the Constitution will eventually create,” Lillback said. “There are lawgivers. God is a giver of law. There are judges. God is the supreme judge. There are executives. God is the executor of his will through providence.”

Lillback added that God is also present in the Constitution, although others might disagree. Things such as the president having the option to take Sundays for sabbath and the president having to swear on the Bible when he takes his oath of office are clear reminders of how the Founding Fathers intended for the light of God to help drive the success of the nation, and protect it from human imperfection.

“Some people have said that the Constitution is a godless constitution, but it’s actually remarkably Christian in many ways,” Lillback asserted. “The most Christian element of all the Constitution is the lack of trust in human nature. All the ways in which there are checks and balances and there are different branches of government and the severance of power. Those are a recognition that man has basically corrupted and he will be even more corrupted when he has power.”

Lillback further explained that Christianity was a crucial part of public education and helped fuel the country’s Judeo-Christian morals up until the 1890s, as half of the boards of public universities were comprised of clergymen.

“When you get to the 1890s with the Holy Trinity case, you get to the highwater mark for Judeo-Christian value structure. But at this point, this is where we begin to see the movement from the very highest levels beginning to de-christianize the Universities,” Lillback said. “They began to push theological and seminary studies out of the universities and replaced it with the study of religions. Over time, it becomes more and more committed, not to deism but ultimately a form of practical atheism to where atheism became the prevailing view of our universities. That begins to take hold in the progressive era in the early 1900s.”

Harry Reeder, senior pastor at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama, followed Lillback’s historical rundown with his speech on the “downward spiral of the culture.”

Secular viewpoints became dominant in America in the later half of the 20th century and now 21st century pluralistic and post-modern culture has created hostility towards the same morals and values that America was founded on.things that matter

Following Reeder’s lecture, Bruce Waltke, a reformed evangelical professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, told the audience that Christians and the church need to be far more active in politics than they currently are.

“[Waltke’s] Impact has been enormous. In studying the Proverbs, he has come to the conclusion that the church ought to be far more involved in the public square and the political activity if we take the teaching of the Proverbs seriously,” Lillback explained. “I think it is quite a statement for a Biblical theologian, because he is moving out of his normal sphere to say, ‘These principles really do matter for what we are doing as a country.'”

Healing, Restoration and Holiness are you walking in them, or are you already Perfected?

It needs to be said that true restoration of relationships involves more than choices to forgive and be forgiven and a great deal more than fleshly striving to be kind and loving.

Holiness is not achieved merely by working to order our behavior according to the laws of God. Holiness is a matter of giving ourselves so completely to the Lordship of Jesus Christ that by the power of His Holy Spirit living in us we are transformed into His likeness. His purposes, motivations, and responses become ours. Our behavior is then the outward manifestation of what He has been allowed to accomplish in our innermost being.

Many in the church have not understood that a deep transformation of the inner man needs to happen for everyone in the process of sanctification. The Apostle Paul put it this way, “I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted: but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:4, 5. holiness-funny

Hidden things in the heart (hardened heart, bitterness) often block us in our Christian walk and keep us from becoming one with each other and with God. When born-again Spirit-filled Christians cannot walk in Christ, often what is involved is one must minister through counseling to the evangelization of unbelieving hearts of believers. Hebrews 3:12.

Many Christians resist the very idea of sanctification as a process. Rather, they see it in terms of a single happening, an experience. They celebrate the fact that their sins are forgiven and they are new creatures in Christ, which indeed they are (2 Cor. 5:17) However, many fail to see that the new creation has yet to put off the practices of the old man (habitual ways of seeing, thinking, feeling, and acting) and to put on the new self who is “being renewed” (Col.3:3-15).

Many do not seem to understand that they must be renewed in the spirit of their minds (Eph. 4:23) so that they may learn, for example, how to “be angry” but “sin not,” Eph. 4:26.

Our renewed mind must be trained to take authority over the emotions of our heart so that choices to act are not directed by emotions but by the mind of Christ in us. We are crucified with Him (Gal.5:24 and 2:20) but Paul also says that we “die daily” (1 Cor. 15:31) as we reckon ourselves dead to sin and present ourselves as alive to Christ as instruments of righteousness (Rom. 6:11-14).

“By one offering He has perfected for all times those who are (being) sanctified” Heb. 10:14; this passage speaks of a process. In Hebrews 12:14 Christians are told to “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man will see the Lord.”

We are commanded to: “see to it that no one come short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” (Heb. 12:15) we are to do as Paul did, “…I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12). We are to “grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2) and “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).

Christians who do not understand that our positional perfection in Jesus must become experiential in this life have counted their born-again experience as the end accomplishment rather than the beginning of a new life empowered by the risen Lord, supported, and nurtured by life in the family of God. (The Church).

“I was going to change my clothes, but I changed my mind instead.”

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 NKJV. MindWarBlog (1)

Strongholds are first established in the mind; that is why we are to take every thought captive. Behind a stronghold is also a lie—a place of personal bondage where God’s Word has been reduced to any unscriptural idea or personally confused belief that is held to be true.

Behind every lie is a fear, and behind every fear is an idol. Idols are established wherever there exists a failure to trust in the provisions of God that are ours through Jesus Christ.

Some of the weapons that pull down these strongholds are: God’s Word (Heb. 4:12,13), the blood of the Cross (Rev. 12:11), and the name of Jesus (Mark 16:17). Strongholds are pulled down and confronted bondage is broken as these spiritual weapons of our warfare are employed (Eph. 6:13-18).

navalwar

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