False Teachers Say…




The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans 16:16)



Out of the doctrine of original sin came the tradition of subjectivism. Subjectivism is defined as, "The theory that limits knowledge to subjective experiences." If we were to ask ten people about their salvation and relationship with God, we are sure we would get a widely varying response to the question. Some would answer, “I placed my hands on the TV and was saved during a prayer.” Another might say, “I was driving in my car and started praying, tears came to my eyes and I knew I was saved from my sins. I became a born‑again Christian.” On and on this line of thought could continue. This is why, when you ask the question, “Are there saved people in every denomination,” the answer will be yes. Most of our denominational friends have a complete and utter misunderstanding of the new birth process.


The truth is, most false teachers place the role of the Holy Spirit directly in the role of conversion, because of the doctrine of "Original Sin." This causes them to teach that salvation is something you “get” from the Holy Spirit. In contrast, the Bible teaches that salvation comes by something we “do” (Matt. 7:21; Heb. 5:8-9; Rev. 22:14). False teachers misuse John 3:1‑8 as their proof text. In that passage Jesus uttered something very perplexing to Nicodemus: "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). Jesus then emphatically said, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). The word "must" placed an imperative upon this new birth, and thus completely tore down all under­standing Nicodemus had of his religion.


In every new birth in the physical life, conception and birth come about in the same way. One is begotten by the father and born of the mother. In the spiritual world, one is born into the family of God in the same way throughout time. One birth, not two, no more no less. One is begotten by the Spirit and born of the water when he is buried with Christ in the waters of baptism (Rom. 6:3‑4).


"Born of the Spirit," what is it? (John 3:5). The Spirit is the truth, and was sent to reveal "All Truth" unto the world (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit is the truth (1 John 5:6‑8). Jesus asked the Father to, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth" (John 17:17). The seed according to Jesus is the word of God sown in the heart (Luke 8:11). Jesus said, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63). In this same chapter Jesus asked the disciples, "Will ye also go away”? And, they answered in truth, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life" (John 6:67‑68). Thus, being born of the spirit is the same as being born of the word (1 Pet. 1:23).


The Holy Spirit came to "reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment," using the word to convict man (John 16:8). The word is the seed and life is in the seed according to the laws God set up at the creation. In the natural world, seed will reproduce after its own kind; this process also translates into the Spiritual world (Gen. 1:11‑12, 21, 24‑25; Luke 8:11‑15). One must be begotten of the seed (the word of God) ‑ conception in the spiritual heart. Man is begotten through the word of truth (James 1:18). Paul wrote, "I begat you through the gospel" (1 Cor. 4:15). One is born again of incorruptible seed, by the word of God…by the Gospel preached unto you (1 Peter 1:22-25). To be begotten by the word is to be begotten by the Spirit, who gave the word. "The sword of the Spirit…is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17).


If being "born of the Spirit" is to be born of the Gospel then what does it mean to be "born of the water”? Some say the water is the physical birth, but clearly Nicodemus understood Jesus to mean a man, not a baby. "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born" (John 3:4)? This water is clearly the waters of baptism, because water is used again in this inspired text (John 3:22-26­) and in the context of the whole New Testament. The eunuch said, "see here is water: what doth hinder me to be baptized" (Acts 8:36‑38)? He and Philip both went down into the water and came up out of the water. Peter said about the household of Cornelius, "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized…” (Acts 10:47)? “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (vs. 48).


The new birth demands one to be baptized in order to become a new creature and walk in new­ness of life (2 Cor. 5:17). A new life cannot begin apart from the new birth (John 3:5; Rom. 6:4). One is baptized into Christ's death, buried with Him, and raised in a new life by the power of God (Rom. 6:3‑6; Col. 2:12). The old man of sin is crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:7). Christ is put on in baptism, for we are “Baptized into Christ” (Rom. 6:3; Gal 3:27). At the point of baptism we receive all the spiritual blessings that are in Christ (Eph. 1:3). These blessings include salvation (2 Tim. 2:10). The new man is saved and has the answer of a good con­science (1 Peter 3:21).


In the spiritual rebirth, it is the spirit of man that is reborn – i.e., man is renewed in the spirit of his mind (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23-24). The spirit through the word strengthens the inner man (Eph. 3:16); thus, the inward man is renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16). The rebirth of the man's spirit translates him into the spiritual Kingdom of Christ, the church (Matt. 16:18‑19; Col. 1:13; 1 Cor. 15:24). The kingdom of God would not come as other king­doms (Luke 17:20-21), for the kingdom of God is not of this world (John 18:36).


Subjective feelings and experiences will not confirm ones salvation apart from the rebirth process, nor will feelings put one into Christ. Only belief in Christ and obedience to His will (Rom. 6:16‑18; Heb. 5:8‑9; 11:1, 6; 2 Tim. 3:16‑17; Matt. 7:21) can guarantee one’s entrance into Heaven.

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