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On being born again

Discussion in 'Struggles by Non-Christians' started by Bob8102, Jul 12, 2021.

  1. Bob8102

    Bob8102 Member

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    I waiver back and forth between thinking I'm saved and thinking I'm not saved. I have discussed some of this problem in my post, "Salvation is always just a step away." I have believed in the gospel of Jesus Christ since sixth grade (when I first asked Jesus into my heart) and now I am 63 years old. In about tenth grade, a friend asked me, "If you were to die tonight and stand before God and He were to ask you, 'Why should I let you into my heaven?' what would you answer?" I said that I would say that in sixth grade, I tried to ask Jesus into my heart, and I asked my friend, "Would that be enough or would I be on shaky ground?" He answered, "You would be on VERY shaky ground." In a certain sense, that was the beginning of my believing that I am on shaky ground with Jesus, and that understanding of being on shaky ground has continued all my life since then.

    I recall a later meeting with the same friend when he told me I have to give my life to Christ. At the moment he said that, I had NO heart desire to give my life to Christ, NO trust in Christ at all. A big part of my problem was the witness of my older brother, who has claimed to be a Christian for forty-plus years. As the Bible says, a prophet is not accepted in his home town. I knew (and know) my brother's foibles. Because I have at least one mental disorder - OCD - I feel free to mention that my brother has had mental problems, as well. When he first became a Christian and started talking about Christianity stuff, we, all in the family, thought his Christianity stuff was just more craziness like what we had been seeing in him. Looking at my brother, I had no desire for my life to be like his. I will say that he has come a long way. He has had the power of Jesus to guide him, not psychiatrists/psychologists or medication. Whereas I go to a psychiatrist and take medication for my OCD. But when, in tenth grade, i was challenged to give my life to Christ, I'm sure it is my view of my brother that helped me to have NO trust in Christ nor desire to give Him my life. At that moment, I heard a kind of voice in my head saying, as to giving my life to Christ, "You don't have to." I knew then and I know now whose voice that was. I whole heartedly jumped on that advice of Satan's at that moment. I cried at that moment, because of the conflict within. After that, I started attending church with my brother and our mutual friend who had told me that I had to give my life to Christ.

    I will say that not only has my brother improved over the decades, but I have learned enough about Christianity to know why I should trust Christ, regardless of what my brother is like or has been like. But most of the time between tenth grade and now, I understood that I am not a Christian and am not heading for heaven. Then, ten years ago, after my mother died (whether or not she or my dad became believers in their last hours, I do not know), I began seeking salvation full time. At some point it, with the help of my OCD, became so dominant in my life that I was basically at seeking salvation 24/7, and was dysfunctional, and could to nothing else but seek salvation.

    The whole time that I definitely understood myself to not be a Christian, I was abhorrent to the idea of being born again. Gospel tracts sometimes say, "God has a wonderful plan for your life." Not only was it hard for me to really believe that, but, of my own accord, *I* have a wonderful plan for my life. Much more wonderful than the plan of life that my brother has followed. In any case, I have viewed being born again as being unbearably squashed. Part of the problem is my pride/ego. I have viewed my pride and ego as being, intrinsically, ME. To crush my pride is to crush ME. And I don't want to be crushed. But then I read in the Bible, "Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and He will lift you up." Though pride is the key sin and "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble," God's past, present and future plans for Mankind are glorious. Man is the crown of the natural creation. The apostle Paul in the New Testament talks about the glory to come which we will share with the King of Kings, Jesus Christ. Seeing that God has plans like that for us, should make me be willing to humble myself under the mighty hand of God.

    But my main problem is the problem of all of us: I have inherited an evil, sinful nature from Adam and Eve. Whether along with pride or not, this nature makes me distrust God and pulls me away from God, along with Satan and his activities. Along with the world. Along with what was the terrible witness of my brother in my earlier years. So, i have a deep distrust of God and His will. I know enough at the intellectual level to know I should NOT distrust God, but in my heart is the hideous strength of sin.

    I have all day, every day, been giving my life to Christ, then immediately doubting I meant it, doubting that I'm saved, and so giving my life to Christ again, for ten years or longer. The last part of the responses to my post, "Salvation is always just a step away," is a discussion between two Christians about becoming a Christian. Part of that discussion is about the efficacy of "sinner's prayer" salvations. I have read people who diss the sinner's prayer. One said, 'No where in the Bible does it say you have to pray a prayer to be saved. It says you have to believe.' In considering that assertion, I go to two passages in the Bible in particular. One is in the gospel of John. A man, whose son was dying of an illness in another town, came to Jesus and asked Him to come and heal his son. Jesus said, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe." The man implored Jesus again to come and heal his son. Jesus said, "Your son lives." The man returned home. On the way (as I recall), his servants met him and told him the illness had left his son. He asked them when he got healed. They said, 'Yesterday at the seventh hour [about one in the afternoon] the fever left him. Then the man realized that this was the same hour at which Jesus had said, "Your son lives." John says, "Then he believed and his whole household."

    The other Bible passage I go to when considering the assertion that the Bible says not to say a prayer but believe, is also in John, where it says "...these [things] are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life in His name."

    I go and look up at Jesus and repeat the verse, "Then he believed and his whole household," and repeat the verse about having life in His name. Then I try to believe with saving faith, and to believe I have life in His name.

    A couple days ago, I was sure I was saved for awhile. On another website about, by and for Christians with OCD, one poster lists several recommended books. With two of the books, the poster warns that they can produce doubts about salvation. One of these two is Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. I have read that twice. I would add a third book to the list of books which can generate doubts about salvation. This is My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. This is a devotional with a devotion for each day of the 365 day year. The friend who gave it to me said that it is for the mature Christian. If I've always just got saved five minutes ago, then I am not a mature Christian! The book is written to challenge Christians; along the way, it certainly challenges non-Christians! I stopped reading it for years because it seems the author always has something negative to say. One time, some weeks back when I thought I had just been saved, I started reading it again. I have kept reading it daily since then. The day after I was temporarily (again) sure of my salvation was Sunday, July 11th. The Oswald Chambers reading for that day (July 11th) said that a "spiritual saint" does not go after self-realization, but Christ realization. He said that self-realization enthrones work [along with Self] but the spiritual saint enthrones Christ in his/her work. When I think I'm saved, I set about a certain agenda of mine, a certain daily schedule of activity. Effectively, I start working to carry out that "wonderful plan for my life" that I have, hoping it's in God's will and accepting that God can change my plans as He wishes. When I think I'm not saved, I drop the plans/agenda, and return to full-time seeking salvation. That's what happened after the July 11 Oswald Chambers reading. I realized that my plans are motivated by a desire for self realization more than a desire to do God's will, more than a desire for Christ realization. That made me doubt my "sure" salvation. As I said, Oswald Chamber's book is one that can generate doubts about one's salvation! Later, Sunday morning, my church's online service had a sermon on Romans 5. It made salvation so desirable, I started asking, for the n-hundredth time, "What must I do to be saved?" The pastor giving the sermon put it succinctly: surrender to Christ. Then I started repeatedly going over verses in Romans 5, and other verses, and have been doing that since, all in seeking salvation.

    i believe in salvation in a moment. That is solidly biblical. But that is one incredible moment! They say that a believer's life will evidence good works. What an OCD believer's life will evidence is repeated or continual doubt about his/her salvation, and repeated or continuing attempts to be saved. The question is, is the OCD person doubting their salvation because of their OCD, or because they are not really saved?

    I think of myself as an honest person. Not to speak too soon, nor to ignore the biblical assertion, "Let God be true and every man a liar." But I think if I just keep being honest to God and myself and others about what I actually think is true, including what is true about me, even if that means I know I am heading for hell, then maybe that awareness will someday motivate me to change something in me, which will cause the truth about me and my destiny to become actually good.

    Is being born again like being unbearably crushed? That does not seem to be the case from what the Bible and believers say. But it involves some change from living for one's self to living for Christ. THAT is one incredible change, even though it can occur in a moment.
     
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  2. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +5,078
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    Well, it can be good to evaluate how he is and lives, and evaluate how you have been living. And trust Jesus.

    "we who first trusted in Christ" > in Ephesians 1:12

    And whatever God's word says . . . trust God to do this with us. Trust Him to evaluate us, and change us how He wants.

    "casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)

    It is for our good, how God resists us in our pride. His resistance keeps us from getting into the trouble that we could. And if I start reacting to His resistance, by me getting angry and frustrated and nasty and unforgiving and blaming . . . this exposes how I have not been doing things with God. And I can trust Him to correct me and restore me into sweet and sensitive sharing with Him and discovering what He has me doing.

    "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful." (Colossians 3:15)

    We trust God in His peace, and here we have His personal leading with His safety almighty against all sorts of mental chaos and heart problems. And all are "called in one body" to this.

    So, if you're not doing this basic of Christianity which is for all of us, then trust God through Jesus to get you into this. And if at any time we fail to stay submissive to God in this peace, then stop . . . right away . . . and depend on our Father to correct and restore us, plus help each other with this. Because we are family, no one on one's own.
     
  3. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This can be good. After all, no physical medication can cure a personality problem. Because our personalities are spiritual at our roots.

    So . . . then . . . what does Jesus want us to do if we see that someone is wrong, somehow? Pray for the person. Have hope of all which is possible with God for the person.

    If you can see what is true about your brother, God is trusting you with this, to do the right thing with what you see and know.

    Jesus knows more about us than we do, and look at what Jesus has done about what He knows!
     
  4. Tolworth John

    Tolworth John Well-Known Member Supporter

    +3,679
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    Married
    Let me put it this way.
    A neighbour tells you he love football, that he loves to follow his team, yet when you know his team is playing he has a banner up supporting the corner team!

    Just how real is his love for that team?

    May I suggest that you discuss your spiritual concerns with your pastor.
    The man who preaches at the church you attend each Sunday.

    If you don't have a church, ask your brother to recommend one.
    Or check out the christianityexplained web site for a church that runs this course in your area and get in touch with them.

    I suspect you would prefer a face to face conversation with someone rather than these faceless posts.
     
  5. Jay Sea

    Jay Sea ................ Ke ĉiuj vivu

    208
    +93
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    Private
    Nobody can honestly say "I AM SAVED." we are all swimming in the same sea tossed by by the waves or caressed by them, caught in the too still waters, going nowhere at time thinking we will drown or see no land ahead. That is life we have all been give gifts we can think, we can communicate with G-d and each other it is how we do these things and what world we help create with G-d to include all peoples saints and sinners, bringing love, compassion and forgiveness. You have these in abundance from G-d following in the footsteps of Yeshua as his disciple to extending the gifts of his kingdom to all that you meet. Worrying about being saved or not is like a swimmer thinking he/she will drown when they are wearing a life jacket. When i say follow Yeshua I mean be like him in whatever is your life choice.
    In LOve
    Jay SEa
     
  6. timf

    timf Regular Member

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    The subject of salvation is slightly different that the subject of how you feel about salvation. What most people desire is some affirmation or assurance that they are really saved.

    Some will attempt to provide assurance based on criteria like baptism, church attendance or membership, or an act such as saying a particular prayer. It is difficult to separate this approach from a works based salvation.

    Faith is about trust. We can obtain assurance from some biblical metrics. For example, the gospel is foolishness to those that are perishing. If we think the gospel is foolish, perhaps we should be worried.

    The bible says that people will know that we are Christians because of the love we have for each other. Here it can be useful to note that "love" is not so much affection, but selfless and even joyful service (1Cor 13:4-7)

    There is a military adage, "Do not take counsel of your fears" that can be useful for Christians.

    There is a classic Christian book called "The Practice of the Presence of God" by a Brother Lawrence. This is not a book on doctrine, but rather a description of one man who had simple and deep faith.

    There is a hymn that captures some of this faith;

    I know not why God’s wondrous grace
    To me He hath made known,
    Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
    Redeemed me for His own.

    But “I know Whom I have believed,And am persuaded that He is able To keep that which I’ve committed Unto Him against that day.”

    This hymn is drawn from Paul's own assessment of his faith.

    2Ti 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
     
  7. Jay Sea

    Jay Sea ................ Ke ĉiuj vivu

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    Yes TRUST is important other wise we cannot have strength to do G-d's work in service to others.
    In Love
    Jay Sea
     
  8. Bob8102

    Bob8102 Member

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    Thanks for your responses, all. This morning I have concluded, based on Jesus' promises, I'm saved. I even made an acronym out of that sentence as a memory aid: BOJPIS: Based On Jesus Promises, I'm Saved. If any of you all want to think some thoughts about Christians with OCD, Google "OCD doubt salvation." You will see what problems we have, and you will see a couple or so of my posts on some of those websites. Thanks especially to any who have been praying. I pray for everyone on this and other Christian websites.
     
  9. sandman

    sandman Senior Member

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    US-Constitution
    Pretend scenario: Lets pretend at birth little Johnny was confiscated in the hospital by a wicked person who wanted him in the world.

    As Johnny grew up he noticed a distinct difference between himself and his parents, both of whom were around 5’5 and John was 6’4 and ….and he always had this feeling that something wasn’t right. At age 20 John get busted for a crime, and his DNA was taken for the CODIS data base.

    When the information is put into CODIS system, there is an unusual hit. It seems little Johnny was abducted at birth and his real father has been searching for him for years. His real father is contacted and comes to claim him, but in order to claim him, he must submit to another DNA test for proof…..and….. …………you know the rest of the story.

    The moral of this story is: An earthly father in order to provide proof positive connection to a child can do so by way of DNA. Little Johnny …(now big bad John) was assured that this was his real father because his father provided proof.

    We know that spirit does not have any form, so no DNA……….. But is God any less of a Father than our earthly Dad? ( that would be a rhetorical question) ….Do you not think that God knows our human frailties? That at times we would have doubt and questions regarding our sonship to our heavenly Father…. and to know that we have saved…. born again. Don’t you think that God could provide us with some assurance, some proof ….and if so ……….. What proof could God provide.

    Well He has ….and I can say with 100% assurance I am born again …
     
  10. 1watchman

    1watchman Overseer Supporter

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    That sounds good, friend, IF you have the Lord Jesus in your heart and life, and not just an idea in the head. I hope it is a PERSONAL relationship with Him daily in prayerful conversation with Him --for just believing about Jesus is not a relationship. Walk with Him in conversation daily, friend, and you will have the "peace that passeth all understanding" as God says; and salvation of your soul forever (please read John 3; John 14 to hear God speaking to you through His Spirit. Keep looking up!
     
  11. biblelesson

    biblelesson Member

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    So from the age of six years old, from a conversation you had with someone who knew nothing about Salvation, and because you believed that nonsense, and became confused, you have OCD?

    Children are very impressionable, and depending on how you really wanted to be saved at six, and how you viewed God, it's possible your mind accepted and locked in what your friend said, and you are holding on to the guilt they caused you.

    Somewhere there is just a lack of understanding, like so many churches today that don't really teach the truth about salvation. And it's not your fault, the bible talks about false teachers, and deceivers. Unfortunately children get caught up in the religious abuse.

    When I was very young, a preacher told me not to pray to Jesus. He said, "Oh No, Don't pray to Jesus" in an expression that made it seem like I would be committing a sin. The preacher (false teacher), also did not believe in the atoning work of Christ, and basically denied Him. I was very young, and that had an affect on me. It took me years of praying to ask God to removed from me what that man had done to me; he made me afraid of Jesus.

    There have been other things that people have done and said to me as a child, and young adult that caused me to feel I was wrong, and that God did not love me. I know now that it's something I had to pray to God to have removed from me. I realized, it was not me, but them, with their faulty thinking. And if I were to continue to believe them, I can put a lot of psychological labels on myself. Either that, or know that I am a Child of God, and God has made provisions for my salvation in Christ, just like He has made provisions for everyone. Why am I different?

    I'm no different from anyone else. Salvation is not something we try and get or obtain from God. God has offered it to every man. God did it in his Son. All I must do is believe. It's a free gift. We can't earn it or act right for it. I just must believe.. Believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, shed his blood, and atoned for my sins.

    When we are born again we have two natures. 1) The flesh, corruptible seed, and 2) God's incorruptible seed, the Holy Spirit. It is quite normal for the flesh to fight against the spirt and vis versa, Galatians 5:17. That is one of the proofs you are a Christian. We grow in Christ by grace, through the gospel message. As we grown, we start to experience more of the Power of the Holy Spirit that subdues the flesh, and we walk more with Strength in the Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit. It takes time because we must renew our mind, Romans 12:2, and sometimes we don't even know what that means. We must pray for understanding and ask God for help.

    Don't listen to people who make you feel guilty, like Job friends. Listen to those who offer you love, patience, and understanding in Christ.
     
  12. 1watchman

    1watchman Overseer Supporter

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    One NEEDS to read the Holy Word of Truth (our Bible as God provided) as first in John 3; John 14; Romans 8, to hear God speaking to one personally.
     
  13. anna ~ grace

    anna ~ grace Newbie Supporter

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    Our salvation in Christ is a journey. Trust Him, live for Him. We won’t be perfect. But we can grow.

    Some Christians put way too much emphasis on a dramatic conversion experience / crisis conversion. Not everyone has this, though some do. Read the New Testament, live out what you read there with His help, ask forgiveness when you sin and firmly resolve to fight this sin in the future, pray, love others, grow, trust in Him, and live for Him.
     
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