Are you Born Again? The gravity surrounding this question is unmeasurable and should be taken very seriously. In many conversations I find people usually come to this question at some time in their life as Christians. Whether it is because of doubt or a concern over sin or even a concern over someone else who seems to be slipping from the faith. While many have given some true wisdom on this subject from God’s word, today I want to focus on “ONE” element of true salvation that will be certain in the hearts and lives of all the children of God.
Jesus says that there is a law that summarizes the fullness of His entire nature, His essence, and His worth when He says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV) To know and desire such a law in one’s heart is proof that he is born again. On the other hand, disdain toward these laws is proof that one has the spirit of the devil, not the Spirit of the Lord. This is proven in many places throughout scripture (John 13:34; Philippians 2:3-4; 1 John 4:7-21; 1 John 4:11; 1 Cor 13:13; James 2:14-17; Matthew 5:43-48; 1 Peter 4:8-9) and talks about serving, giving, suffering, dying, and giving up rights for the sake of others.
Scripture teaches that if one confesses a love for God but has no love for his brothers and his enemies, then that one is a liar and has nothing but a fear of judgment. Now, so often we can argue what love looks like and say, “well, I do love folks, but…” when in reality we love the “but” more than the people. This is proven because we would rather hate our neighbor so we can secure our right to have our microwaved popcorn. Maybe that is too harsh? Maybe it is just too true for some folks. When so-called Christians are blinded by self-preservation and are unwilling to lose everything they have for the sake of their enemies, then they are either living in rebellion or darkness. One could argue these are two in the same.
So, the utmost outward test of true salvation is that one has a heart for others; particularly those who are in need, unable to fend for themselves, hungry, running for their lives, being killed and given up for power and greed. When Christians see people anywhere (btw, there are more people in other parts of the world than there will ever be in the US) they have heart for them and their internal desire is to die for them that they might know the great unsurpassing love of God who stepped out of Heaven to die for the sins of His people.
How can we tell if we love people? Well, here are a few thoughts:
- Do we love them in our passions? Are we able to see a burden and draw toward others, no matter their circumstances, and a desire to give of ourselves fully for the sake of others?
- Do we love them in our prayers? If we love others we are prayerful for them. We plead with our Father to help them and even ask God to put us “outside” the camp in order to do what is necessary.
- Do we love them in our purse? What I mean is that it takes nothing for an abundance to be given away, but what about when all we have is what we absolutely need? Remember the rich young ruler and remember the widow’s mite. Love is love when it’s sacrifice. It’s all God’s anyway.
- Do we love them in our purpose? Are we caring more about “us” than “them”? Do we see God moving opportunities for ministry, Gospel-sized ministry and think it to be a burden that would “IMPOSE” on our lives? If so, then we are not loving.
- Do we love them in our presence? Do we care enough to “be there?” Do we care enough to not just say and pray but to also ‘stay?’
- Do we love them in our politics? We do know that ALL the children of God are in ALL the world right? Then why would we ever close our doors to anyone seeking to be with us, especially those running from harm?
- Do we love them in our pride? Do we love people who are or could be our siblings in Christ and take “pride” and honor toward them as our own body? No one hates his own body, but nurtures it and protects it, just as Christ does for His bride.
What do we do now? We pray for God to heal us of our pride, reveal our sinful and selfish hearts and praise Him for saving us from ourselves, our dreams, our ego, our idols and our hatred. God loves us and we do love others. Church, one day this nation will die and the only nation that will remain is a nation of priests from every tongue and tribe. We need to think to that end. So often people who claim Christ want to stand up against laws that hurt the unborn but when they “are” born, they need to be viable or they are worthless. Well, I am thankful that my God, who knew I was worthless, saw fit in His mercy to save me, an immigrant in the faith, an enemy of the King, a traitor to the crown who was helpless and blind and dead.
To all my brothers and sisters in South Africa, Russia, India, China, Mexico, Canada, America, Brazil, Afghanistan, Palestine, Israel, and elsewhere, know that the God of Heaven doesn’t shut you out of His kingdom, for He is righteous and His people do not shut you out either. I am glad that those for whom we pray in foreign lands are willing to be felons for the sake of the gospel. I wish in place where it was legal to be faithful, people would. But hey, that’s how God works in the first place; when we are left to ourselves, we perish.
Praise Him for His glorious grace!
Pastor James Tippins