William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, had a dream that caused him great concern for the church of the future … the church of our day. Filled with visions, his dream included the warning of a future salvation without regeneration infiltrating God’s church. A belief that one can be saved by Christ without true outward changes in behavior and beliefs. But true salvation isn’t simple!
Defined in part as spiritual renewal, regeneration is part of God’s salvation plan for us, and we deceive ourselves if we believe that salvation consists only of belief in Christ and a one-time prayer to receive His gift of salvation. When we are born again, our spirit (inner man) is no longer dead, but alive. This is not a secret, but something that will be evident to those around us:
Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
What does it mean to be “ingrafted” in Christ? According to Strong’s Concordance, in the Greek it indicates being: inborn, rooted, implanted—natural. If we are truly in Christ, we will have His characteristics: love, forgiveness, obedience, and holiness. It is the desire for holiness that brings about a change in behavior–the fruit we produce:
If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands. John 14:15
No one will be perfect in this world. There are no sin-free people! But a change of behavior, a life not patterned by sin, is an indicator of Christ dwelling within, proof of our love for God. And while it may be a popular belief today that God is tolerant of sin, God Himself tells us in the above passage that this belief is deception. Yet no matter where we may find ourselves in the present, we can always turn towards Christ and look to the Holy Spirit for confirmation, conviction, and assurance.
Will you take a few moments today to evaluate your relationship with Christ? Have you seen a change from your previous moral and spiritual condition? How are you growing in your Christian walk, indicated by the fruit your life is producing?
Can we pray for you at The Bottom Line, Ministries today?
Amplified Bible, biblegateway.com