2 Cor. 13:5 Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected?
Most people who see my title this week would probably automatically say they are not a false convert and for most I believe that is true, but it is important even if you are not one to understand that there are many false converts who need to know the truth about salvation. I have seen many examples of this. One that comes to mind is a gentleman who in our church is being raised up as a teacher of God’s Word. At a very young age he prayed a prayer at the altar, but by his own confession never notice any change in his life. He went on to live a life of sin and destruction up until several years ago.
He began to realize his life was not headed in a good direction. He also became very honest with himself about his sin. In doing so he cried out to God and repented of his sin, ask God to take his life, and he has never been the same since. After that time he had a hunger for the Word of God, and a hunger to get into God’s house and grow in his walk with God. This hunger had never been the before. He has since realized that all he did that day as a young boy was say some words; there never was any godly sorrow in his heart.
You will find out that there is no reference to a “sinners prayer” in the Bible. What one actually does in being born again is to invoke the lordship of Jesus Christ in their life (check out Rom. 10:13). When you come to Christ you call upon the name of the Lord. You were the lord of your life, but now you invoke His lordship. He now becomes the Lord (Supreme in authority) over your life. As Paul states above we need to examine ourselves to make sure we are not counterfeits. Doing so can obviously mean the difference between eternal life and eternal death.
2 Cor. 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
Scripture teaches us that without repentance there is no salvation. Repentance simply means a change of mind, change of heart, and a change of direction. There is no true change where there is no repentance. It is shocking today how many ministers and believers don’t want to hear about nor use the word repentance, and yet Jesus Himself declared, “Repent, the kingdom of God is at hand”.
This verse from 2 Corinthians is a powerful verse that reveals to us the most important element in someone receiving the salvation God offers. The key is godly sorrow. Godly sorrow produces repentance. Stop and think about this for a minute. If you have godly sorrow an automatic by-product is going to be repentance. That repentance is going to lead you to salvation. Acts 3:19 says to repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out. If there is no repentance then there is no true conversion. You are not a convert of Christ without repentance so therefore you would be a false convert.
A false convert would be someone who thinks they have been converted but in fact never had godly sorrow. If they did not have godly sorrow there could be no repentance, therefore no salvation. As 2 Corinthians 7:10 also reveals there is worldly sorrow which produces death. Simply put, one who has worldly sorrow will feel bad about being caught in sin, but they are not willing to give up their lordship over their life. This produces death, which simply means you are still separated from God. God is life, and when you repent (change of mind, change of heart, change of lifestyle) you enter into new life, or conversion. You being then born again start to convert, turn from the world’s ways and turn to God’s ways.
Matt. 3:8 Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart];
John the Baptist in dealing with the sinners of his day declared that one should bring forth fruit in their life that is consistent with repentance. Our lives should be living proof that we have had a change of heart. Modern day preachers call this legalistic, but there is nothing legalistic about it. You are not earning your salvation, you through godly sorrow have a desire to turn from the old ways of the flesh and turn to God. This today is a missing message from most of the pulpits of America, but Jesus Himself declared there was not a greater preacher born of women then John the Baptist. So if that is true shouldn’t preachers today follow in that example?
If we do not declare the whole truth of God’s Word we are only deceiving people. Then as we watch people who claim to be Christians live like sinners live, think like sinners think, and bear the fruits of sinners; we are told that it doesn’t matter because after all we are covered by God’s grace. Grace wasn’t given to cover our sin. Grace removed the sin that was within our spirit. Grace is a teacher as stated in Titus 2:11-12 that teaches us to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age. We need ministers of the Word to stop tickling people’s itching ears and speak the truth of the gospel that liberates people from their sin, and does not give them an excuse to continue living in what Jesus died to deliver us from.
We know this is a process, but it should not take people years and years to become as Titus states godly, and live a sober life, which simply means we should live with restraint when it comes to our flesh. You see the real issue with many today who think they are saved and yet do not exhibit the fruits of a changed life within is the fact that they are not truly born again. That is why they cannot seem to overcome the sinful ways of the flesh. That is why many do not have a desire to obey God’s commands and walk in the light of the Word. Scripture reveals the Word of God is foolishness to those who are perishing. It is no wonder then why many so struggle “trying” to live a godly life. It should become a part of our nature from within that changes us on the outside.
Rom. 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
So how does one find out if they have godly sorrow or worldly sorrow? Next week I will share in detail how Jesus Christ Himself witnessed the gospel to people and I will show you the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. I know of very few believers who actually witness to people the way Jesus did. He said if we would follow Him He would make us fishers of men.
As Romans 3:20 reveals the law given to Moses, which here represents the 10 Commandments was for the purpose of revealing the knowledge of sin. Most people if asked think they are going to heaven because they believe that they are a good person. But as you will see next week Jesus said there are none good but one, God. He was simply stating that no one is good enough on their own merit to go to heaven. Once someone through the law sees their sin you will find out if they have godly sorrow or worldly sorrow. They are going to either justify their sin or acknowledge it is something they are not proud of. They will have a desire to turn from that sin and get free from it, not continue to justify their right to sin. This is the key difference. A believer in Christ may still deal with strongholds in their life, but they don’t willfully justify their sin.
Gal. 3:22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
Gal. 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.
Gal. 3:24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Gal. 3:25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
The law was given so that when Christ came people would be able to see their sin, and in doing so the law would be a tutor to bring us to Christ so that we could be justified by faith. As soon as one sees that sinful nature and if they have godly sorrow repentance is automatically produced. They will have a desire to turn to God. Change of mind, which will lead them to a change of heart, which will lead to a change of lifestyle.
2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Some will say, “Yes, but we are just an old sinner saved by grace.” You must not have read this verse of scripture. If you are in Christ you are a new creation, not an old sinner. Yes we have a sinful nature in the flesh to deal with, but that new creation within will lead us to bear fruits worthy of repentance, which is all things becoming new. New words coming out of our mouth, new thoughts in our minds, new actions lived out. So examine yourself and make sure you have the witness of the Holy Spirit within. Time to make sure we are not counterfeit Christians. Join me next week, as we will show the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker