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There was a time in life where I would have said “Definitely not!” As I met those who claimed to be born again, I found them strange and uncomfortable to be around. They were always talking about Jesus in a way that I knew nothing of. It made me uncomfortable about my own relationship with God. I didn’t really have a true relationship with God, but I didn’t want to be bothered about it. However, as I looked in to the question, I had to have a better answer for questions of eternal life than that.
It is true that Jesus did say in the Bible that “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) In fact, it is stated more than once in this passage. If that is true, then we need to know what that means. In the same passage, Jesus talks about this new birth as compared and contrasted with our physical birth. Simply, He is saying that like we have been born physically, we must be born spiritually. My spiritual problem was that I had assumed I had a correct relationship with God and not sought this spiritual birth. The weakness of my own works-based relationship with God was evident by the lack of power I experienced in dealing with sin and evil.
I was confronted by those who cared about me about my need to not be enslaved by sin, particularly alcohol abuse. While I understood they were correct, I felt powerless to do anything about it. I reluctantly agreed to stop though I really didn’t want to. At the same time, I began to read more of what the Bible had to say and considered it. While I was attempting to quit doing the things I knew as wrong and sinful, nothing else really changed about my life. I still went the same places and did everything I did before. It was not long before I was in despair. I was trying to do those things that would have been associated a new life, but I didn’t have a new life. One night I gave in to all the old temptations. The next morning I was miserable, and rightly so. That day I asked Christ to take away my sins and give me a new life. I was willing to turn from my sins and to Jesus. The Bible says “For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13. At that point, God began to build a relationship with me. I was born again and had a new life in Christ. This brought me to the starting point in the Christian life, where I could begin to live by faith and trust God.
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The sad answer to this question is no, some are not truly believers. Jesus illustrated this in Matthew, chapter 7, verses 21-23. He says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;” so we dare not say anything different. He gives 4 different marks between the false and the true in this passage. In these particular verses, we can see the differences between a true and false believer. We can liken this to what is known today as “identity theft”. Having worked in the computer business for the past 20+ years, I have unfortunately seen people’s online identities stolen and used for criminal purposes. Jesus here shows someone who has adopted the identity of the Christian, calling Him Lord, but not having the reality of the relationship with Christ. Because of this, Jesus pictures this same person trying to convince Jesus that he knows Him in the day of judgment. The trouble is that while this person claims to know Jesus, Jesus doesn’t know him. In fact, Jesus says, “I never knew you”. The question is not if we know Jesus, but if Jesus knows us.
We see some marks of this one who Jesus does not know. He attempts to justify himself by works. Boy, does he have some works! Most of us will never approach such works. He has prophesied in Jesus’ name, cast out demons, and done many miraculous works. But it is not works that save us. It is not the works of giving out God’s word, nor the works in the “spiritual world”, nor even the miraculous works that can save us from our sins. It is not even the amount of works that we do. If that were the case, this man would be in heaven today. But Jesus plainly says he is not. How then can we become a true believer? Jesus says here that the true believer will respond with trust and obedience to God’s word. If we are interested in being one of God’s children, we must be willing to become one God’s way. It is our turning from sin and asking Christ to save us from our sins and the results of our sins. In Luke 10:20, we are to rejoice not because of our works, but “because our names are written in heaven”.

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