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Andy and Melissa Beshore

Monday, August 04, 2008

Can You Really Rededicate Your Life To God?

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.” (Hebrews 6:4-8)

Have you ever professed faith in Christ after being convicted of your sin, and having a correct understanding of the Gospel, only to turn away, reverting back to your previous life of blatant disregard for your sin and God’s other commands? Have you ever confessed your sins to God, and walked the Christian walk for a time, (it seems that feeling the weight of your sin and how it creates this insurmountable gulf between you and your Creator is the feeling one needs to get before God can genuinely convert someone. This feeling would be that to which the writer of Hebrews refers when he alludes to the “once enlightened”) only to turn back to your fleshly lusts rather than a life lived for God?

Some people feel like they have God’s Spirit living in them and may even exhibit some of the signs of conversion. They may have turned one time from sin in apparent repentance. The Word may have at one time come alive to them. They may have had a passion for the things of God. The difference between these and the genuinely converted, however, is that the genuine converts continue to exhibit these signs, albeit not perfectly, as a pattern of life. There is a growing in the things of God over time in the true converts. In the false converts, there is stagnation over the long haul, perhaps even an abandonment of God. They neglect to feel the sting of their sin as God’s word reveals it to them. They try to hide references to sin in themselves or in others out of fear of offending them. They continue to compare themselves to other people, rather than to God’s perfect standard. When they compare themselves to other people, they think themselves to be clean and others unclean. They justify themselves.

About the only thing that differentiates the false converts from the non-churched world is the fact that false converts keep a few religious observances throughout the week. The stagnant false converts continue to read their Bibles, go to church, pray, and look spiritual, but they neglect to obtain the deeper understanding of God’s word. The false converts eventually revert back to their old ways, almost completely turning their back on God, continuing to live in fornication, adultery, covetousness, lying, blaspheming, and hating, with little to no regard for God’s vehement distaste with such actions. Whenever they hear the truth about sin and God’s holiness and righteousness, they try to change the subject. They say things like, “My god is a god of love, peace, joy and gentleness.” They completely neglect God’s holiness, wrath, and justice. Some may not explicitly commit these violations, but condone those who do. They might continue to go to a church that speaks only about the cushy attributes of God, or do seemingly religious activities to put up the Christian façade that the aforementioned sins unmask as rank hypocrisy.

These groups who might have briefly “tasted the heavenly gift,” partook of the Holy Spirit, looked like they had been converted, and possibly experienced what looked like God’s power. If they do fall away in such a catastrophic manner, or continue to live with the wrong understanding of God and the Gospel and remain unwilling to change, it must be said that they were never genuinely converted in the first place. God never did a true work in these people. They would be the stony ground hearer Jesus spoke of in the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13). If they had been genuinely converted, the signs that accompany conversion (1 John) would have remained over the long haul. Remember, these people continue to blatantly disregard God’s word and do not obey it. They may continue to look Christian on the outside, but there is no evidence of a transformed life within them. They do not exhibit the reality that God has separated them from sin unto Himself. This will be evident by their lifestyle. They will continue to do everything just like the rest of the world does, except they will spend Sunday morning in a pew. They feel no Godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10) over sin. Rather, they feel worldly sorrow, which leads to death, as in the case of Judas after Jesus’ death. They live in sin and condone the behaviors of those who do.

It is these people that the writer of Hebrews says, upon rededication, “crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” They might repent. After time, however, they will fall away again and the vicious cycle of repent, fall away, repent fall away, repeats. By continually disregarding His commands, refusing to change when the Word shows them their lifestyle is wrong, they put Him to an open shame. If they loved Him like they profess, they would keep His commands (John 14:21). The writer of Hebrews says it is impossible for these to be renewed to genuine repentance. They can dedicate and rededicate all they want when they feel “empty,” but the writer of Hebrews seems to say that it will not matter. Their professed faith was meaningless, otherwise they would have stayed the course. They have avoided the true God for such a long time that it might now be impossible for them to be renewed to genuine repentance.

True and false converts, wheat and tares, sheep and goats can be separated by the fruit they bear (Matthew 7:16-20; Matthew 25:14-30). If there is no fruit from holy living, no separation from sin unto God, no separation from the world unto God, there never was conversion. The longer false converts continue lacking fruit, suppressing God’s truth (Romans 1:18), the more likely it is that they will never truly understand what true conversion looks like and God will hide Himself from them (Isaiah 59:1-2) so He will never save them.

So please, if you doubt whether your conversion is genuine, “examine yourself” (2 Corinthians 13:5). 1 John has a number of tests of conversion. Do like Peter says and “make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). If you justify yourself, thinking you are fine that “this does not apply to you,” you might be one of those the Hebrews writer refers to. Repent and trust in Christ to save you once and for all. You might not have tomorrow. Thank you!


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