Thinking Out Loud - Ms. Green

Commentaries from a female, conservative Christian worldview. Intermittent observations on human behavior and current events. Occasional bursts of personal tirades,confessions, and discoveries. Frequent discussions about my "Narrow-Minded Faith".

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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

There is No Such Thing as an Ex-Christian

I occasionally run across someone who claims that they used to believe like I do, and got “saved” and baptized and went to church every Sunday etc. etc. Then they realized, they say, that it was all bogus – and now they are either an atheist or have “converted” to some other religion.

Is it possible to be an ex-Christian?

Not according to Scripture.

Becoming a Christian is not just an “I think I’ll decide to be a Christian and go to church” decision.

Being a Christian is not just following the principles that Jesus set before us to aspire to attain.

Being a Christian is more than being born into a Christian family and having been exposed to Christianity all one’s life – going through the “rituals” associated with attending Sunday School and Church, singing in a choir, doing charity work, and trying to live a good “Christian” life.

At some point, you might want to ask yourself, Are You Really a Christian?

A true Christian conversion is a supernatural occurrence.

When you are truly sorry of your sins, and realize that you are unworthy of heaven, and call on Jesus Christ to save you, the Holy Spirit comes to you and indwells in you.

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Romans 8:9

Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.” I John 4:13

Once you have been born again, the Scripture says you are a new creature. The old man (your former self before you were saved) is replaced by the new man (who you are in Jesus Christ).

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” II Corinthians 5:17

Because of this, the new birth, one cannot revert back to their lost state because they are sealed by the Holy Spirit for all time.

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Romans 6:6

There are those who appear outwardly to be Christians by their actions – but inwardly they are still the “old man” and have never been reborn. And because of this, they have no Holy Spirit guidance in their lives and are subject to disappointments, anger and disillusionment than can cause them to abandon their “Christian” living. These are the individuals that John speaks of in I John 2:19:

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”.

When we are saved, there is no turning back. We belong to God. He made sure of that. When He makes a promise, He doesn’t depend on us to keep it.

For when God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He sware by Himself,” Hebrews 6:13

Some people who try to argue that one can lose their salvation use this key verse to support their belief:

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,” Hebrews 6:4

Some believe that the word “enlightened” means that one was saved, but the Greek word from which it was derived is totally different than the word in both Acts 16:31 [“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”] and Romans 10:9 ["That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”] that is translated “saved”.

Now I think it’s important to make a distinction here between someone who was never born again and someone who was, but who has turned their back on God and decided to live their own life the way they choose. This is different, because in this case, the person is saved, and is a child of God, but is rebelling. Just as an earthly father will chastise (punish) his children for rebellion and disobedience, God will do the same to one of His children. The Bible tells us the three steps that God takes to bring a child back into obedience.

First, there is the conviction of the Holy Spirit. When we are saved, we still sin, but we are sorrowful over our sin. “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” Romans 7:19

If we do not turn from our sin, and continue in it, our heart hardens, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit has less and less effect on us. If we get to this point, God goes to the next step of chastening.

Second,there is the chastening. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Revelation 3:10

When God chastens, it hurts. And most of us realize when we are being chastened by God, and the marvelous conviction of the Holy Spirit brings us back to the Father. But in some extreme cases, for various reasons, a Christian will resist both the conviction and the chastening of God, usually because of pride. So they force God to take the third and final step of chastening.

Third, there is death. “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” I John 5:16

The sin unto death does not mean the person dies and goes to hell. But he or she is taken out of this world and brought home to heaven.

To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” I Corinthians 5:5

God PROMISES to chastise His children if they are rebellious or disobedient. So if someone is claiming to be an ex-Christian and their life is miserable and full of trouble and trials, they are being chastened by God, and if they don’t repent and turn back to Him, He will cause them to die before their time.

However, if someone claims to be an ex-Christian, and there is no sign of chastening, and they spend their entire lives mocking God without any consequences, you can be assured they were never born again – and their consequences will take place AFTER their death instead of in this life.

If someone plays around with Christianity without ever repenting of their sin and accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior, then they were never born again. And in the Day of Judgment, when they realize their mistake and try to persuade Him that they really were, He will say “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:23
Continue reading..


At 12:38 PM, Blogger Neil said...

Well said, Ms. Green - especially on the analysis of the Hebrews passage. I notice that "ex-Christian" term quite a bit and agree that it is mistaken.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger ELAshley said...

What a sad testament to this Laodicean Age! That such a post would even be necessary!!!!!

Good Grief!!!

Well said nonetheless Ms Green.

At 7:10 PM, Blogger Ms.Green said...

What's sad is that you both know, as well as I do, of people that say they "used" to be fundamentalists and are now part of a "liberal" or as they like to call it, a "progressive" Christian church - and think they are followers of Christ. The truth is, they don't have a clue. And it's so sad to know that they are in for a rude awakening one day.

At 7:24 PM, Blogger Thomas Huskey said...

Good post. Do you think (considering the context of I John) that the ones who are committing the sin unto death are the ones John says that they "left because they never really were part of us"? Wouldn't cutting yourself off from the church (including the Lord's Supper) be spiritual suicide? Comments? Thanks.


At 7:38 PM, Blogger Ms.Green said...

First of all, welcome Thomas. Thanks for taking the time to read and to comment. Please feel free to stop by anytime.

Do I think those that John is referring to are committing the sin unto death? I don't know that I think that. In context, this first letter of John was written for basically two reasons - one, to assure the Christians he was writing to of their salvation (I John 5:13 being a key verse), but secondly, it seems to be written to combat gnosticism, which focuses on knowledge as a means to salvation rather than on the shed blood of Christ. Those he spoke of in verse 2:19 were those who seemed to be Christians, but were never really born again. Since the "sin unto death" seems to be reserved for the believer, I don't believe they would fit in that catagory. Although, in a broader sense, death is the result of sin - so they would eventually face death because of their sins - but it wouldn't necessarily be a premature one due to God taking them out early. I tend to believe, from what Scripture says, that God is longsuffering and merciful, and will give most ample opportunity to accept Jesus as their Savior, and knowing that He lives outside of time, I also believe if He knows someone will get saved, He's not going to let anything happen to them before that happens. So many times in my own personal life I have seen individuals who were nonbelievers for years, and finally after they got saved, they died a week or two later. That shows to me the mercy and longsuffering of God.

At 12:51 PM, Anonymous American said...

I try to be a good human being. That's all matters to me.


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