Ask Your Preacher
What does it mean to be born again?
Womb To Grow
Dear Womb To Grow,
A born-again person is just a christian; it is another way to say that you are saved. The terminology comes from Jhn 3:1-6 when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about salvation. In Jhn 3:3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that we must be born again in order to enter the kingdom (the kingdom is the church – read “A Kingdom For All Nations” for further details on that). Nicodemus asks how it is possible for someone to be born again (Jhn 3:4), and Jesus explains that we must be born of the Spirit and water (Jhn 3:5). We are born of the Spirit when we listen and obey the words of the Holy Spirit found in the Bible (Jhn 6:63, 1 Cor 2:13), and we are born of water when we are baptized (1 Pet 3:21, Rom 6:4). When we heed the Scriptures and are baptized, we are born again… and we become christians (Mk 16:16, Matt 28:19).
If we are saved by grace through Christ alone, and not by works, why does the Word say that at the Judgment, Christ might say to some, "Depart from me; I never knew you" (Matt 7:23)? It seems to suggest that after being born again, we then must do something to stay saved. Some of them were obviously doing wonderful works in His name (Matt 7:22). Can you help me understand?
Working On An Answer
Dear Working On An Answer,
When Paul says that we are not saved by works, he is talking about perfect works (Rom 3:27). Paul was dealing with the argument that a man could be saved by living by the law and that he didn’t need God’s grace (Rom 3:28). We are saved by faith in God, not perfect works. However, that doesn’t mean that what we do doesn’t matter. James says that faith without works is dead (Jas 2:20). The choices we make in life show who we have faith in. We know we have faith in God when we listen to His Word (Rom 10:17) and then do our best to live by what it says (Jas 1:22). Abraham is a perfect example of this. Abraham was saved by faith (Rom 4:9), but we are also told that Abraham was saved by works when he offered Isaac (Jas 2:21). God knew Abraham’s faith when Abraham lived by that faith (Gen 22:12). Our actions do define us. We have all sinned (Rom 3:23), and God in His grace, sent His Son to pay the price for our sins, but that doesn’t mean that how you live doesn’t matter. Matt 7:23 is referring to those people who say that they trust the Lord but aren’t living by His Word. Those people won’t be saved.
Hi, I was wondering: I am christian, and my boyfriend is Pentecostal. They believe we should be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, but ever since I can remember, it was, "I now baptize you in the Father, Holy Spirit, and the Son.” I seem to think that they go by the Old Testament; could you help me please?
Dear Doctrinal Differences,
There is no difference between being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and being baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; both phrases are used in the New Testament (Acts 2:38, Matt 28:19). However, the Pentecostal church teaches that baptism isn’t what saves you… which is contrary to the Bible (1 Pet 3:21). The Pentecostal church believes that you are saved when the Holy Spirit miraculously descends upon you, and you begin to speak in tongues. This is a false teaching that pervades the Pentecostal movement. Their belief that God directly speaks to believers apart from the Bible has lead them to change and alter God’s Word radically. God warns us to never do this (Rev 22:18-19). Read our article “Speaking In Tongues” for further information.
Did God create Jesus?
In The Beginning
Dear In The Beginning,
Jesus is God. Jhn 1:1-3 and Jhn 1:14 say that Jesus is God. Col 1:15-17 says that all things were created by Jesus… which means Jesus wasn’t created. We often say that there is only one God… but technically, that is not accurate. There are three Gods in the Godhead, and They all work together in perfect unity. Jesus is God (Matt 28:9), the Father is God (2 Thess 1:2), and the Holy Spirit is God (Gen 1:2). The word ‘God’ just means ‘deity’. Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are all deity. They function with complete unity (Jhn 10:30), but They are separate Beings.
Is speaking in tongues necessary? Is speaking in tongues the confirmation that we have received the Holy Spirit?
Tripping Over My Words
Dear Tripping Over My Words,
There was a proper way to use tongues back in the first century, but speaking in tongues today has no resemblance to that practice. God endowed certain christians with the ability to perform miracles through the apostles (Acts 8:18). One of those abilities was speaking in tongues – the ability to miraculous speak in other REAL languages (Acts 2:4-11). Paul re-emphasizes this point in 1 Cor 14:10. That is exactly why Paul instructed the Corinthians to have an interpreter.
The modern practice of speaking in tongues involves people speaking in what they call “hidden” or “spiritual” languages that make no sense to anyone, anywhere. There is no example of this type of speaking in tongues anywhere in the New Testament.
Miraculous gifts were given to the first century church because they did not have the complete Bible as we do. Miracles were a confirmation that those preaching were sent by God (Mk 16:20); they were how God bore witness that these men were His servants (Heb 2:2-4). These miracles were necessary at that time, but now that the perfect Word of God has been completed, they are no longer needed (1 Cor 13:8-10). We have all the prophecies of God written down, all the divine knowledge is in God’s Word, and the Bible is translated into every language on the planet. Speaking in tongues no longer happens and it isn't a necessary part of salvation. Read "The Five Steps To Salvation" for specifics on how to be saved and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.