Can a born again believer live anyway he wants to and still be saved? Abraham
This is a very common question. So common in fact that you may wonder why you don't find it listed somewhere in the Q&A section. I suppose there are two related reasons.
- There is a whole section (one of the very first added to the Shovel web site) devoted to the matter, and
- The question pops up either rephrased or as an unspoken but underlying premise to many of the questions I hear.
The questions you've asked all pertain to a Christianity based upon a SOMETHING and not a SOMEONE. Being saved may include a lot of somethings, but only in relation to the one who has not only done these things but has also become the life of those who are saved.
Did you follow that? In other words, as stated in the question, both phrases ("born again believer" and "saved") are framed in such a way that their true meanings are removed (and this is the rule, not the exception, in our modern-day Christian mindset). Somehow, we're able to use an originally mind-blowing phrase like born again so that it merely designates one of the many who have made a common-sense decision (which is an entirely bogus fleshly perception). Instead of representing the miraculous work of God in Christ through whom He has made the new creation so that our life is no longer what it was we speak as if a born again believer could potentially live as he pleases. This only reveals our overlooking of the miraculous shift within these bodies that only LOOK as if they house the same creature as before.
Likewise, we speak of saved as a religious experience, a decision made, a prayer prayed, a new direction, a better lifestyle, and/or a better destination. Once again, these are merely religious replacements of the miraculous life of God becoming the life of the new creation one is born again into. Being saved refers to the total deliverance out of the old (Adam) and into the new (Christ).
Now, let's take a look at those other two questions:
Is it possible for me as a born again believer to go through life and not see a change? Or if I don't see a change or have a desire to obey God, does it mean I was never saved? Abraham
Both of these questions are based upon an outward observance. Do I suggest that there is nothing observable in those who are saved? No, I do not. But here's the catch: When we're looking for a change to PROVE this new life, what are we using by which to judge that change? Forget all the hypothetical, theological arguments and simply consider how the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ, was judged according to his outward appearance in this world, both by the religious crowd as well as by his own followers. The simple fact is that even though his actions appeared at times noble and worthy even by the world they were still fleshly unrighteous judgments.
Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. John 7:24
Do you know the scene into which that statement was made? Everybody was judging Jesus based upon him having healed a man on the Sabbath. Some had said he was a good man, others said he led the people astray. Simply stated, they were judging him according to his observable outward behavior. Now, we might assume that the religious leaders who attributed the deed to demonic power may have been the only ones who misjudged Jesus, but is that the case? Not a chance.
Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man. John 2:23-25
No, the only righteous judgment came from the Spirit of God. But even the disciples, who had received a taste of this spiritual judgment during their time with Jesus in the flesh, were not able to understand it. Even when they themselves were given a bit of insight by the Spirit.
You are the Christ, the son of the living God. Matthew 16:16
Nope, they didn't get it until after they were born again, which is how the Spirit reminded them of everything Jesus had spoken to them. If we're judging by the Spirit then we're refusing to judge according to the flesh, plain and simple.
For I determined to know nothing among you except Christ and him crucified 1 Corinthians 2:2
Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:16-17
Instead of viewing yourself, or another believer, according to the same fleshly perspective that one way or the other misjudged Jesus' EVERY SINGLE ACTION, realize that we have been given the mind of Christ by which we KNOW the true righteousness: Jesus himself.
I'm telling you what you already know for you have witnessed how Christ is misjudged by those who speak well of him as well as by those who openly reject him. What if the change we're looking for in ourselves or in each other is the same thing the world couldn't find in Jesus?
Sincerely, Jim Minker